Final rent payments and getting your deposit back
There are many different ways to pay rent but if you use an automated payment, like a standing order, you must remember to cancel it once the final payment has been paid.
The final rent payment should be made in accordance with the contract, and not left to be deducted from the deposit, as this may affect the reference that you receive for future tenancies.
Getting your deposit back
It has now been 10 years since the deposit schemes have been in operation and the way that deposits are dealt with have improved significantly over the course of this time.
At the end of the tenancy, the landlord should notify you of any potential deductions within 10 days of you requesting the return of the deposit. There may be an element of negotiation around the cost, but the landlord cannot simply take the money without your consent. Fair wear and tear need to be considered in the cost of making good or replacing items. The proportion of the cost that is claimed should also take account of the lost life span the item. For example, if a carpet required replacing because of a huge stain and was installed only a year ago, the landlord would be losing say 8 years’ worth of value from that carpet. If however, the carpet was already 10 years old and ready to be replaced, the loss would be much lower and a proportionate claim should be made.
If you are unable to reach an agreement you can refer the matter to the deposit scheme who will apply their Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process and both parties will need to submit evidence to the relevant Deposit scheme to substantiate their claim. It is important to understand that this is an evidence-based process and so in the absence of relevant evidence the claim for damages is likely to be unsuccessful. Any monies that are not in dispute should be returned and cannot be held to ransom against the other claimed damages.
The dispute resolution process is free for both parties, other than the time taken in compiling the information. The tenant has 90 days in which to raise a dispute with the schemes. Each scheme will have its own particular process and this will be explained in the Prescribed information you would have received at the start of the tenancy.
TIP: For more information on tenancy deposit schemes and how they work, take a look at our deposits section.
Under the new Tenant Fees Act, which came into force on 1st June 2019, if an agent or landlord requires a tenant to pay a fee linked to a contract that started before the ban came into force, such as check-out or renewal fees, they can continue charging those fees until 31st May 2020.
In Wales, the Renting Homes (Fees Etc.) (Wales) Act 2019, which came into force on 1st September, outlines slightly different rules, however.
It states there will be no limit on security deposits, and the default fees clause is much wider than lost keys and chasing unpaid rent.
The new tenant fees ban legislation permits eight kinds of payment including rent; a security or holding deposit; default payments (when tenants pay their rent late and have to be chased) and also payments for council tax; utilities; television licence and broadband/phone services.
The proposals state that agents are able to charge a tenant for the outstanding rent if they leave a tenancy early – something they can do now – but not for changing a contract at the renter’s request.