Whenever you decide to move out you should follow a few steps correctly to increase the chances of getting all of your deposit back and quickly.

Re-read your tenancy agreement.

A tenancy agreement was signed at the start of the tenancy which set out the rules for the tenancy and ending your tenancy. You should always keep your copy of the tenancy agreement in a safe place so you can refer to it at any point. However if you don't have your copy to hand you can ask your letting agent or landlord for a copy.

Go through the tenancy agreement and read through your responsibilities as they relate to ending your tenancy and what condition the property should be left in. For instance some agreements specify that a property should be 'professionally cleaned'. If you're unsure of anything it's always best to speak to your landlord or letting agent about what is to be expected.

Short Assured or Private Residential Tenancy?

Short Assured Tenancies

Checking through your tenancy agreement will tell you what type of tenancy you have. If you moved in before 1st December 2017 you will have a 'Short Assured Tenancy'. This is a fixed term contract that will either be 6 or 12 months long.

If you want to leave when the tenancy ends, you should give your landlord notice that you are going to leave. Your tenancy agreement should state the amount of notice you should give.

Private Residential Tenancies

If your tenancy started after 1st December 2017 you will have a new style of tenancy. It's called a Private Residential Tenancy, unlike the Short Assured tenancy there is no set deadline for it to end. It continues until the tenant wants to leave. The notice period you should give if you want to leave is 28 days.

Check your tenancy agreement for how you should give notice. The best practice is in writing and to keep your own copy of your notice. Make sure your landlord or letting agent has confirmed that they have received it.

Check through your inventory

The simplest rule to follow is to leave the property in the same condition as the day you arrived. Compare your flat to the inventory, to make sure they match up.

Your landlord or letting agent can't charge you for 'fair wear and wear'. This is damage caused by day-to-day, normal use of the property. For example, a carpet will eventually get worn down by people walking on it. If something isn't in the same condition when you move out compared to what's on the inventory, it's important to consider if it's because of damage or fair wear and tear.

We have more information on fair wear and tear in another blog post.

Contact your landlord or letting agent at least one month before you move out to ask if they want to check the flat before you leave - this will give them the opportunity to let you know if there are any problems, and give you time to fix them.

Outstanding bills or rent

Remember to pay all of your outstanding bills. If the utility bills are in your name and you do not pay them, the debt will follow you as they are not tied to a property. If the utilities are in the landlord's name and you leave debt, this could lead to a claim against your deposit to cover the costs.

It's always important to let the utility companies know that you are leaving as debt could be built up in your name by the next tenant. You should send the utility companies meter readings so they can send you a final bill.

Don't ask for the services (e.g. phone line) to be disconnected. If you do, your landlord will then have to pay to have them reconnected and may take the money out of your deposit.

Also inform your council of the date that you are moving out, to avoid them billing you for council tax after you move out.

Before you move out it is always good idea to set up a redirect of post to your new address. This normally takes a week or so to set up, so the sooner you inform Royal Mail the better.

Cleaning

You should clean thoroughly throughout the property before you leave. It's always important to go through the property and check areas that are easily missed (e.g. skirting boards, windows). Check your tenancy agreement to see what is required. If you are in any doubt you should speak to your landlord or letting agent.

Reclaiming your deposit

If your deposit is held with SafeDeposits you should wait until the tenancy is officially over to submit a formal proposal. You need your log in details (DAN & DRN numbers) to access your account. Once your tenancy is finished you can log in here.

Once you've logged in to your account you should select the option 'request repayment' and fill out the short form. If you need any assistance with this or don't have your log in details you can call us on 03333 213 136 or e-mail us at info@safedepositsscotland.com.

Once you submit your proposal we'll contact your landlord or agent and ask for their response, they have by law 30 working days to submit a response. If at any time, they state that they agree to your request we can make payment to you within five working days.