How To Get Your Full Deposit Back - Edinburgh Letting Agent Tips
Unlike checking out of a hotel or holiday let, moving out of a residential property involves a bit more than simply handing back the keys. Your property will receive a thorough final inspection or check out inspection, after the end date of your tenancy. This report will be a comparative assessment based on the inventory you were given at the commencement of your tenancy. A check out looks at the discrepancies, alterations, missing items and damages that are beyond what might be considered normal wear and tear when we consider the condition noted in the inventory and the time that has passed through your tenancy. In this Edinburgh Letting Agent tips piece, we seek to explain exactly how you can ensure that your deposit is returned in full along with defining the all important 'wear and tear' part of your tenancy agreement.
What Do We Mean by ‘Wear and Tear’?
The Association of Professional Inventory Providers supply guidance on the expected lifespan of set aspects of fixtures and furnishings for a rented property, depending on their original quality. For example, décor in a bedroom is expected to last 5 years while in a higher traffic area like a stairwell, this reduces to 3 years. Medium quality carpets are expected to last 5-10 years, again with consideration of what areas might be ‘high traffic’, while high quality carpets can be expected to last up to 20 years. Adults in a property are expected to generate less wear than children and no matter whether the culprit’s artistic skills are more Banksy than Picasso, drawing on walls does class as damage.
Accepted wear to décor after a two year tenancy of three adults would include things like low level marks, marking around light fittings or from furniture depressions, degradation of wall paper seams, discolouration consistent with light exposure and age, or some flaking of paintwork. Examples of damage that would not be deemed wear and tear are surface damage from Blue Tac or adhesives, holes to walls following removal of television brackets, pet scratch marks, evidence of beverage or food spillage down walls, bad indentation or holes in plaster, doors or woodwork.
If we consider carpets, they are expected to have had the tread become depressed or thinned in high traffic areas, have minor marks or discolouration in accordance with age. Damage that is not consistent with normal wear covers things like burn marks from irons or hair straighteners, food, beverages, makeup and bicycle oil stains.
Cleaning charges make up about 95% of all deposit claims and are usually the most emotive aspect of a deposit claim. In the property industry these are the three main cleaning classifications;
- Unclean – there is dirt or debris on most surfaces. It’s quite uncommon for properties to be returned totally unclean.
- Domestically clean - at first glance, the property appears largely clean. The property will have been vacuumed, easy reach cabinetry and surfaces will have been wiped down but on closer inspection aspects like skirting boards, behind furnishings and under beds, kitchen cupboard interiors and drawers will have dust, debris or a build up of dirt that requires vacuuming/washing, the oven may have been wiped of loose debris but carbon staining on the interior shelves and door may remain. Most properties are returned cleaned to regular domestic standard.
- Professionally cleaned – all hard-to-reach areas such as door sills, cabinet interiors and appliances have no dirt residue or debris. Washing machine soap feed trays have been cleaned, there’s no residue on shower screens, grout has been cleaned and all furniture and woodwork fully washed down. Extractor fans have been cleaned of dust or grease and filters changes. You do not need to hire a professional cleaner to achieve a professionally clean rating, but it can take a long time to deep clean a property, particularly in the kitchens and bathrooms.
Our customers are often shocked at the cost of one-off end of tenancy cleans in Edinburgh. Regular weekly or fortnightly cleaners that use your own appliances and products will generally charge £12-£14/hr. However, when we have to send cleaners to do an end of tenancy clean including oven cleans etc, they have to provide their own equipment and specialist products, which means that their costs are going to include things like parking and refuse disposal. End of tenancy cleaning in Edinburgh at this time of year will cost between £18-£23 per hour.
Similarly, a regular window cleaner attends every 2-4 weeks at a charge of £15-£20 per visit, however as the windows are attended to regularly, the cost is low per visit. If you do not clean your windows over the course of a year, the window cleaning cost for a 4-5 bedroom property with sash and case windows, inside and out, will be in the region of £100 depending on how many times they have to go over them and the extra time needed to clean the surrounds. Prices for reach and wash window cleans for windows at height carry a premium charge also.
A landlord does not have to keep items of tenant property or furniture left behind after a tenancy. While many tenants feel that they are ‘gifting’ a landlord with a desk, television or bag-for-life collection, landlords generally ask for these to be removed at the tenants’ cost as otherwise, they become financially responsible for replacing or repairing the additional furniture items through the course of subsequent tenancies. As well as paying for the contractor’s services and time, you’ll also be charged for ‘commercial’ costs for disposing of the items at one of Edinburgh’s recycling centres. While we’re happy to ask your landlord in advance of your vacating date if they’d be willing to keep certain items, where they will not, it’s best to remove these to a recycling centre yourself, arrange an Edinburgh council kerbside large item uplift, or consider donating the extra items to the Edinburgh Furniture Initiative or British Heart Foundation (or other charitable entities).
Making Things Right
One of the most important Edinburgh letting agent tips is that certain things are best left to the professionals. Check over your inventory and if you are concerned that you have liability to put something right, arrange to remedy this before you vacate your tenancy. This will give you a degree of control over costs and will save you on the administrative costs applied by letting agents and landlords for arranging rectifications that you are liable for.
Cullen Property tenants are always welcome to discuss their upcoming end of tenancy with their personal property manager for advice on wear and tear vs damage, and also to receive recommendations for reputable, insured contractors to undertake works to the correct standard.
Agents love giving back full deposits! But when things aren’t quite right at the end of the tenancy, you will receive a report detailing what work will be done which you will carry full or partial liability for. We’ll then confirm the amounts as soon as invoices are available and we’re ready to make a claim to the deposit scheme. Safe Deposit Scotland have a tenant advisory service where you can sense check things with an independent party if you are unsure if the values or wear and tear calculations are fair. If you don’t agree with the claim and cannot reach a resolution with us then you can request the claim goes to external adjudication through the deposit scheme. This ensures that a third party specialist decides what is fair and reasonable in terms of deductions. The disputed portion of the claim will stay with the deposit scheme until this process is complete.
How To Get Your Deposit Back Tenant Help Sheet
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For more information about how Cullen Property stores your deposit, please click here to visit Safe Deposit Scotland's website.