When a tenancy comes to an end, the state which the property is left in can have a big impact on the landlord’s income. If the tenant has neglected to care for their home, leaving repair jobs undone or forgetting to keep up with the cleaning, then it can be more difficult for the landlord to find replacement tenants, which could land them in a rent-free ‘void period’. This can also come back to bite tenants, as the landlord may deduct from their deposit in order to pay for any necessary maintenance or repairs.
In other words, it should be a tenant’s priority to stay up to date with repair and maintenance issues, especially as their rental period comes to a close. A local cleaner can leave a property looking as pristine as possible, while most basic repair issues can be solved by a local handyman. While a tenant is not legally required to pay for fixing general wear and tear, any issues directly caused by them are their responsibility to report and resolve.
Before booking a service for end of tenancy repairs or maintenance, be sure to examine your inventory report. This is a document which both tenants and landlords sign at the start of a tenancy to agree on what state the property was in at the beginning. In other words, the inventory will confirm whether or not certain issues appeared before or you moved in. If you were not responsible for a particular property fault, then you will not be required to pay to fix it, and so on.
It is a tenant’s job to care for their rental property from day to day. Over the course of a tenancy, a renter would be expected to:
Their responsibilities would also include reporting any larger issues to their landlord. By law, a landlord is only obliged to fix what is reported by tenants or found in an inspection. Any repairs for damage caused by tenants, or resulting from a tenant’s failure to report it to their landlord, can be paid for via that tenant’s deposit. In an extreme case the landlord could even seek additional compensation in court!
If you want to get all of your deposit back, it is important to leave your property exactly as you found it. It will help if you have pictures from when you first moved in, though the inventory should detail any pre-existing faults. You and your landlord will then sign a checkout inventory, which will list any new issues, including lost or broken items.
While a tenant would be expected to pay to fix problems which they cause, they cannot legally be charged for:
If your landlord removes any money from your deposit, be sure to ask for a list of itemised charges, including quotes for repairs. You should also take the time to ask for proof that your deposit was held in a government protected scheme.
In the event of a disagreement over the deposit, it is usually best to utilise an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service. This will allow either side to present evidence so that a fair solution can be reached. However, if the landlord refuses to use an ADR, the tenant will need to go through small claims court.