A Guide To Deposit Returns 4 Jun, 2024

A Guide To Deposit Returns

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After tenants bid farewell to a property, the reins of the deposit refund process fall into the hands of their letting agent. In this article, we offer a comprehensive breakdown of the steps involved, equipping tenants with a clear understanding of what awaits them.

  1. Checkout Inspection:

The Flat Company employs Pinstripe ( to carry out a professional and completely independent Check In and Check Out Inventory reports. Pinstripe conducts a thorough inspection of the property, typically within 1-2 working days of the tenancy conclusion. This inspection involves meticulous comparison of the property's condition with the initial inventory agreed upon at the tenancy's commencement. From the walls to the inside of appliances, every nook and cranny is scrutinized to ensure the property is left in a satisfactory condition for the next occupants.

  1. Inspection Report:

Subsequent to the checkout inspection, an inspection report is drafted, detailing any breakages, damages, cleanliness issues, or missing items. The report is shared with the tenants and our recommendations shared with both the landlord and the tenant.

  1. Remedial Works:

If any repairs are necessary, the letting agent takes charge of organizing them. This process may prolong the deposit refund timeline, as contractors require time to quote for the works and for invoices to be processed before the refund can be initiated. However, The Flat Company will let you know about this and give you a time frame.

  1. Wear and Tear:

It's crucial to distinguish between wear and tear and tenant-induced damages. While wear and tear is an expected part of a property's natural aging process, tenants aren't liable for its costs. For instance, if a broken bed is discovered, its age is considered in determining whether the damage exceeds normal wear and tear. Generally, furnishings are expected to last around 7 years. Therefore, if a bed, only 3 years old, is irreparably damaged, the tenant would bear a portion of the replacement cost, factoring in the years of natural wear and tear.

  1. Initiating Deposit Refund Process with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS):

Once all necessary repairs or replacements are completed, the letting agent proceeds to initiate the deposit refund through the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, where the deposit is held with a company called Letting Protection Service Scotland (LPS: Any proposed deductions are substantiated with evidence, including photographs and quotes/invoices. Tenants receive notification from LPS regarding the findings, offering them an opportunity to contest proposed deductions or accept the refund amount.

  1. Resolution and Final Assessment:

In case of disagreement, the TDS and specifically in our case Letting Protection Scotland (LPS) reviews the case thoroughly before reaching a final decision, ensuring fairness to both parties. This process typically concludes within 1-2 weeks, barring any extensive works or disputes. LPS also have their own guide to help:

  1. Fair & Transparent Process:

The involvement of an independent and impartial third party like LPS ensures fairness and transparency throughout the deposit refund process, alleviating potential tensions between landlords, agents, and tenants.

  1. Deposit Return

Once any deductions have been agreed the deposit is then returned to the “Lead Tenant” who is named on the lease and with LPS and then it is the responsibility of the Lead Tenant to distribute the funds fairly between all the tenants named on the lease. The Flat Company is not involved in this part of the process, and it is the responsibility of the tenants to reach an agreement once the deposit has been returned.

Should any queries arise regarding the deposit refund process, we encourage you to get in touch with your property manager for further clarification. It is worth bearing in mind that during the summer months there are a lot more tenancies coming to an end so contractors have to quote for a lot more works and property managers are dealing with a lot more deposit claims, therefore, this can slow the process down. However, The Flat Company will always work within the legally required time frame and do our best to get people’s deposit back as soon as possible as we know how important it is to get the funds returned.