By Steve Roulstone
There is no doubt that the deposit paid by Tenant has been viewed differently since the introduction of the TDP Legislation which has of course famously been updated by The Localism Act which has been introduced this month. It is not surprising when you consider the legislation is all about protecting the deposit, that most Tenants now look upon this as an amount of money that should by rights be returned at the end of the Tenancy no matter what the circumstances, rather than a deposit to be used against any damage made at the property during the term of the Tenancy.
The worst case I have heard of happened to us only last week, where a Tenant using that time old well worn phrase, ‘my friend told me’ continued to inform us that she did not have to clean the property as that was now considered to be fair wear and tear! Well that was a first for me, what next, Landlords who should supply cleaners for Tenants?
The problem here of course is that because this person has been badly advised, the Deposit will immediately go into dispute if negotiation does not achieve agreement, and when you consider that one of the approved schemes actually charges their Agents dependent upon how many claims are made, it leaves us in a ridiculous situation that would, should we still be with that supplier, cost us money for a totally unnecessary case. Whatever happens, it would leave a bad taste in somebody’s mouth and as the Agent we would probably be the subject of the Tenants wrath. Fortunately, we have managed to explain the correct procedure and the Tenant has agreed to pay for the property to be cleaned.
Of course once bad advice has been given, when we meet the Tenants at the property, where no cleaning has been done, it is too late to put right, as officially, the Tenant will have no access after we have taken back the keys, otherwise they remain liable for the rent as well. Frustrating for us, especially as we write beforehand clearly pointing out the work that needs to be done prior to the check out appointment, which includes all cleaning and even state if the Tenant needs further assistance that they should not hesitate to be in touch (Of course we know if there is liable to be a big issue because of our property visits beforehand)
For me it is clear that the legislation has meant that the deposit is perceived as something that should be returned if rent has been paid and the Tenant has been reasonable in their conduct whilst at the property. This is simply not the case. The deposit is present should rent not be paid yes, but also to ensure the Landlord has a fund to fall back on should the Tenant damage the property. What we should all realise (and I speak as a Tenant myself ) is that the longer we live at a property the more chance there is that damage will be caused. That is just a fact of life, not damaged on purpose, just a by-product of living in a home!