What Happens to My Security Deposit?
Confused about what a security deposit is for? This article will help you understand the reasons and processes behind it all.
Table of contents
When you move into a new apartment, one of the most important things to do is put down a security deposit. When you move out from the property. You will get your deposit back minus any damages or missing items that were in the apartment when you moved in. But what happens if there are damages like broken windows and holes in walls? What if I want my entire security deposit back?
This blog post will answer the most important questions that you might have and a lot more! So without any further ado, let's get started. What is a security deposit and why do I need one?A security deposit is money that you give to the owner of a house. Or an apartment to prove your intent on living there and taking care of. You can get it back later, but if not, then they will use it for damage repair. It's an essential thing for both parties. This is most important because one side needs protection. While the other wants assurance against damages when leaving.
Key Takeaway - Security deposits are a way for landlords to ensure that their property is in good condition. Even after the tenant moves out. It's a tangible security measure, but it can also act as an intangible one too. If you're feeling like you are at risk of losing your deposit money by the person you are renting from. Maybe there's something wrong with them, and you should move elsewhere. Security deposits serve not only as protection against damages done during occupancy. But also serve as an assurance that tenants have no intent on damaging any part of your building.
How long does the landlord have to hold onto my security deposit?
It's possible you'll be in dispute with your landlord during the time of moving out. If this is so, they must return your deposit within ten days. After both parties agree on how much the landlord will return to you at the end of the tenancy. If not resolved amicably through discussion or mediation, there are ways for disputes to go before an independent adjudicator and finally decide what happens to that money owed on it - but if that doesn't work either... well, now we're getting into severe legal territory!
The Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme comes forward if there's a dispute by your landlord. Especially over how much of your deposit he owes you. The Scheme will protect your deposit until both parties agree on what should happen. You may have noticed that your landlord is not on the premises very much.
But don't worry! They're still legally obligated to upkeep and maintain their property. Until you've written a letter telling them you will be leaving at an appointed date for this contract of tenancy to terminate! They can also take back control if another tenant moves in because it's fair game.
What happens if I move out of my apartment before the lease expires?
When confronted with a tenant who wants to move out of their rental property. Landlords often face the challenge of finding someone willing. As well as able enough to take on those responsibilities.Tenants may have many unexpected reasons for moving. Such as illness or an unexpected change in life plans that cause them to no longer want to live there. While other tenants leave because they cannot afford repairs needed to make it liveable again.
Unexpected changes happen all the time. But when you need your home, sometimes it's just not good enough anymore. A dispute can arise over leaving the property early by the tenant. Tenants who want to leave a tenancy before the lease expires. We are here to warn you of the risks associated with doing this as specific rules. In conclusion, there can be consequences regarding leaving the property.
However, leaving means, you might lose your security deposit. Also, there's a chance that the tenant can take legal action against them. Or any guarantor provided by the tenant for them to pay rent during their vacancy period. The old tenants' obligation ends once new tenants move into the property. So it is crucial not only from an emotional standpoint but also financially wise!
Do landlords ever return a portion of your security deposit, or all of it at once?
Make sure to send a letter or email when you ask for your deposit back. If there is any confusion about how much your landlord should return in the future. And it becomes necessary to contact your landlord again. In that case, all correspondence will show that you followed proper protocol by asking nicely first! Make sure to send a letter or email when you ask for your deposit back.
It's a good idea to get evidence of the property's condition when you leave. In case your landlord and you disagree on what your deposit should be. This is especially important if, for example, the tenant has damaged some things. Or altered them while living there. If possible, it would also be wise to take photos. Especially before moving out so that you can show how the place looked at the move-in time as well!
Your Landlord Can
- Take the money from the deposit if you owe him the rent.
- Take the money from the deposit if you have unknowingly left a mark on the wall or left a stain on the carpets.
- Take the money from the deposit if he finds something is missing from the inventory.
You Landlord Cannot
- Take the money from the deposit if they want to replace their old carpet just because it looks worn out.
- Take your deposit money if due to the landlord's own carelessness, they didn't fix any damages in time and things got worse.
- Take your deposit money if they feel the whole room needs maintenance.
Your landlord can't charge you for necessary repairs. Like painting the walls or replacing furniture. If they paid any damages or rent owed on behalf of your landlord. And need to recoup this money from a tenant's security deposit, then tenants will have to pay them back! The majority of people are unaware that you're still liable for it if the council pays your deposit.
Your landlord can't take unreasonable amounts of money from your deposit. Be sure to ask for their reasoning if they don't provide it! If you're not satisfied with the justification. Or think that there's been a calculation error. Try requesting a written quote from either the decorator. Or other contractors to understand better how much work was done on your apartment.
However, if they still charge you for a prohibited payment, you can always turn to your relevant redress scheme. Get it sorted out. The Property Ombudsman (add internal linking for the previous blog) can also help you in that regard.
Leaving the Property in a Clean Manner Can Make the Landlord Happy
When you've decided to move on from your rental property. One of the critical things that need sorting before leaving is cleaning up. Cleanliness is essential. So when you are moving out, it can be good to do some deep cleanses in preparation for new tenants. Read more to know your responsibilities as a tenant (add internal linking).
Taking Care of Cleanliness
Leaving the property clean is a good gesture. There are several reasons that you should consider cleaning your property before eviction. Chances are, if the landlord sees a clean space, he'll be more likely not to deduct your deposit money. The landlord will feel that you took care of the area like your own. It can save you as a tenant from a lot of disputes in future.
You Don't Want Disputes with Your Landlord at Any Cost
Your new landlord will be able to view what your old one thought of you. Also, if you failed to impress the old landlord with your previous clean-up job. Or other aspects of living in the property, it could hinder any potential for renting.Your landlord may include this information when providing references about their former tenant's character. Especially if there are opposing opinions. On how messy a person is or whether they've been paying rent regularly.
What is Considered Clean? Secure Your Deposit!
Cleanliness is open to interpretation. One person might think something is spotless. While another would consider it dirty because of wear and tear. But no matter what you do. Your landlord or letting agent should only expect that you cleaned up the property. Just like when you moved in!
Unless they give more specific instructions about cleaning levels. It would be always best to have your inventory handy. Especially when you clean because it will make sure that all the scuffs are gone. Keeping a record of what things looked like before can be very helpful, too!
Is Professional Cleaning Expected To Get Your Security Deposit Back?
The Tenant Fee Act 2019 came into effect in June and has changed how landlords can ask for property cleanings at the end of a tenancy. Under the new legislation, which took place on 1 June 19, clauses asking tenants to have their home professionally cleaned must be removed from agreements by 31 May 2020 if they were signed before this date. If you've had your agreement since before then but haven't yet heard back about a specific clause that's been flagged as being now illegal under the law - it may well be something else instead!
The Meaning of Being Fair
Under the new legislation, which took place on 1 Jun 19. An added clause is about asking tenants to have their homes professionally cleaned. They have removed the clause from agreements by 31 May 2020. From all contracts signed before this date. If you've had your agreement before that but haven't yet heard back about a specific clause.
Well, according to the new rules. Your landlord cannot claim a professional clean of the property from their tenants. Neither can they deduct money from the deposit concerning professional cleaning. They need to have a legitimate and fair case to claim for fees from the tenant. Whether landlords do have a case is ultimately decided by TDS.
If there's no agreement with their tenants. It can be challenging when both parties hold strong opinions. Especially about what forms 'reasonable wear' on the property at different points. But don't worry! The new legislation eliminates any uncertainty as all rents include 'all bills'. Meaning you won't receive another invoice once your tenancy ends just because they felt like cleaning up after themselves. You'll want to be sure you clean the property really well before moving out.
Your landlord can still deduct money from your deposit. Especially if they find that it's not up to their standards and will need proof, too! As being now illegal under the law - it may well be something else instead!
Professional Clean or DIY - It's Your Call
So whether to go for a professional cleaning service or DIY. It is up to the tenant to decide. Considering hiring a professional cleaning service vs taking care of the property yourself? You are not alone in contemplating this tough decision. Here's what you need to know. The pros and cons for each option will differ depending on your needs. But some may be more attractive than others. Hiring professionals is perfect! If you're short on time or don't have any experience with deep cleans.
However, it does come at a cost - which can vary from business to business. Your landlord wants to see the property in a clean manner so the next tenants can move in right away. It will save the landlord the hassle of doing things by himself and save you your deposit as well.
Security Deposit - Conclusion
We hope this article answered the most important questions regarding the security deposit. It is a way for landlords to protect themselves if you move out of the apartment before your lease expires. If you don't want to lose money, you must take time during your lease period to secure your deposit. It's also important to keep track of both the original deposit and any interest earned on top of it.
Also, take care of little things while living at the property. For more information contact our team at Oasis Living today. We would be happy to answer all questions related to this topic. For more information on rental protections and processes, see our article on Contents Insurance.
One of our letting experts will ensure you get the most value from your property