Tenancy deposit checklist for tenants

publication date: Apr 19, 2013


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  Note: From 1st June 2019, landlords in England are limited to charging tenants the equivalent of 5 weeks' deposit for new and renewed tenancies (or 6 weeks if the annual rent is £50,000 or more).
  Start of the tenancy
Check if your tenancy is an ‘Assured Shorthold Tenancy’. If so, your deposit must be protected in a Government-approved tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme.  
Check the deposit has been protected by the landlord or letting agent, within 30 days of paying the deposit, with one of the Government-approved TDP schemes:
  Has your landlord or letting agent given you Prescribed Information about the deposit protection within 30 days of paying the deposit?
  Does the Prescribed Information include an official leaflet from the Scheme administrator– such as this one from TDS
  Does your tenancy agreement state where your deposit is protected?
  Does your tenancy agreement state what your deposit can be used for?
Did your landlord or letting agent give you an inventory or check-in report confirming the contents, cleanliness and schedule of condition of the property when you moved in?
Have you checked that the inventory/check-in report is correct and told them of any differences within the set timescale? 
Have you signed and dated your inventory/check-in report, and returned a copy to your landlord or letting agent and kept a copy?
Create a folder to keep all tenancy paperwork in one safe place, and an email folder for all online communications.
  During the tenancy
Keep a written record of all communications with the landlord during the tenancy.
Obtain and keep written permission from the landlord to make any changes to the property.
Obtain and keep written permission if having a pet.
  End of the tenancy
After you give notice to leave the property, ask the landlord or letting agent to inspect the property for potential deductions from the deposit which you could resolve before leaving.
Check your tenancy agreement to find out what responsibilities you have for leaving the property.
Check the condition of the property against the inventory before you leave.
Are you expected to leave the property cleaned to a professional standard? Refer to the check-in report which was agreed at the start of the tenancy; this should give you a good idea of how clean the property was when you moved in and therefore how clean the landlord expects the property to be when you move out.
Has your landlord notified you promptly if they intend to make deductions from the deposit? 
  Deductions from the deposit
Does the tenancy agreement outline what deductions can be made from the deposit?
Are you only being charged to return the property to the state it should have been in when you left, and not paying for improvements (betterment)?
You should not be charged the full cost of brand new items or for full redecoration. Has the landlord incorporated the value of ‘fair wear and tear’ into damage or redecoration costs? Read TDS's guide to inventories, check-in & check-out reports for more information.
Has the landlord justified the costs of deductions with receipts, quotes, or invoices?
If you disagree with deductions, have you negotiated with the landlord to try and reach agreement?
If there is no other way to reach agreement, consider raising a tenancy deposit dispute. An impartial adjudicator from the scheme which protects your deposit will decide how much is deducted based on the evidence provided by you and your landlord.
Raise the dispute within three months of the end of the tenancy. Send relevant documents as evidence to support your case such as inventories, photos and communications with the landlord.


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