Tenant deposit returns are a sensitive topic for landlords. Landlords want to ensure that they return the correct amount and follow all required procedures.
The tenant deposit return checklist is produced to help landlords to manage the tenant deposit return process. This checklist will allow landlords to avoid making mistakes and prevent them from getting into trouble with tenants.
This checklist contains 12 golden rules landlords must follow in order to ensure that tenants' deposits are returned as efficiently as possible.
Basic Tenant Deposit Return Guidelines
Tenants can request a refund of their deposit if they move out of a property. The landlord must return the deposit within a specified time period in accordance with the tenant's agreement and give a written explanation of why they withheld any money in case if landlord do.
A tenant's deposit equals one month rent. However, this can change and can be capped at five weeks of rent according to prevailing mandatory rules.
If the landlord finds damage to the property or has to perform work due to something the tenant did not do intentionally but happened because of an accident, the landlord can withhold a portion or all of the deposit.
Tips for Returning a Tenant's Deposit
Tenants who pay their rent on time and leave the property in good condition are entitled to have their full security deposit back. It is always recommended to opt for Govt appointed deposit protection organisation and preferably a custodial scheme where money is kept by third party.
Tenants must always be familiar with the terms of any agreement they make to landlords. Tenants should be able to understand what is expected of them when they leave the property. Once a tenant has met all of their obligations, it's time to return the security deposit.
Tenants can seek assistance from appointed deposit protection agencies or citizen advice bureaus in UK if there are any doubts about the amount owed.
This is an important step and it may be worth your time to use RentOnCloud Inventory documentation feature. Keep track of landlord possessions, inventory check-in logs, or document collections that include images. RentOnCloud app allows you to digitally sign this.
Maintain regular communication with Tenants regarding issues during their stay. Also, have guide through forums to understand how to deal with them. Be aware of issues such as rent disputes, property damage and payment of bills (electricity, water). It is important to have an open and honest dialogue with your tenants.
Landlords must assess the condition of the carpets, wall, furniture, and garden using the inventory at the beginning of the tenancy. They should also note any damage or modifications to their condition. Landlords must also ensure that the check out report is as accurate as possible and is as concise and clear as possible.
Landlords should give tenants the opportunity for an inventory check-out process, and allow them to discuss or reject any findings. A professional service can be used by letting agents for their check out process.
Students tenants and their landlords, or their agents, should exchange up-to-date mobile phone numbers in order to be able to call, text, or email each other during the check-out process. Keep copies of all communications and especially any disputes or delays, as an adjudicator may want to see the steps taken by the landlord to reach an agreement.
Tenants should be reminded by their landlords or agents to sign the check-out document. It is unlikely that a tenant will disagree with the findings of the report if he or she does not sign it, such as after seven to eight days.
The ability to stamp photos with a date allows landlords to clearly show damage that is not beyond the "reasonable wear and tear" for the duration of the tenancy. This can significantly reduce the likelihood of a dispute following check-out. Even if they don't have date stamping software, landlords or letting agents can still send images electronically for adjudicators to check for the date information.
The landlord cannot ask a tenant to clean up the property in the same way it was when the tenancy began. Tenants are not required to pay third-party cleaning fees under the Tenant Fees Act 2019.
Tenants are not allowed to ask for their deposit money in order to cover rent arrears or the last month's rent before they move out.
Landlords or letting agents should not use emotive language when describing a property's state during a dispute or claim. Tenants may view evidence or documents that contain words like 'disgusting' as part of a dispute. This could increase tension.
Tenants who have lived in a property for many years may not be able to recall its original decor or condition. Tenants who fail to meet their obligations under a tenancy agreement should expect reasonable deductions.
Tenants must ensure that they take final gas/electricity meter readings. They should do this using their mobile phone or another electronic device and then pass them on to the energy supplier. A copy should be sent to the landlord/letting agent.