Moving out can feel a lot easier than moving in. However you still need to ensure you complete an inventory, take meter readings and contact the utility providers and hopefully get your deposit back in full.
In the first instance we advise you check your contract - it may give specific moving out details and it's important that you follow these. There may be charges for an inventory, or information on returning keys, etc. If you do not understand your contract then contact us for help. If you don't have a copy, then you will need to get a copy from your landlord or letting agent.
If you are a final year student then you are only exempt up until the end of the summer term - for undergraduate students that started their course in September this will be around the end of June (please check the academic dates on the BU website for the exact date for the end of term). If you remain in private rented accommodation then you will become liable for council tax after this date. Make sure you inform the council when you move out of your property!
If you are a continuing student and will be returning to study after the summer holiday then your exemption will continue over the summer months.
When the last tenant moves out you will need to take meter readings for the water, gas and electricity (unless you have key meters) and call the utility companies to give them these readings. Take a date stamped photo of the meter reading for your records. The company can then generate your last bill.
Replacing damage items
It is only reasonable for your landlord to deduct as much as is needed to repair or replace what you have damaged on a like for like basis. If you break an old armchair, you shouldn't have to pay for a new one. Repair any damage that may have occurred. Be sure to keep records to show the condition you leave the property in and anything you have paid for.
Deductions for cleaning
Cleaning is a common cause of disputes. Check your tenancy agreement. It might say that carpets and curtains must be cleaned to a professional standard before you move out. Keep receipts for any cleaning you do (products purchased) or pay for. Ask for your landlord's receipts if they pay for the cleaning. You should not be expected to pay for making the property cleaner than when you moved in. This is why it's important to have take photos and have a completed inventory from when you moved in.
Getting Your Deposit Back
It is important that you leave the accommodation in the same state as it was when you moved in. You will need pictures to evidence what it looked like when you moved in. This includes ensuring the furniture is in the same place, cleaning where necessary and complying with any terms within your contract, e.g.. cleaning windows, carpets etc and keep receipts of any materials or services you have paid for.
When you move out your letting agent or landlord may ask for an inventory to be completed, if they don’t request one, do one yourself. Make a note of what furniture is in each room, the cleanliness of the property, any damages, marks on the walls, stains on carpets etc. Take date stamped photos of everything to evidence your inventory. If you use a professional cleaning service or buy cleaning products keep receipts as evidence.
If, like 90%+ of students, you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy then the letting agent or landlord is legally required to give you details of the scheme in which your deposit will be held within 30 days of paying it. If you haven't been informed as to what company your deposit is protected by then you could take legal action. For more information click here.
Disputing Deposit Deductions
Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST): If your letting agent or landlord states they will take money from your deposit and you disagree with their reasoning then you can dispute the claim via your tenancy deposit scheme. Each scheme has their own process so you would need to contact them to discuss what you need to do. If your deposit has not been protected come to SUBU Advice.
If you do not have an AST you will have to dispute the claim directly with your letting agent/landlord. SUBU Advice can help advise you on the most appropriate way to do this. Ultimately you may need to take Court action if the letting agent or landlord refuses to give you your deposit back and they have no grounds to do so. For more information on how to get your deposit back click here.
The video below from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme gives you tips on how to make sure you get your deposit back.