I’ve seen so many people lugging boxes through town lately. Bin bags piled high in trolleys, teetering boxes on dollies, unsteady hands around heavy loads and a ridiculous amount of unwanted furniture chucked in the communal waste area (but that’s another blog post!). Everyone’s moving in or moving out, and it’s not just the students! If you’ve just moved into a rented place, signed on the dotted tenant's line, chances are you’ve put down a pretty hefty deposit - so, how do you guarantee to get your deposit back?
I’m going to make an ass of you and me, and assume (see what I did there?) you’ve read the small print, you’ve got the grown ups to go over the paperwork, you’ve checked what scheme your deposit is secured under and you’ve got an idea of what that scheme entails. So, with all the important stuff taken care of, it’s all down to you to get your deposit back!
Before you moved in, an inventory should have been taken of the property, noting any and all furniture it contained that belongs to the landlord, and any breakages, marks, scuffs, chips, cracks, that occurred before you took control of the property. Go over this with a fine-tooth comb. Then get someone sensible to go over it too. Make sure everything that's in there is in the residence before you sign anything. Always get permission to remove anything on that inventory from the property. Example, when I moved in, 1 broken chair and 1 broken mirror were logged in the inventory, even though the chair would have collapsed under me if I sat on it, I still had to get permission to chuck it out. So I did, and I had the inventory amended. I keep the original inventory safe and whenever we have a clear out, I check it to make sure I’m not chucking a frying pan that I’ve forgotten isn’t actually mine.
Find out how your landlord feels about your colour scheme. You might like everything post box red with silver accents, but your landlord might not be too happy with how many coats of magnolia that will take to go over when you eventually move out. Most landlords are happy for you to decorate, as long as you leave the residence exactly how you found it. So just keep in mind, whatever you change, you will have to change back. Personally, we just went over the magnolia to freshen the place up and have used physical objects to put our own stamp on the place instead of decorating the walls. I don’t want to have to spend money putting it all back to how it was originally when I’m trying to save money and get my deposit back before I move out!
And speaking of decorating…
If you do decide to stick things on the walls, don’t go making all kinds of holes in them. This will just be a bugger to cover up when you leave, especially if you’re on a short term lease! Polyfiller, paint, effort. No thanks. It’s best to use those adhesive strips that cost a title bit more than a hook and nail, but leave no trace behind when you take them down! Same goes for those little hooks you've put on the back of the bathroom door for your housecoat - get the easy to remove ones! Those cheap adhesive pads are ridiculously hard to remove!
Keep all the paperwork
Get yourself a really cute ring binder or box file and keep every scrap of paperwork that every crosses your palm with regards to the property! Keeping it in some sort of order is a great idea, but even if you just sling it in the box and deal with it at a late date, just make sure you have a note for everything. Repair orders, inventory updates, receipts for anything you’ve had to replace etc. Basically, if it’s to do with the residence - wack it in the folder, you never know what you might end up needing to get your deposit back!
Use common sense!
I can’t believe how many people I know who rent who tell me they don’t keep on top of things like cleaning out the dryer filters, keeping the ovens clean, cleaning vent filters etc. All of this is actually the tenant's responsibility. I know how it feels when nothing feels like it’s yours (that’s another post), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look after it like it is. Think of it as good practice for when you buy your own washer/dryer, or how you’ll keep your not-bought-in-the-sale sofa in good knick in the future. Keep it clean, keep on top of general maintenance, and just look after the place in general. It’s always better to be in your letting agents or landlords good books!
I’m not saying your deposit is guaranteed, after all, I don’t know what you’re getting up to behind closed doors! As long as legally, everything is in order, and you keep the property in good condition, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get your money back when it comes time to move out and move on.
Have you ever struggled to get your rent deposit back?
Until next time,