Will I get my deposit back if my housemates cause damage?

I’m living in a house share, but it’s proving to be a bit of a pain as the other tenants are showing no respect for the flat and I’m worried that I won’t get my deposit back as the house is beginning to look a little tired.  

How does it work with getting a deposit back when it is a flat share and a few people let the side down? 

Living with people in a rental property can result in a dispute about the deposit

Living with people in a rental property can result in a dispute about the deposit

Living with people in a rental property can result in a dispute about the deposit

MailOnline Property expert Myra Butterworth said: Sharing a house can be a fun experience, but you all need to be singing from the same hymn sheet to make it work.

If there is a difference of opinion about the responsibilities of tenants in the house, it can be a challenging time – and you could potentially end up losing out financially if you fail to adhere to them. 

As always, the contract is king with a assured shorthold tenancy agreement as it outlines the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. You can check this legal document to help find out where you stand.

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: Shared accommodation is becoming more popular, particularly in larger cities where the cost of living is higher. 

Living with people who have different lifestyles can take some getting used to, and sometimes it can result in a deposit dispute if one of the tenant treats the property badly.

If you’ve respected the property during the tenancy and you’re concerned about whether you will get the full deposit back, you need to understand how the deposit was paid, and which deposit scheme it was with. 

A house share could involve lots of people, on different tenancies, with separate deposits, or it could comprise of all tenants on one agreement and one joined deposit – so it’s important to understand how your one was paid before moving forward.

Most house shares are under one tenancy agreement, meaning a joint deposit

Most house shares are under one tenancy agreement, meaning a joint deposit

Most house shares are under one tenancy agreement, meaning a joint deposit

It’s rare, but if you and your housemates have all signed different tenancy agreements, you are each only responsible for your own room and the condition you leave it in. 

However, most house shares are formed under one tenancy agreement, which means there’s one joint deposit, so each housemate will be jointly and severally liable (meaning they are all fully responsible equally for the liability) for all damage across the property.

The Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) schemes, where all deposits must be protected by law, offer a free and impartial adjudication service if tenants disagree with their landlord or agent over how much of the deposit they are to get back at the end of their tenancy. 

However, they will not adjudicate if the disagreement is over the apportionment of the deposit between the tenants themselves. If tenants cannot settle who gets what themselves, they will need to take each other to court. This is the worst case scenario though, as in the vast majority of cases, tenants reach an agreement together.

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