What is a tenancy deposit?

A tenancy deposit is a sum of money paid by a tenant as a security in the event of an accidental or malicious breach of the tenancy terms. The deposit paid is a returnable sum however if a breach is made then a proportion or the full balance of the deposit may be retained and made payable to the owner/agent. Examples of breaches include:

  • Damage to the property or its fittings (In excess of normal wear and tear)
  • Cleaning costs to return the property to a ‘lettable’ condition
  • Damage to décor
  • Cost of removing waste from the property
  • Replacement locks should all sets of keys not be returned
  • Outstanding Rent and or Late Payment Charges

The deposit will not be used to cover reasonable wear and tear which is paid for as part of a tenants rent.

How much deposit is required?

At Case McNair, the deposit payable on each new tenancy is standardly £150 more than the agreed rent. E.g. A tenant paying rent at £500 a month will be required to pay a deposit of £650. Occasionally the amount requested may vary on the request of the landlord. A Case McNair representative will communicate any variation on these terms to each potential applicant.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

In April 2007 a requirement was placed on all landlords to register tenant’s deposits with an approved government scheme. This registration provides a safeguard for the tenant’s money and each of the authorized schemes offer an independent adjudication service in the event of a dispute.

The landlord or their appointed agent must lodge all deposits with an approved scheme within 4 days of the commencement of the tenancy. Tenants will be provided with copies of ‘Tenancy Prescribed Sheets’ which clearly details:

  • The contact details of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme
  • The contact details of the Tenant, Landlord or the Landlords Agent
  • The rented property address.
  • How to apply for the release of the deposit
  • Information explaining the purpose of the deposit
  • What to do if there is a dispute about the deposit.

Where do Case McNair lodge deposits?

Primarily Case McNair will lodge tenant’s deposits within the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). The TDS is run by The Dispute Service Ltd. It is an insurance backed tenancy deposit protection scheme authorised by the government. The TDS has two main roles:

  • To protect deposits
  • To help resolve disputes about deposits

How to check if a deposit has been registered with the TDS

Tenants can check if their deposit has been registered with the TDS by visiting www.tds.gb.com

If tenants have received a Tenancy Deposit Protection Certificate, they should enter the code number from that certificate. Alternatively they can enter the surname, the deposit amount, the tenancy postcode, and the date their tenancy started.

Ensuring the return of the deposit

Tenants have a responsibility to ensure that the property is returned in the same clean condition as it was presented to them, without damages and excepting wear and tear. On ‘move-in’ Tenants are required to sign to acknowledge receipt of their inventory. They are further required to inform the landlord/or his agent within 48hrs of any discrepancies noted on the inventory. If you do not report issues within the first 48 hours then you may end up paying at the end of your tenancy. We recommend that tenants take accurate notes and photographic evidence at the commencement of their tenancy with particular reference to:

  • The content and condition of the furniture present
  • The general condition of the property (paintwork, flooring etc…)
  • The overall cleanliness of the property

Move in deposit issues should be submitted in writing to propertymanagement@casemcnair.com where they will be dealt with as a priority.

Avoiding Deductions

When you are ending your tenancy you must ensure that you clean the property to a professional standard.

Areas that sometimes get missed include: the hob and oven, shower-screens, toilet seats, washing machine tablet holders, underneath furniture, fridge and freezer, skirt boards, and inside cupboards and drawers.

Other important tips:

  • Vacuum Carpets – Ensure that you vacuum carpets on a regular basis (weekly is preferable.) This will minimize the dirt build up and may avoid the requirement of a costly carpet clean at the end of the tenancy
  • DO NOT SMOKE – Smoking is not permitted in any of the properties that Case McNair market. If tenants do smoke then they will be liable to pay for the costs of steam cleaning items affected by the smoke such as sofas, blinds, curtains, cushions, bedding etc…. There may also be a request for a contribution to the repainting of the property if the nicotine has penetrated the paint and settled into the pores of drywall.
  • Replace all Lightbulbs – It is the responsibility of the tenant to ensure that lightbulbs have been replaced and are in working order at the end of their tenancy. Failure to replace the bulbs will result in a deposit deduction as the landlord/or agent will need to send a contractor to attend to carry out the replacement work. A handyman contractor rate would usually amount to around £50+Vat for the site visit plus parts.
  • Avoid Wall Damage – Tenants are advised not to hang pictures without the landlords prior permission. Avoid the use of oil based adhesive products such as Blu-Tack as these will mark walls and repainting may be required at the end of tenancy.
  • Return Keys, Swipe Cards and Fobs – Keys must be returned to the office no later than midday on the day after your tenancy expires. Failure to return keys within the designated timeframe will result in an administrative charge as well as a further charge at the equivalent rental rate per day that the keys are not returned. In the event that all keys are not returned then the landlord reserves the right to change the locks at the expense of the tenant.
  • Avoid Leaving Cleaning Products – Although often left with the kindest of intentions we ask that you refrain from doing so. Unfortunately we have experienced instances where tenants have complained when cleaning products have been left in the property along with other unwanted items.
  • Disposal of Rubbish – Items that have been left that have not been recorded on the original inventory will be regarded as rubbish. All rubbish will need to be removed at the cost of the tenant. Contractor rates would amount to approximately £50 per hour and tenants may be required to pay any additional disposal costs.
  • Toilet Cleaning – Lime-scale buildup is a common occurrence domestic sanitary units and pipes. Lime-scale is a deposit found in hard water which contains a higher than usual amount of minerals. Lime-scale is not only unsightly but it can lead to plumbing issues should it be left untreated. Removing lime-scale may seem like a daunting task but this can be achieved with common household items – You will need to empty the bowl and use paper towels dipped in vinegar  to soak the area for a few minutes before flushing the toilet. This should resolve the issue.
  • Sealant and Grouting – Usually as a result of showering deposits tend to build on the sealant and grouting. It is recommended that after each shower (build up in condensation) the tenant wipes down the surface to prevent the build-up of deposits. Should the deposits discolor the sealant then we would recommend getting a cleaning aid such as the HG Mould Remover from Lakeland.

Example Costs for Maintenance and Cleaning Services at the End of Tenancy

Tenants are advised to note that work charged as a result of breach of tenancy can indeed be expensive. The landlord/agent must appoint approved contractors who hold adequate insurance policies. Costs for their work can often include travel time, petrol expenses, parking, labour and materials. Minimum charges for all our contractors start at £55+Vat as well as an agency charge of £25+Vat for organizing work as a result of each breach. For your convenience we have detailed below a list of example costs for different services that may be required.

  • End of Tenancy Cleaning Costs
    General Light Clean (Surface Areas) – 1 Bed - £65+Vat, 2 Bed - £80+Vat, 3 Bed - £95+Vat
    Deep Clean (Appliances) – 1 Bed - £80+Vat, 2 Bed - £95+Vat, 3 Bed - £110+Vat
    Carpet Clean - £50 per (average sized) carpet
    Defrost & Clean Freezer - £40+Vat (on top of normal cleaning charge)
  • Re-Sealing Bath - £30+Vat (Labour & Materials)
  • Replacement Locks – Standard Lock Replacement with 3 keys £110+Vat
  • Re-Painting – 1 Bed £550+Vat, 2 Bed - £650+Vat, 3Bed £750+Vat

All the above costs are estimates and are intended as a guide for tenants. The estimates have been made based on average sized apartments marketed by Case McNair. Prices will change dependent on size, type of construction, location of the property etc…

REMEMBER - As long as the property is left in a clean condition, free of damages and without a breach of tenancy then we anticipate there will be no proposed deposit deductions.

Deposits in Joint Tenancies

Joint tenancies can often present difficulties when dealing with deposit returns. It is important to remember that, when in a joint tenancy, the tenants will be severally liable in respect of their responsibilities and liabilities. In the event that one or more of the tenants fails to adhere to the terms of their contract then the liability can, and often will be transferred to the other tenants on the contract. E.g. If one tenant fails to clean his/her bedroom then the other tenants will ultimately share the burden of the cost for bringing the property back to a clean condition.

Deposit Dispute

In the event of a dispute then in the first instance, both Tenants and Landlords should seek to deal directly with the agent as a means of adjudication. Should it not be possible for the agent to help reach agreement then the tenant and the landlord may seek independent adjudication through the Tenancy Deposit Scheme operated by;

The Dispute Service,
Hemel Hemstead,
HP1 9GN.
Tel: 0845 226 7837
Email: deposits@tds.gb.com

This is a free and extensive adjudication service where the adjudicator will make case by case factual decisions based on the supporting evidence provided. Please note that this service may prove more time consuming than reaching an agreement directly between the landlord and the tenant. It is also possible that the final TDS adjudication may produce a financial verdict that was better or worse than the initial proposal.

Deposit Return

Case McNair will endeavor to release deposit monies at the earliest opportunity once agreement has been reached between the Landlord and Tenant. If there is no dispute then the landlord or agent will release the deposit without delay, less any deductions that the tenant has agreed.

Should Tenants or Landlords require any further details regarding deposits then please call our office on 0161 711 0990 and we will be glad to be of assistance.