Greedy letting agents and landlords know their industry and will try every trick in the book to make you pay more during your tenancy.
As a former private rented sector tenant myself I have faced financial claims made against me that have been false or have been exaggerated by letting agents.
I want you to learn the following steps to ensure you can better protect yourself from losing your deposit at the end of your tenancy.
1) Check your tenancy agreement Keep a paper and digital record. Look out for any clause that mentions ‘cost’ or ‘money’- that could lead to additional charges. Identify the charges and prevent them from happening. Some charges could be deemed unreasonable and you may wish to raise this at a deposit protection tribunal.
2) Document control – Keep all documents in a safe and easily accessible place for future usage. This will help support you should any claim be made against you at the end of your tenancy.
3) Return your inventory as soon as possible. I always advise you go through your inventory with a fine toothcomb in the first week of moving in. Items on the inventory may be listed in the wrong condition or there may be things listed that are not in the property. Go through this thoroughly and email your letting agent with any alterations as soon as you can.
4) If you see a problem then report it! If you do not report an issue and it is identified during an inspection you could be penalised. If you cannot be expected to reasonably fix it – then report it!
5) Know how to complain! If you are unhappy with the service provided by your letting agent then complain to them. Some letting agents do not list their complaints procedure in an easily accessible place – this is to reduce escalation to the Housing Ombudsman. Email your letting agent and ask for their complaints procedure and go through it.
6) Know how to work the complaints process. If you feel that your letting agent has not dealt with your complaint, then escalate to the Housing Ombudsman who will assess whether you are entitled to compensation following your complaint.
7) Always challenge claims made against your deposit at the end of your tenancy. Try to resolve this with the letting agent directly via email. If this doesn’t work then go to your registered deposit adjudication scheme and state why their claims are wrong. Keep a written record of all communication with your letting agent.
8) Keep an eye out for cleanliness charges which are commonly made by letting agents. Make sure your tenancy agreement does not contain a professional cleaning clause. If it doesn’t, make sure your property is the same cleanliness standard as you moved in – check your Check In Inventory!
Stick to these rules and you should stop/reduce the amount of money you may lose at the end of your tenancy.