How to make absolutely sure you get your deposit back
Here is the tea
Whether you leave Coventry for the summer, eternity, or you're just simply looking for a new place to stay, you'll probably be looking forward to getting your deposit back. Surprise surprise, landlords want to keep that nice little 400 quid of yours, and will do absolutely everything they can to do so. Fear not! We're here to help.
We asked students who've been through it all about their experiences and got the legal perspective as well, to make sure you have all the deets. We present to you, the Coventry Tab's guide to reclaiming your deposit.
Contact the landlord/letting agency
It is advisable to do this by email so you'll have a record of when you did ask for it. And, before diving into the big clean-up, arrange the date of house viewing as well.
This house viewing is where they come to the house once you've left and scout out for all the reasons they can possibly steal your precious deposit from you. Arranging this beforehand means you have enough time to prepare the house so it will look as fresh as possible.
Don't put things on the walls
Now, we'll tell you not to hang pictures or posters on your walls, since it'll probably leave marks, but we know you'll do it anyway. Let's be honest aesthetic interior design is way more important than saving money.
Apparently it also has to be said that just because you have marvellous pres, does not mean throwing up on the walls and floor is advisable. That stain will take more than just some soapy water to fix. In fact, it will take your a meaty portion deposit from you and laugh while doing it.
Clean and turn off the fridge
Newsflash: Your landlord won't appreciate the leftovers of your failed Valentine's prawn cocktail.
Air the house
You wouldn't believe how much it can help to improve the impression of your landlord if he doesn't have to wear a gas mask when entering your house.
If you were smoking inside the house throughout the year, it's better to start opening the windows a few days earlier before the house viewing (especially if it's not just from cigarettes).
Even if your landlord might like the Narcos Netflix series, he probably won't be happy you tried to reenact it in his house.
Give everything a thoroughly good clean
Your mum isn't running this house so you got away with not cleaning it for a whole year. Lucky you. Now it's time to do it. So get down to business and scrub that pesky cooking oil from your stove. And yes, you even have to clean the oven, or they'll charge you for it. I can promise you this.
Better get rid of those beer stains and tea rings too. And get to mopping if your shoes stick to the floor. The rats love crumbs and dried Strongbow residue, your landlord, however, does not.
Remove all items (literally everything)
You've heard it a thousand times and you'll hear it a thousand more: all items. That means even the Mount Dish-erest you've built in the kitchen. Tip: It's better to get a ladder and start from the top. Don't start to dismantle it from the bottom since it might fall on you and cause severe injuries.
One student we talked to was even charged for leaving a packet of empty Jaffa Cakes in her bin. Don't make this mistake.
Don't destroy anything
Remember that chair you broke when you thought it was a good idea to dance on it during that sick pres you hosted? And then you just left for JJ's and forgot about it? For three months? Surprise, surprise there is a 100 per cent chance your landlord is going to charge you for it.
Tip: Since landlords love to overcharge for broken/missing stuff, if the incident already happened, you can try and replace the stuff on your own. Ikea is cheap, your deposit is not.
Snap some pics
Take photos of the property to show how it was when you left and a get a check out inventory with your landlord's signature. It's excessive, sure, but definitely worth it.
Beware of the money your landlord shouldn't take from your deposit
Your landlord can't take money from your deposit for "reasonable wear and tear" – this means things that would gradually get worse or need replacing over time like paintwork or a piece of furniture. He'll be shocked to discover you're not supposed to buy his new carpet either.
And finally, the inevitable: Challenging your landlord
Your landlord can't take unreasonable amounts of money from your deposit, but you will need to fight them for it. Ask them to write down their reasons and sign them just in case you'll have proof if the conflict gets more serious.
Most deposits are protected by a tenancy deposit scheme (TDP). If that's your case, you should contact them and ask for further support.
We all know a few tenants who couldn't be saved, who's messy living conditions and wild pres left them depositless and their landlords probably on a nice little holiday because of it. Heed our warnings and don't let that be you.