Your first payment will be your deposit and your first lot of rent – which usually covers 1 month, but this is at the landlord’s discretion. Your deposit is also usually the equivalent of 1 month’s rent. This covers payments for any damages to the property whilst you are a tenant, or missed rent/bill payments should you fail to keep up with them.
Your deposit will be placed into a government-backed deposit protection scheme. These schemes ensure you get your deposit back if you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement, keep up with your payments and ensure the property remains in good condition. It also stipulates that the landlord must place your deposit in a holding bank account separate to their personal account, safeguarding it in the process. By now the estate agency and landlord will have all of your information, but it is up to you to set up a standing order for the rent.
Reasons You May Not Be Given Your Deposit Back
There are a number of different reasons why your security deposit may not be given back after your tenancy agreement runs out.
Breaking or Leaving a Lease Early: Your landlord can keep all or part of your deposit if you breach your contract. If you leave early before your tenancy ends the landlord has the right to keep your deposit to cover some of the cost of the missed rental periods.
Unpaid Rent: Unpaid rent is considered a breach of contract, so the same applies as it does above. If you do not pay your rent, or have outstanding rent payments come to the end of your tenancy, your deposit can be used to cover the landlord’s mortgage costs.
Damage to the Property: If you break, shatter, mark, scratch or damage anything in the house then your deposit (or part of your deposit) can be used to cover the cost of repairs and replacements. This does not include normal wear and tear, like nail holes in the wall for hanging pictures or small amounts of mildew or dirty grout in the bathroom. Damage counts for things like large holes in the wall, water damage to wooden floors, broken items of furniture, smashed glass or broken doors.
Loss of Items: If items are missing from the home (and they were on the inventory list supplied to you when you moved in) then you will be liable to replace them. The landlord may use some or all of your deposit to recover the cost of these things being replaced. The same can be said for any and all keys that are handed to you as well.
Unpaid Utilities: As with your rent, the landlord has the right to keep some or all of your deposit to cover any outstanding utility payments you have not made during your stay in the property.
Cleaning Costs: Under normal circumstances, your landlord will not be able to make deductions from your deposit to cover standard or normal cleaning costs. However, if the property is left in an extremely foul condition, then the landlord does have the right to deduct some of your deposit money to clean the mess. This is only when the cleaning tasks necessary are excessive and not the result of standard wear and tear.