When we left our second year house, we had a long list of what we ‘should’ do to ensure we got our deposit back. I say ‘should’ as sarcastically as possible – because who has the time or the inclination to wipe down skirting boards?!
In all seriousness, being generally clean and tidy throughout the year is probably enough to get your deposit back. But there are a few little extras that don’t take too long to do, will make the house seem extra-sparkly and probably improve a future tenant reference. This year I’ve rented a room in a private house and this is what I’ll be doing to make sure I get my deposit back – it’s probably a bit more than I’d do for a student house, but I have lived in a room 10 steps away from my landlady’s since last July.
As a side-note, I’ve realised I’ve lived in this room longer than anywhere since I started university in 2012 – it’s been an odd experience, but I’m going to be rather sad to leave!
Take Photographs Before and After
In my university halls I was threatened with a fine when I moved out due to the state of the shared areas (see my post about nightmare housemates!) – it always pays to argue if you feel this is unfair. I did, and didn’t pay a penny. I’d advise taking detailed photos when you move in and out, just in case.
Wash Provided Fabrics
I was provided with bed linen and lots of cushions this year, and all will be bunged in the washing machine (most machines have a gentle or hand-wash setting that’s perfect for cushion covers). A sprinkle of Vanish pre-wash on any suspicious looking marks and after a spin they’ll be like brand new.
Trust me, this stuff works. I’ve had a worrying stain on a cushion from a pair of boots – the boots were clean, but brand new and the rubber sole left black marks. I’ve since treated it with Vanish and yep, stain has vanished.
Have an Extra Long Hoover
This is going to be a tough one for me to stomach – I live with three dogs and despite hoovering a couple of times a week I feel my carpet is always hairy. And that’s with the dogs not entering the room. Before I leave I plan on sprinkling the carpet with Bicarbonate of Soda, then hoovering for a good three times longer than I would normally. The bicarb freshens everything up and absorbs odours – I love it as a natural way to clean.
Empty Kitchen Areas
Make sure you take or throw away any unwanted spices, plates, etc. Once the cupboards and fridge are empty, clean them. Wiping down a fridge always makes it smell and look so much better – and it doesn’t need to take long. I always use a half a fresh lemon first to cut through any grease and add a nice odour, then just some warm water.
Make sure you clean the oven too – and don’t skimp on the product. Buy proper oven cleaner (Oven Pride is by far the best I’ve used), and follow the instructions. You’ll need far less elbow grease!
It’s amazing how much dust gathers on areas you don’t see. I’m not tall enough to see my top shelf, yet when I wear heeled boots I can – and I always realise that it needs dusting. When you move out stand on a chair and dust everywhere. I’d suggest wafting a duster around ceilings too to remove.
This doesn’t need to involve one of those expensive hired machines, just a bit of Vanish spray and a cloth. I always have a cup of tea in bed each morning and quite often drip a little onto the carpet (clearly not awake enough!). A spray of Vanish, a quick wipe and it looks like new.
Check Tenants Responsibilities
It could be that you are responsible for bits that you would otherwise forget. My friends are preparing to move out of their current student house and realised they had full responsibility to get the garden in a suitable state – without having been supplied with even a lawn mower. It costs around £20 to have a simple garden tidied up – and if that gets you back a deposit worth several hundred each that’s money well spent.
Be a Good Tenant
Being a good tenant throughout your agreement is a surefire way of getting your deposit back. Be polite, agreeable and easy to deal with. Offer to make small improvements yourself – our second year hob was cleaner when we moved out than when we got there thanks to some elbow grease. By keeping things clean and tidy for mid-tennancy inspections you will definitely improve chances of getting your deposit back.
Do you have any tips for getting a rental deposit back? Have you ever NOT got your deposit back?