Tenant Information

  • YOUR DEPOSIT

    Deposit Protection

    What is Deposit Protection
    All new tenancy deposits must be protected in a government-authorised scheme to ensure tenants’ deposits are protected so that:

    • Tenants get all or part of their deposit back, when they are entitled to it
    • Any disputes between tenants and landlords or agents will be easier to resolve
    • Tenants are encouraged to look after the property they are renting
  • MOVING IN

    At the beginning of a new tenancy agreement, the tenant pays the deposit to the landlord or agent, who must ensure it is protected. (See full Tenant Pack for the different types of insurance-based schemes)

    Within 14 days of taking the deposit, the landlord or agent must provide the tenant with details of how the deposit is being protected including:

    • The contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme selected
    • The landlord’s or agent’s contact details
    • How to apply for the release of the deposit
    • Information explaining the purpose of the deposit
    • What to do if there is a dispute about the deposit

    Tenants also have a responsibility to return the property in the same condition they took it on (see below).

    To reduce the likelihood of disputes it is recommended that the following actions are taken before signing the tenancy agreement:

    • Agree a detailed list of contents (furniture and fittings)
    • Record the condition of the property and its content
    • Agree expectations of cleaning and wear and tear and the end of the tenancy
    • Understand the circumstances in which the landlord or agent could have a claim on the deposit
  • MOVING OUT

    At the end of the tenancy, the condition and contents of the property should be checked against the tenancy agreement. The landlord or agent should agree with the tenant how much of the deposit will be returned. The agreed amount should be received by the tenant within 10 days.

  • RESOLVING DISPUTES

    If no agreement can be reached about how much of the deposit should be returned, there will be a free service, offered by the scheme protecting the deposit, to help resolve disputes. The disputed part of the deposit will be held by the scheme until the dispute is resolved.

    For further information, download Helmores’ Tenant Information Pack.

    Ensuring the return of your deposit

    Helmores has compiled a comprehensive set of notes (available in Helmores’ Tenant Pack {link to pdf download} and in the inventory you receive when you sign your tenancy agreement) to assist you when handing your property back to the landlord or agent at the end of your tenancy. Make sure you are fully versed in these expectations so as to avoid potential conflict and even the loss of part or all of your deposit.

    At the 3-month inspection, the general cleanliness and standard of care will be considered and you will be advised of any concerns. This will hopefully help you avoid any problems at the end of your tenancy.

    If you have any concerns at all, it is in both your and our interests for you to let us know, we are happy to give you advice or if necessary call in to have a look at anything that is worrying you.

    At the end of your tenancy Helmores is also happy to conduct a pre-check out visit to your property to advise you on anything extra we think you may need to do to ensure the safe return of your deposit.

  • CHECK-OUT CLEANING SERVICE

    Knowing how busy it is around the time of moving, Helmores offers a Check-Out Cleaning Service – charged at £15 an hour and organised by us to ensure the house meets the expected standard (as it was at the start of the tenancy).

    If you choose not to use this service, however, and the house is not to the expected standard of cleanliness (excluding normal wear and tear) it will be necessary to undertake the cleaning anyway and charge it from the deposit.*

    *When you sign the inventory this is also recorded at the end and in signing the inventory you will be accepting these terms.

  • CONDENSATION AND DAMP

    Condensation

    What is condensation?
    Over 90% of domestic dwellings in the UK are affected by condensation.

    Condensation is black spot mould and mildew; this is not damp.

    Condensation and the associated problems caused can be detrimental to the health of the occupants, the building and its contents. There is always water vapour in the air.

    The amount of it that can be carried in the air depends upon the room temperature. As temperatures fall, often at night, the air will not support the moisture and it is deposited on the cold surfaces such as windows and exterior walls.

    Modern lifestyles have increased problems caused by condensation; we use showers, tumble driers and washing machines more. Fewer houses have large open fires, which can suck up the moist air, and double glazing prevents water vapour from escaping.

    Some sources of moisture are:

    • Cooking
    • Bathing
    • Drying clothes
    • Overcrowding
    • Portable Gas heaters
    • Lack of ventilation & Air Circulation

    Reduce and control condensation levels by:

    • Employ adequate background heating and avoid temperature peaks and troughs
    • Use extractors in bathrooms and kitchens where installed
    • Tumble dryers for drying clothes should have an external exhaust pipe
    • Open windows on fine days and on a regular basis to encourage air flow
    • If you have one, use a portable dehumidifier for bedrooms and living areas (remember when using a dehumidifier, to close all windows and doors – raise the ambient temperature in the space to be dried)

    Advantages of reducing condensation levels:

    • No complaints of damp accommodation
    • Low moisture levels of internal timber (no wet or dry rot)
    • No musty smells or discolouration by mildew and mould
    • Longer life for furniture, furnishings and fabrics

    For Helmores full guide to damp, download our Tenant Pack.

    Damp

    Condensation occurs in cold weather, even when the weather is dry. It doesn’t always leave a ‘tidemark’ round its edges on walls. If there is a ‘tidemark’, this dampness might have another cause, such as water leaking into your home from a plumbing fault, loose roof tiles or rising damp.

    Problems caused by excessive condensation

    • Mould growth
    • On walls and furniture
    • Mildew on clothes and other fabrics
    • The rotting of wooden window frames.
    • Also, damp humid conditions provide an environment in which house dust mites can easily multiply.

    First steps against condensation

    You will need to take proper steps to deal with condensation, but meanwhile there are some simple things you should do straight away.

    • Dry your windows and windowsills every morning, as well as surfaces in the kitchen or bathroom that have become wet.
    • Wring out the cloth rather than drying on the radiator.

    First steps against mould growth

    • First treat the mould already in your home, then deal with the basic problems of condensation to stop mould reappearing.
    • To kill and remove mould, wipe down or spray walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash that carries a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ‘approval number’, and ensure that you follow the instructions for its safe use.
    • Dry-clean mildewed clothes, and shampoo carpets.
    • Do not try to remove mould by using a brush or vacuum cleaner.

    For Helmores full guide to damp, download our Tenant Pack.

    Oil boiler heating information

    There are many reasons to not let your oil tank get too low besides running out on the coldest night of the year!

    • The cost of a service call due to the oil running too low or out would not be covered by the landlord, but would be the responsibility of the tenant.
    • Your boiler is likely to stop running if you let the oil level get down to about 4 inches.
    • If the tank is older, there is a good chance that impurities or sediment have settled out in the bottom. If water has leaked into the tank, it will lie on top of the oil and make the dipstick indicate a deeper fuel level than is actually there.
    • When you get down to the lower levels, there is a greater chance of sucking water and impurities into the feed line. This can clog the nozzle and prevent the burner from operating properly, making a service call very likely. This can be avoided by keeping the minimum fuel level above that 4 inch point.

    Word of warning: Oil level gauges on the side of the tanks are not always a reliable method of checking the oil level as due to getting wet or cold inside the unit, they can give a false reading.

    Why not consider getting a service oil contract, where your provider will make regular visits to top up the oil in the tank.

    For a full guide to septic tank maintenance, please see Helmores’ Tenant Pack.

    Septic Tank information

    Your septic system needs caring for and you should be careful to avoid flushing certain chemicals and items into your septic system. By doing so, you can save your system from unnecessary pump outs.

    While many of these items may seem like common sense, there are some items and chemicals that you shouldn’t flush into your septic system that may surprise you. Here we’ll supply a small list of items and chemicals you should NOT flush into your septic system.

    Food scraps and other kitchen items

    Whatever goes down your drain also goes into your septic tank system – grease and other cooking oils will settle into your septic tank, causing layers to build up that will eventually need to be pumped out. Grease also clogs the septic tank soak away and effectively ‘waterproofs’ it, making it impossible for soil to absorb liquids. If that happens a new soak away would be needed.

    Household cleaners

    Typical cleaners that contain bleach, drain/ toilet cleaner chemicals and disinfectants are okay to flush in moderation, but can harm your septic system if used too much, as can overuse of antibacterial hand washers and cleaners.

    Other hazardous cleaners and chemicals

    Do not flush chemical products such as paint thinners, auto oil, anti-freeze, petrol/diesel and pesticides into your septic tank system include. These chemicals can harm the natural bacteria in the septic tank system that helps it perform properly.

    These few precautions can keep your septic system in excellent working order.

    If you are concerned about any element of your septic system, please contact Helmores – we are here to help.