Q. I AM moving out of my rental property, what should I do to ensure that I get my full deposit back?
Mr K, Uplands.
A. Firstly speak to your landlord/agent to ascertain what their expectations and processes are as this can differ slightly.
Some may stipulate that the property and the carpets must be professionally cleaned throughout.
If you are short of time, or not great at cleaning, I would advise that you do this anyway.
There are many companies who deal specifically with end of tenancy cleans and carpet cleaning; this may be more cost effective than you may think.
Ask your landlord/agent for a recommendation on who to use as this will ensure that the jobs are done to a standard which is satisfactory to them.
Retain a copy of the invoice to provide to your landlord/agent as proof that this has been done.
I would advise that you give yourself as much of an overlap between properties as possible, with at least two days off work to spend on moving.
You will need at least a day once the house is completely empty to clean/have it cleaned.
Don’t forget, carpets take about 24 hours to dry out after having been cleaned.
• Refer to your ‘inventory conditions report’ and make sure that all as it was (put back any curtain poles, curtains or blinds, light shades or anything else which you may have moved over your tenancy, and address any damage that may have been caused, which is not listed on the inventory from when you moved in).
• Remove all of your belongings from the property (check through all cupboards and under thing and don’t forget the attic. Do not leave things which you think new tenants may want, unless previously arranged).
• Fill holes/dents in walls and paint over where possible (ask your landlord beforehand what the paint shade is and if they still have the tin with some paint to touch up, also ask if they would prefer for you to leave or remove your picture hooks).
• Dust and remove all cobwebs.
• Wipe down door frames, skirting boards, handrails and banisters, window sills.
• Wash windows and doors, especially around the handles.
• Clean all units and cupboard doors, shelves, handles and tops.
• Clean all appliances belonging to the property to a high standard (Oven cleans cost from £45. Oven cleaning kits are available, which will leave your oven looking new, costs around £3 with bags for shelves and trays and take about two hours to do).
• Clean the w/c, sink, bath and shower head, and clean all tiles with bleach.
• Tidy up the garden, cut the lawn and hedges.
• Remove all waste and debris from the property (do not just leave it out for the next bin collection).
The overall rule remains the same: the property must be left in the same condition as it was at the start of the tenancy, taking into account fair wear and tear over the duration of the tenancy.
Fair wear and tear covers general scuffs and marks to the paintwork, path wear and furniture indentations to carpets, but will not cover dents, holes, stains, or breakages caused by objects, or the property, being used in a way that they are not supposed to be.
Remember that your deposit should be registered with an approved tenancy deposit scheme and the onus is on the landlord/agent to prove that any damage for which they want to claim was caused within your tenancy.
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