#AskTDS: “Tenancy Deposit protection – tips for tenants – Tenant Fees Act 2019 (England) & Renting Homes (Fees Etc.) (Wales) Act 2019”
The requirement on landlords to protect tenancy deposits in England & Wales has been in existence since 6 April 2007 and along the way there have been some tweaks and changes to the Tenancy Deposit Protection legislation, there is also new legalisation which makes it vitally important for tenants to know their rights and responsibilities when it comes to tenancy deposits. Being clued up from the start will help avoid problems for everyone at the end of the tenancy; so here is some tips for guidance on what to do when renting your home.
- Before you hand over a tenancy deposit, ask your landlord if they are a member of a Tenancy Deposit Scheme – and which one, in addition you may want to see evidence to confirm the details.
Check that your tenancy deposit has been protected and that you have received ‘prescribed information along with a scheme leaflet’ within 30 days of the landlord / letting agent receiving the money. Keep a receipt when you make the payment and if the deposit isn’t protected within 30 days contact your landlord straight away to save everyone problems later.
- Since June 2019 there are limits on how much tenancy deposit a landlord can accept in connection with a tenancy agreement – In England (5 weeks if the rent is £50,000 per annum or less) (6 weeks if the rent is £50,001 or more) There isn’t currently a deposit cap for Wales, but there may be in the future. Tenant fees are prohibited in both regions (England 1 June 2019 – Wales 1 Sept 2019) but some default fees may be acceptable check and if you’re not sure ask for confirmation.
- Read and understand your tenancy agreement before you sign it. It has important information on what you can (and cannot) do during your tenancy. It may contain clauses to confirm whether you can keep pets, or details of the areas that you have responsibility for such as repairs and maintenance or maybe garden upkeep. If a dispute arises where you didn’t know about a clause in the agreement you may not get all or any of your deposit back once the tenancy has ended.
- Get written permission from you landlord before you make any changes to the property.If you want to paint the walls or have a pet (where prohibited in the tenancy) always consult with your landlord or letting agent and get an agreement in writing. Be clear on how it is to be done, and in what condition the property should be returned to after the tenancy has finished.
- It is your responsibility to return the property in good condition.Clean the property regularly and if any damage occurs let your landlord or agent know in writing – don’t leave it until the end of the tenancy. To avoid any disputes, ask your landlord or agent to inspect the property before the full check-out so they can tell you if you need to carry out any maintenance before you leave. If you live in a shared property you may have joint responsibility for maintenance so keeping your own bedroom spic and span isn’t enough. Cleaning accounts for over 50% of the tenancy deposit disputes that we deal with and the shared facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms are the biggest risk. Even if it’s your flatmates who are messy, you still might have to pay to clean up after them.
- Attend the check-in and check-out inspections if you can. This is your chance to agree on the condition of the property and its contents. Keep a copy of the check-in report and write to your landlord as quickly as possible if there is anything you want to question.
- Only use agents who are regulated by a professional body such as ARLA Propertymark, NAEA Propertymark, RICS, Safeagent. Landlords may also be a member of the Residential Landlord Association (RLA) . Letting agent must have client money protection (CMP) and a separate client account for any of your money which they hold.
- Make sure the agent and landlord know how to contact you at the end of the tenancy, this is so they can tell you about any problems with the property.
Learn more about Deposit Cap at www.depositcap.com
Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.