As a tenant, you will pay to your landlord or their managing agent a deposit. This will be held until the end of the tenancy as a form of security for your landlord. Should you breach any terms of the contract then the deposit will be used to reimburse the landlord for any costs related to this.
Your tenancy agreement will detail the amount of the deposit and what it can be used for. As with any legal document check all the contents before signing prior to the start of the tenancy. This will be your opportunity to flag any concerns and verify what is expected of you as a tenant.
Once you have served notice to end your tenancy this is the time to broach with your landlord or managing agent what actions you need to do to secure the return of your deposit. Having clear clarification will allow you to plan and save for any disputes later down the line.
A deposit will typically be held to cover any damage to the property, owed rent, cleaning charges and for any unpaid utilities. Therefore make sure you have settled all outstanding costs and provide this proof to the landlord when you move out.
Cleaning is probably the one area that tenants tend to get charged the most. Prior to your move out check with your landlord what level of clean needs to be achieved to obtain your deposit back. An end of tenancy clean is a deep clean of every centimetre of space. This will include the oven, door frames, sinkholes, inside cupboards and drawers, light fittings: essentially anywhere. Your landlord should provide a list of what area needs to be cleaned as this could even include soft furnishings too.
Starting a dialogue with your landlord before the move out date will save any hassles later down the line. Knowing what is expected of you will save any unwanted surprises too. Should your landlord be local then inviting them round to inspect the property ahead of your move out will give you an idea of what needs your attention. You may not have noticed the light bulbs that need replacing or the kitchen handles that are loose that can be easily tightened. Both easy to rectify and saves you costs later down the line.
Once you have moved out your belongings meet with the managing agent or the landlord to inspect the property together. As a tenant, fair wear and tear is permitted, so working alongside them will ensure that their claim is reasonable.