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Q: What is a deposit?

A: A deposit is a returnable sum payable to the owner/agent. It is normally held against any end-of-tenancy rent arrears, wilful damage and any essential cleaning. It usually covers:

   •  damage to the property or its fittings in excess of wear and tear

   •  the cost of cleaning necessary to return the property to a lettable condition

   •  damage to décor

   •  the cost of removing large amounts of waste from the property

   •  the cost of replacing locks or keys if keys are not promptly returned

   •  any outstanding rent

Tips on how to help avoid problems

Check what your responsibilities are for the garden – if you are responsible, gardening equipment should be provided.

If you bring furniture from home make proper arrangements to remove the owner’s furniture or put it somewhere where it won’t get damaged.

If the owner/agent agrees to remove any excess furniture from the house, confirm this in writing so that it cannot be listed as ‘missing’ in your end-of-year tenancy inspection.

Always report any repairs in writing and keep a copy so you can show that it is not damage caused by the household

Maintain the house properly, cleaning/vacuuming regularly. It’s much easier to do this rather than leave all cleaning to the end of your tenancy.

Clean all cookers, fridges, toilets, showers and baths properly at the end of the tenancy using proper cleaning materials

Respect the owner/agent’s fixtures and fittings. Burn marks on the carpet, cigarette burns on the furniture could cost you your entire deposit and more.

If you do break/damage anything (deliberately or accidentally), then inform the owner/agent immediately. Do not leave it until the end of the tenancy