From rip-off fees before you’ve even moved in to dodgy landlords ignoring your calls to fix the kitchen sink, sadly many renters in Britain today have to put up with a lot. But perhaps worst of all is losing a deposit, as agents drag their heels returning it and come up with a never-ending list of deductions.

Far from being genuine protection against damage to a property by tenants, deposits have ended up being a cash cow for landlords and agents to squeeze ever more money out of renters as their lease ends.

A survey in August this year by interiors company Hillary found around a third of renters lose their deposit every year. And that is despite the numerous deposit protection schemes introduced by the government.

With the average deposit in England and Wales standing at just under £1000, rising to around £1,750 in London, that’s a lot of money being lost each year. By closely checking their tenancy agreement and inventory, renters might be able to bat away the more outrageous claims. Yet to settle a dispute can take weeks, even months, which is time (and money) that most people don’t have. So it’s often easier to take a reduced sum, or give in and walk away with nothing.

Some agents and landlords are now looking to pioneer deposit-free renting, where you take out an insurance policy or put down a warranty instead of a deposit. However there are big question marks over how far this will be rolled out, or what would happen in the case of a dispute with the landlord.

Alternatively, you could rent with a landlord that promises to give back part of your deposit each year you stay. At Essential Living, we hold 4 week’s rent as a damages deposit but return a week’s worth every year you renew your tenancy with us.

Why? Firstly, we trust our customers, even more so after we’ve gotten to know them a bit better. Secondly, as a long-term investor, we have a commercial incentive to keep residents as long as possible. Thirdly, we want to change renting for the better, and that means leading by example.

Our simple, easy-to-read contracts (just six pages long) also mean you are clear on your rights and responsibilities as a resident – as are we as the landlord – meaning when your time with us comes to end, the deposit return process is all the easier.


Living With Us - Essential Living

Tom Roberts


As an expert in the build-to-rent industry, Tom shares all the latest news, advice and insight on real estate, renting and what Essential Living has to offer.