People will tell you all sorts of tales about getting your deposit back. Some of what you hear will be nonsense.
That's why Purple Frog has put together this simple guide to explain to our tenants how and when you'll get your deposit back.
Why do you ask for deposits?
As well as our commitment to making sure your stay as a Purple Frog tenant is as fun and carefree as possible, we make a similar promise to the landlords we work with. They want to make sure that they’re not having to foot the bill for any damages or extra cleaning. Meanwhile tenants want their deposits back.
It’s our job to ensure that everyone gets treated fairly. We put a huge amount of time and energy into achieving this.
Where will I find more information about my deposit?
Your tenancy agreement will give you lots of information about your deposit. We recommend rereading this, as it also explains the responsibilities that you, the landlord and Purple Frog has for the property.
You will have been sent your contract when it was signed. If you can’t find it, tell us and we can show you where to find it.
There are also lots of links below where you will also find information on your deposit.
What can I do to ensure I keep my deposit?
As a tenant, you get a handbook when you move in. This explains everything you need to know about living in one of our properties. From how to report maintenance issues to paying your rent and, yes, tips on how to keep your deposit.
Our web page How to Keep your Deposit sets out very simply all of the things you need to do so we can return as much (hopefully all!) of your deposit as possible.
You should also take time-stamped photos of the property when you move in and when you move out. This will help you, if you need to dispute any deductions when we send you your deposit statement.
What happens when I move out?
You need to return the property to us in a state that someone moving in would be happy to live there. That means clean and tidy, with everything where you found it.
To help you do this, we provide a moving out check list.
This checklist is an incredibly useful document, which you can download from the website. Not only does it give you a tick list of things to do when it’s time to leave, it also gives detailed information on:
- Documents you’ll need to provide for your deposit return
- Contact details for our deposits team (email@example.com)
- Details of the type of charges that might be applied, and the cost of each
- How to book a preliminary inspection, so we can give you advice on cleaning etc
What might I get charged for?
Ah, the big question.
The main reasons for charges are for cleaning or damage. This is why your moving out check list is so important!
We won’t charge you for ‘wear and tear’. This means small scale things that happen over time, just by people living in a property. Don’t be afraid to tell us if things break or wear out during your tenancy.
But be aware, you will get deductions if things have broken and you don’t report them to our maintenance department, or if you’ve not cleaned.
What if the property was dirty when I moved in?
You will still need to clean the property when you leave. If you don’t do this, the cost of hiring a cleaning service will be deducted from your deposit.
There’s a very short time between old tenants moving out and new tenants moving in. If previous tenants have not cleaned properly, we will send a professional cleaning company to make sure the property is ready to move into.
We will tell you when you collect your keys if the cleaners have not had chance to visit before you move in. If that isn’t the case, let us know when you move in.
The same applies, if anything is broken when you move in.
Why are you charging me?
The charges we apply correspond to the amount of money that we pay for cleaners and maintenance people to visit the property. (You’ll find the charges in the moving out check list.)
You are able to dispute any of the charges when you get your deposit statement (see below for more information).
We recommend that you take time-stamped photos when you move in and when you leave. This will help us work out whether a deduction has been added but shouldn't have been.
How do you define 'clean'?
The moving out checklist will tell you. It's a great tool for working out if you've cleaned everywhere. To ensure you don't miss anything, use that as a guide.
You will need to clean areas such as under your bed, wiping skirting boards and under furniture.
You can also speak to your local branch to book a pre-final-inspection-inspection with one of the Purple Frog team. We’ll help you identify where you might get charged. This will give you time to sort out any issues and avoid that charge.
When it's time to clean, we will also give you some free magic sponges, to make any marks on walls vanish.
If you book ahead, we’ll organise for a cleaner to visit your house before you move out.
You’ll have to tell us you want us to arrange this, at least five weeks in advance. You’ll also have to pay for this cleaning. If this sounds like a good idea, speak to one of the team in your local branch about it.
What about my broken chair?
Sometimes thinks break. That’s okay. We know that. But, if you don’t report it, we won’t know about it until we do a final inspection. That means it will be listed as a charge.
Please report maintenance issues when they happen. We don’t want you living with busted stuff and we don’t want to take the cost of repairs out of your deposit.
How do I know charges are fair?
When you leave, we insist on having face-to-face inspections, at the property. We do this inspection on the last day of your tenancy and ask that a tenant be present when we do it.
This means that you have an opportunity to discuss any charges with us. The inspection teams have also been known to break out their dusters to help you with minor cleaning, if they can help you avoid a cleaning charge.
The inspection teams will do things like look under beds, check the oven and fridge, and compare rooms against the inventory. They will take detailed notes and ask you to sign that you were present for the walk round.
Will the check out inspection be the final list of deductions?
No. We will also do more detailed inspections. These sometimes reveal other things that need to be fixed.
You will be sent a deposit statement. This will detail all of the deductions.
Can I use my deposit to pay my last month's rent?
No. Your contract explicitly states that you can't do this.
What information do I need to provide?
You will need to provide proof that:
- your utilities are all paid up to the date your tenancy ended
- there is no council tax owed. (As a student, you don't have to pay council tax, but you still need evidence from the council.)
When you return your proof, you will need to make sure that it covers the whole of your tenancy, right up to the very end. If there are gaps, even for a day, we won't be able to accept it.
We ask for this proof to make sure that future tenants don’t get hassled by debt collectors.
You need to provide all this information BEFORE we will process your deposit.
The two main reasons for delays in getting your deposit sorted are utility bills and council tax. There’s advice on utilities, in the tenant handbook. You can find information about your local council office and dealing with council tax - including contact details - on our council tax advice page.
You can send your meter reading to us, using the form on the website.
If your rent includes bills, you will not need to send us utility bill proofs.
Council tax – Nottingham & Individual tenancies
We will organise Council Tax exemption forms for all of our Nottingham tenants. We will also get the exemption forms for tenants in Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff, who are on individual tenancies (only you signed the contract).
How long do I have to wait for my deposit to be returned?
We aim to return deposits to tenants as soon as possible, after the end of their tenancies.
We aim to return your Deposit Statement to you within 28 days of the end of your tenancy.
Delays in getting the information we need will mean that it might take longer than this to send the statement.
You will still need to provide us with the information we ask you to provide before we will release your deposit.
Doesn't the law say it's 10 days for you to return the deposit?
Yes and no. The 10-day deadline is after we agree with you the amount of deposit that should be returned.
This means, once you have received your deposit statement and have agreed that, yes, this is the right amount, we have 10 days in which to return the money to you.
Before this time, we have a reasonable amount of time to prepare the statement. This is our deadline and depends on you also making sure you have completed your responsibilities, as laid out in the contract, too.
There's more information on the Government information page about deposit returns (see the section At the End of Your Tenancy): https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection.
It's gone past 28 days! What's the hold up?
There are lots of reasons why statements can be delayed. The most common are that we've not received information. If you've not heard from us, please check that:
- You've sent in your bills proofs
- You've sent your £0 Council Tax bill
- All the bills proofs cover the last day of your tenancy
- There isn't any rent arrears or overdue payments
What is my deposit statement?
Your deposit statement will include a final list of deduction that we will need to take from the final sum to cover things like cleaning.
The statement will detail shared deductions – for communal areas – as well as individual deductions for the areas of the house only you were responsible for.
We will send the statement to the lead tenant.
If you are happy with the statement, you can ask for your deposit to be released.
Once you get your statement, there may be charges that you don't agree with. if this is the case, you are welcome to dispute them. There's information on how to do this, below.
Why can't you send my deposit statement as soon as I've left the property?
If only it was that easy! In order to create your statement, we need to do the following things:
- Conduct a check-out inspection
- Conduct an empty house inspection
- Compare this with the inventory from the start of your tenancy
- Arrange for invoices to be sent from contractors, as some costs can't be agreed without these
- Add or remove any costs that didn't appear on your check out inspection
As you can imagine, that's a fair bit of admin. We have a process set up to make sure we can do this as quickly as possible.
Once we have done all of this, we can send your final statement. Once you've had this it is extremely unlikely that we will add additional deductions.
Can I dispute a deposit deduction?
When we return deposits to tenants, we will provide you with a detailed statement of any charges and invite you to respond, if you think anything is incorrect.
Sometimes things are missed in the check-out inspection, so sometimes additional charges need to be added. The statement will give you details of these, so you can see we’re not trying to add a ‘deposit tax’ to you. Again, our charges only reflect the cost of any maintenance or cleaning that we need to apply to the property.
If you think we’re wrong and that these charges are not fair, you are welcome to dispute them.
There is more information about disputing deductions on our website. This includes a section where you can register your dispute. Please only do this once you've received your statement, as without that document you won't know what your final charges are.
Once you have sent us your dispute, we aim to reply to you by five working days.
If we are still unable to reach an agreement over a dispute, then it will be sent to the independent arbitration service from the relevant Deposit Protection Scheme.
You can find more information about deposit disputes and your rights, here.
Quick tip: if you are disputing any charges, we ask you to provide any evidence that you think might be useful. The best way to ensure you have this is to take plenty of time-stamped photos of your property when you arrive. Then take more when you leave. Make sure you include things like marks on walls or damage that is there when you move in.
We look after hundreds of properties and might not be familiar with all the details of your property. Having this evidence will be really helpful to make sure we can remove any deductions that we've added in error.
Who's holding my deposit money?
Your deposit is held by a deposit protection scheme. We use two: the Deposit Protection Service and My Deposits. That means that your deposit money is kept safe and can only be accessed by you, once your deposit has been released. This is a legal requirement.
How can I contact your deposits team?
The best way is by email: Deposits@purplefrogproperty.com.
Please be aware that, at busy times, the normal response times might be five working days, or higher. That means we will not be able to respond on the same day that you contact us.
The deposits team is based in our head office. Teams at individual branches might not be able to give you information about your specific deposit.
Please note that we will only accept disputes using the process described on the disputes page.
Hopefully this will help explain the deposit process and help you keep on top of everything you need to do and everything that Purple Frog will do to help you make sure you can keep your deposit.
If you need advice, you can speak to our deposits team at firstname.lastname@example.org. They're here to help you!
You don’t have to remember all of this either, we'll send reminders throughout the year, in good time for you to prepare. Look out for them: we do this by email and text.