Your tenancy deposit may be the last thing you are going to think about at Christmas, however if it's your turn to host the family get together, it should be at least at the back of your mind!
The top reasons why tenants don't get their tenancy deposit back are because the property is dirty, messy or damaged. So if you have managed to keep the property clean, tidy and damage free, you don't want to see all that hard work undone during the course of one busy afternoon.
In the run up to Christmas be aware that your tenancy agreement probably states that you can't stick things to the walls – this includes Christmas decorations. I know that there is probably a neighborhood competition/battle going on with who can put the most lights up. However, bear in mind that hammering nails in to the walls for your outside light display is probably just going to cause a tenancy deposit dispute and that's the last thing anyone needs!
Moving on to the day itself, you don't need to turn into the fun police but do think about the possibility of damage to the property, for example, spilled wine could lead to a landlord insisting on replacing the carpet – another sure route to a tenancy deposit dispute. Of course, your tenancy deposit is not just for Christmas, it's for the lifetime of your tenancy.
The easiest way to ensure that you get your deposit back is to keep on top of cleaning and day to day maintenance. For example, it's much easier to wipe the water marks off the taps every day than to try and chip off the lime scale 6 months later!
All tenants need to avoid that last minute panic at the end of the tenancy to try and get the property back (as near as possible) to the state it was in when they first moved in. If you have been there a while it may even be difficult to remember if that scuff mark on the wall was there already or if you need to get the paint brush out. This is why it is so important to make sure that an inventory was done before you moved in and please remember to take photos – you may need to prove that the wall was scuffed, or the carpet was stained or worn out. Don't leave the photos on your phone, you may upgrade or lose it during your tenancy. Even on day one, during the excitement of deciding where to put your belongings, you should be thinking about being able to get your deposit back at the end. Your aim throughout your tenancy should be to make sure you are able to avoid a tenancy deposit dispute. This is because if you do have to raise a dispute it could be months before this is resolved and you get your money back.
If your tenancy deposit has not been protected, it could be even longer – you may even have to take the landlord to court to try and get your deposit back. This could make life very difficult if you are moving to another property and need to find the deposit for that one while you wait to get your money back from the previous landlord. It's all about balance – enjoy your life in your home, have friends and family round but do make sure you look after it, after all, at some stage you will have to give it back! Imagine for a moment that you lent something valuable to a friend and they returned it broken and shabby, this is when you could find yourself in the middle of a dispute. It's worth taking the time to avoid this happening.
So, to finish – relax and enjoy the festive season!