#AskTDS: As a tenant, how can I avoid rent deposit disputes?

AskTDS_12.06.2020

Even with the deposit cap in England, tenancy deposits still represent a significant sum of money to tenants. It is therefore understandable that you’ll want to avoid losing any of that deposit amount when you come to leave the property.

The ideal scenario is that both the landlord and the tenant have a satisfactory outcome at the end of the tenancy, so it pays for all parties to follow a few simple practices during the rental term.

From a tenants perspective, here are three ways you can avoid rental deposit disputes in your tenancy:

  1. The most important place to start is to be clear on your responsibilities. You’ll need to read through your tenancy agreement thoroughly to find out what you are expected to do (and not do) in the property. Do you have to maintain the garden and outside spaces? What should you do if you plan to go away? If you are unsure which are your responsibilities or your landlord’s, ask them to clarify and make sure you keep a record of that communication (by email, if possible).
  • Withstanding fair wear and tear, your landlord will expect you to leave the property in the same condition it was when you started your tenancy. Tenancy deposit disputes often arise because there is disagreement between parties as to what that condition was when you moved in. With this in mind, go through the inventory and check-in report with a fine-tooth comb. Take dated photos of anything that looks damaged or worn and send a copy to your landlord or letting agent, so you can use this as evidence, if need be, at end of tenancy. If you do see anything that isn’t already recorded on the inventory or report, mention it to the landlord or letting agent as soon as you see it.
  • Communication is key in tenancy. The sooner you raise an issue, ask a question or report something, the quicker it can be resolved. Accidents happen but if they are left unrectified, they can often become worse. Keep in regular contact with your landlord or letting agent, so that they are aware of any problems that occur. Equally, if there is something that needs resolving by your landlord, as part of their responsibilities, you must contact them promptly, so they are aware of the action required on their part.

You can download the full tenant’s guide on the points above in the TDS Information Lounge: How to Get Tenancy Right

Kate Faulkner, a well-known property expert, also covers these points and more in the tenant checklist, which TDS helped her to put together. We recommend you use it to avoid deposit disputes: Kate Faulkner Tenant Property Checklist


About TDS

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

Your landlord or letting agent can protect your deposit using our TDS Custodial Scheme where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy. Join TDS Custodial for FREE today

Alternatively, your landlord can protect your deposit using our TDS Insured Scheme. Where your landlord holds the deposit during the term of the tenancy. Join TDS Insured here.

We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.

TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.