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How strict are you re: retaining money from deposits


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I am just about to move my second lot of tenants into our 2 bed flat. I wont go into too much detail but suffice to say we have learnt the hard way re: how much tenants look after a property compared to us. I am going to put a thorough inventory together detailing the condition of every wall, piece of carpet etc and take photos. When the flat is returned to me can I expect it to be returned in exactly the same state? Or do you make reasonable allowances for wear and tear? I dont want to be unreasonable but I also feel like we let the tenants get away with alot this time and wouldnt be prepared to do that again.



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You've made a detailed inventory, so when the tenants vacate, they should leave it how they found it, anything that needs replacing (or the time / expense that it will take to put back to it's original state) should be deducted from the tenants deposit, afterall you're not running a charity.

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Hi Michael,

When deciding what, if anything, to deduct from the security deposit - I would suggest the following approach.

1) Only deduct money for DAMAGE to the property. It is not reasonable to deduct monies for "fair wear and tear" eg: the carpets are threadbear because you haven't replaced them for 20 years is not a reason to ask the tenant to pay for a new carpet.

2) Be fair with the tenant. If the cooker is damaged (due to the tenants negligence) but the cooker was 5 years old then it would be fair to deduct 50% of the cost of replacement from the deposit (as the cooker would probably have lasted for no more than another 5 years) and it is unfair to try and get a new cooker out of the tenant.

3) Always document what monies have been deducted from the deposit and why. Send a written report to the tenant. Keep all receipts and be prepared to show these to the tenant - if necessary - as the deposit is the TENANTS money and not the landlords money.

4) No-one likes to lose all of their deposit. Always try and return something. If you keep everything then the tenant has got nothing to lose by challenging you in the small claims court (especially if you are being unreasonable).

5) Finally, try and end the tenancy on a positive rather than a negative note. So many times I have seen really good tenants fall out with their landlords on the last day of the tenancy over a £30 carpet cleaning bill.

If the tenant has been with you for some time and paid many thousands of pounds in rent - is it really worth ending it all on a bad note for that extra 30 quid ?

In my experience - happy tenants will recommend you to other tenants - meaning that you have fewer void periods and more profitability from your investment.

Good luck,


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