Common Ways to Lose Your Deposit

As renters, it’s what we all fear the most – losing money from our precious deposit. At worst it can mean being short on cash at the end of the month and, even worse, not being able to afford a new room.

Serious stuff then, deposits. In order to help you keep hold of your deposit, we’ve come up with some of the common pitfalls when handing in your keys. Steer clear of these, and you’re half way towards keeping your deposit intact.

1. Being a student

partyUnfortunately some landlords see students as an easy target, since it’s likely to be their first tenancy. Helpfully, most universities offer free private rental advice! Here’s a list of places to find free advice.

2. Not taking pictures when you move in

cameraTake pictures of every conceivable thing in your flat the day you move it. You can then use them as evidence of how/if conditions have changed when you move out. Be sure to send them to your landlord and yourself so the photos are dated in an inbox.

3. Not taking pictures when you move out

camera 2There are so many awful people out there. Make sure that if your landlord throws a party the day after you leave, you can prove it wasn’t you that caused the damage! Take the same set of pictures the day you move out, too.

4. Signing a bad contract

Getting your deposit back is a long, arduous path that starts before you even pay a deposit. Some landlords will try and get you to sign a contract that makes you responsible for paying for things which, otherwise, would not be considered the tenant’s responsibility to pay for.contractShowing your contract to a professional for checking before you sign it will help you to avoid signing anything which gives you more than the usual responsibility. Thoroughly reading and checking each part of the contract with a professional expert is the best way to avoid your deposit being used to pay for new curtains, carpets and your landlord’s holiday to Mexico.

5. Not signing anything

There are two sides to this. If you move into a house share and give a deposit without making any sort of arrangement, or written agreement, you’re really playing with fireLandlords have to hand over your deposit to a deposit protection scheme within a month of receiving it, and then inform you about the scheme in writing. If you’re paying of a deposit isn’t being recorded, they almost certainly won’t be putting it in a protection scheme, which means there’s no guarantee they will have the money when the tenancy ends.fireBut secondly, if you move into a tenancy either alone (say, in a studio) or with some friends (in a shared flat or house), then signing a tenancy agreement with agreed terms of use for the flat and its utilities is a great way of ensuring you don’t get messed around at the end of the tenancy.

At EasyRoommate, we encourage all our users to sign our Tenancy Agreement so that both tenant and landlord know what’s expected of them throughout the tenancy. The deposit protection firm the landlord uses to protect your deposit will refer to this to settle disputes at the end of the term.

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