Taking the leap into private accommodation comes with more freedom but more responsibility.
Here’s how you can protect the deposit you pay at the start of your tenancy.
Before you move in
After you find a property, you need to do the following:
• Pay your tenancy deposit and any letting agent fees.
• Sign a tenancy agreement with the letting agent or landlord, and keep a copy for yourself.
• Get a copy of the property inventory and the keys on the day you move in.
What is the tenancy deposit?
It is a one-off payment you make at the start of your tenancy when you rent a property.
It works as a security deposit that your landlord could use to cover any damage caused to the property while you’re living there.
Your deposit doesn’t go into your landlord’s pocket – instead, your letting agent or landlord must put it into a Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme run by the government, within 30 days.
Check your property
Before you move all your stuff into the property, go around and make a note of any visible problems you can find in your inventory.
Look for issues that might cause your landlord to deduct money from your deposit at the end of your tenancy, such as damaged furniture or marks on walls.
Complete an inventory
If the letting agent/landlord provides an inventory, but it doesn’t include photos of the issues, take some yourself. This gives you more proof of the condition of the property to help you settle any disputes with your landlord at the end of your tenancy.
If you don’t have one, make one yourself using this printable inventory checklist.
Your inventory should list all defects and damage to the property, including any furniture or white goods (such as a fridge) your landlord has provided the property with.
When it’s time to move out
Use your inventory and your photos as a guide to how your property should look when you move out.
Check your tenancy agreement to see if you need to pay for professional cleaners to come in, or if you can do it yourself.
This guide tells you exactly what to expect when you’re moving out so you don’t get caught out.