MOVING OUT? HOPING TO HAVE YOUR DEPOSIT RETURNED?
Moving out? Hoping to have your deposit returned? Read on!
In Customer Care we have many Tenants querying their deposit return when it comes to the end of their tenancy, so we thought it might be a good idea to answer some of those Frequently Asked Questions, by demonstrating the ‘deposit journey’. We understand that a Tenant’s priority is often the timescale within which they can expect to have their deposit returned. Sometimes, though, the steps involved are more complex than a straightforward timescale, so please find below our overview of how the ‘deposit journey’ pans out:
Step 1: Upon receipt of the Tenant’s keys and a deposit release form, a Checkouts Clerk attends the property to complete a Checkout Inspection. During this visit, a report is created and the Clerk takes photographs to evidence the condition of the property at the end of the tenancy. The Clerk takes the original Inventory/Amended Inventory along with them to this Inspection. The purpose of this is to check the current condition of the property in comparison to its condition at the start of the Tenancy.
Step 2: The outcome of the Inspection is emailed to the Tenant and Landlord. If there are no dilapidations noted, and the Landlord is in agreement with our findings (i.e. the Landlord is happy that the factors noted are a Landlord responsibility), the full deposit can be returned to the Tenant as soon as we receive the Landlord’s written confirmation.
If any dilapidations have been noted, this communication will outline those factors that we believe need work or attention, and matters will be broken down into “Tenant responsibility” or “Landlord responsibility”. “Landlord responsibility” will include general wear and tear. At this point, the Landlord is asked whether they would like to pursue the Tenant/s for the items which fall under the category of “Tenant responsibility”. Ultimately, it is the Landlord’s decision. We act upon their instruction, but always provide our best, professional advice.
We then query whether the Landlord would like us to instruct our preferred Contractors, or whether they would like to instruct their own. If the Landlord chooses not to complete works immediately, quotations will be obtained in order to provide the proposed deposit breakdown (Step 3).
Step 3: Thornley Groves aim to complete all works/obtain all quotations for dilapidations agreed with the Landlord, within 5 working days of the Inspection being completed (if a clean is required, this should in all circumstances be completed within 5 working days).
At this point, your Checkouts Clerk will send the invoices or quotations, alongside a proposed breakdown of the deposit, to you as the Tenant, and also your Landlord. We always aim to provide the proposed deposit deductions to the Tenant/s within 10 working days of the Tenant’s vacating date.
If the Landlord does not agree at this point in the process, matters will need to be reconsidered and your Checkouts Clerk will be in touch, in hope of reaching an agreement between Tenant and Landlord.
Step 4: Once your Checkouts Clerk is satisfied that both Tenant and Landlord are happy with the proposed deposit breakdown, the funds can be returned to the relevant parties.
If, however, an agreement cannot be reached between Tenant and Landlord, the ‘undisputed amount’ will be returned to the relevant parties and the ‘disputed amount’ will remain with Thornley Groves until a resolution can be reached. Alternatively, if you raise a dispute with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), the ‘disputed amount’ will be passed to the TDS, as per their guidelines and instructions, until an agreement can be reached. All deposits received by Thornley Groves, for the properties we manage, are registered with the TDS (www.tenancydepositscheme.com).
The deposit and the final word!
As you can see, the process of returning a deposit has the potential to be fairly straightforward, and at Thornley Groves we really do want to find a resolution for both Tenant and Landlord, but unfortunately, there are some circumstances in which the process takes longer than any of us would hope. If you are considering disputing your deposit return, here are some useful points to consider:
- The proposed deposit breakdown, sent to the Tenant after a Checkout Inspection is completed (Step 3), cannot reflect and take into consideration unrelated maintenance issues that have occurred throughout a Tenancy (i.e. a light clean at the end of a Tenancy cannot be ‘cancelled out’ by a damaged kitchen worktop that the Landlord chose not to rectify at the start of the Tenancy).
- Nevertheless, if a Tenant feels that a property is left in a better condition at the end of a Tenancy than it was at the beginning, if evidence is provided, negotiations can occur – you are able to contact your Checkouts Clerk to provide such evidence.
- Although we would very much like to resolve your deposit return before you feel the need to take the matter to the TDS, if a resolution regarding the deposit breakdown has not been reached between Tenant and Landlord within 10 days after your vacating date, you are entitled to take the matter to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) who will adjudicate the process accordingly.
- It is important to note, however, that the TDS are unlikely to consider your deposit dispute until you have received a proposed deposit breakdown from Thornley Groves. Until deposit deductions are proposed, the TDS have very little upon which to base their adjudication, and would not be able to complete a full assessment of the matters in dispute.
- As indicated by our explanation of the ‘deposit journey’, it is not always possible for us to provide the deposit breakdown within 10 days, and we understand that this can be frustrating, but it always worth waiting until you have a deposit breakdown to ensure you achieve the best outcome in the most efficient manner. Both the Tenant and the Landlord have a period of 90 days, from the Tenants’ vacating date, to raise a dispute with the TDS directly.
- When you contact the TDS you will need to quote your unique reference number. This can be found on the TDS certificate that the TDS provided you with at the start of your Tenancy, or the TDS website features a search tool which can be used by anyone with basic Tenancy information: https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/is-my-deposit-protected.html
Our Checkouts Clerks will always be happy to update you regarding the progress of your deposit return, so if you’re puzzled, please feel free to get in touch. Disputing a deposit return with the TDS can be a lengthy process and if we can assist you in reaching an agreement with your Landlord, we’d really like to hear from you. Please do bear in mind that due to the nature of the job, our Checkouts Clerks are often out and about conducting Inspections during the day. If you can’t get through straight away, please do leave the Clerk a message or drop them an email, and they will get back to you as soon as possible. Follow the links below to find all the contact details you will need:
City Centre Properties
South Manchester and Swinton Properties
From all at Thornley Groves, we hope your move goes smoothly. If you require our assistance in the future, with regards to Letting, Selling, Buying, Renting or any Financial Services, please do get in touch!