One of the most common problems Student Housing deals with at the end of tenancies is deposit disputes.
Your conduct during the tenancy can impact on your deposit return e.g. not tidying up or doing any housework. In order to minimise the risk of deposit disputes ensure you have undertaken the following during your tenancy:
- Make sure that everyone does their fair share of the housework throughout the tenancy – some of your housemates may leave before the end of the tenancy, leaving the remaining tenants to do the majority of the cleaning and housework.
- Check what your responsibilities for the garden are. If you have to maintain the garden, make sure you do – if you don’t, expect the landlord to charge you at the end of the tenancy.
- Always report repairs to your landlord in writing – keep copies of all letters/emails/texts sent so you can show that you did not cause the damage and that contact was made with your landlord.
- If you remove any of the landlord’s furniture, ensure that you store it safely and do not damage it in anyway, replacing it at the end of the tenancy into its original position.
- If you break anything, inform your landlord immediately – do not leave it until the end of your tenancy.
- Before the end of the tenancy, contact your landlord and arrange an inspection of the property. This will give you an opportunity to discuss any works/repairs necessary to the property, giving you time to attend to them before your tenancy expires.
- Avoid having a party on the last day – try and leave at least three days to clean up and move out.
End of tenancy inspection checklist
This list is not exhaustive but it will give you a pretty good idea of what you need to check and do before you move out of your house. Make sure you wear rubber gloves when handling any cleaning products and ideally wear old clothes so you don’t ruin your clothes if you spill any products on you:
- clean the oven thoroughly. If you don’t want to do this or it’s too big-a-job, hire a professional to come and do this for you;
- empty, defrost, clean and turn off the fridge/freezer, leaving the doors propped open. Do not close them as this will encourage mould to grow inside and it will smell;
- clean and wash all surfaces, including floors and down the sides of appliances;
- empty all bins and put rubbish out to be collected (on collection day);
- empty all cupboards and clean inside. Don’t forget the tops of the cupboards if they are accessible!
- clean sink.
- clean the toilet, bath, shower and sink thoroughly including descaling of any areas such as the shower head, taps, toilet etc.;
- clean all surfaces including walls, floors, ceiling and window sills, ensuring all condensation/mould has been removed.
- remove all toiletries and personal possessions. Tip - if there are items that are unopened and unused and you don’t want them, why not donate them to one of the local charities who provide toiletries, sanitary products etc. to local homeless people?
Lounge and bedrooms
- vacuum carpets, including under the bed and behind furniture;
- put any furniture back in the original position it was when you moved in;
- ensure walls are clean and free from traces of any adhesive or pins if you have used them. “Flash Magic Erasers” are a great product for gently getting scuff marks off walls;
- clean all furniture and surfaces including window sills, picture rails, skirting boards, tops of cupboards/wardrobes. These are common areas to forget!
- ensure all curtains and any nets/voile panels are hanging correctly on their tracks or poles;
- ensure curtains and nets are clean and in the same condition as when you moved in.
- the garden should be cleared of accumulated rubbish which should be disposed of appropriately - either putting out for collection or taking to a local tip if you will not be around for collection day;
- put all furniture back in its original position from when you moved in. Refer to your moving-in inventory if you can’t remember;
- all hallways, stairs and communal areas should be vacuumed and dusted and de-cobwebbed;
- clean any stains on carpets or furniture to bring them back to the condition they were in when the tenancy started;
- remove all personal possessions. If you do not, the landlord will have to dispose of them at a charge to you. Check that light bulbs are working (if they were provided when you moved in). Replace any that are not;
- empty the vacuum cleaner, replacing the bag if necessary;
- leave windows locked and keys on window sills;
- return keys to the landlord in person and on time;
- pay utility bills up to the end of the tenancy and inform the utility companies of your leaving date, so that final bills can be calculated and paid, otherwise these can be deducted from your deposit.
If you don’t have time to give the cleaning the attention it needs, hire a professional cleaner between you as a household to complete it. You must remove all of your possessions before a cleaner comes round so they easily and promptly complete the work - they sometimes charge extra for moving items or even removing rubbish so be aware of this.