This article has been written in response to a tenant’s query: “I’m moving in with new friends, if they damage their room – will I have to pay?”

The answer to this question will depend on whether you will be signing a joint assured shorthold tenancy agreement for the property as a whole, or if each of the tenants will be signing separate assured shorthold tenancy agreements on a room by room basis.  You should contact your agent/landlord to establish which of these options will be relevant to your tenancy.

In the instance of a joint tenancy agreement, tenants contribute to one deposit for the tenancy.  As this deposit will be for the tenancy as a whole, all parties will be equally liable for any rental arrears or damage to the property, even if the damage has only taken place in one person’s room, or one person has not paid their rent.  By entering into a joint assured shorthold tenancy agreement, you are agreeing to be jointly and severally responsible.

If the property is to be rented on a room by room basis and you are signing individual tenancy agreements for each room, you will be paying your own deposit for this room.  This means that you will only be responsible for paying your own rent and maintaining your own personal space which will be outlined in your tenancy agreement.  It is worth noting that you should carefully read your tenancy agreement to ensure you are aware of the areas you are responsible for and what your obligations are in relation to this tenancy.

“Is there any information available to me to ensure I do all I can to have my deposit returned to me in full?”

We would always advise thoroughly reading your tenancy agreement to ensure you are fully aware of your responsibilities as a tenant.  The tenancy agreement should outline information relating to your deposit and what it can be used for in terms of deductions.  You should be given the opportunity to seek legal advice, if you are unsure of any of the terms in the tenancy agreement.

You should always ensure that you have a record of the contents and condition of the contents and the property, prior to you moving in.  This record is normally known as an inventory or a check-in and will enable you to hold a record of the condition of the property before you moved in and also enable you to ensure that you leave the property in the same condition when you leave (allowing, of course, for any general wear and tear).

If you use this as a guide when you are preparing to hand your property back to the landlord/agent, it should give you the opportunity to make good/repair/replace any items that may have been affected by your tenancy.  You should also ensure that your rent is fully up to date in line with your tenancy agreement.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a government approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; we offer both insured and custodial protection. We also provide fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

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