Q. I am a tenant that has just vacated a property that I have been renting for the last year. I have kept everything in pristine condition and am really shocked that despite my check out report only reporting minor things like a missing light bulb and a couple of broken glasses, the Landlord is demanding that I pay a 50% contribution to the repainting of the entire apartment, and is refusing to return my deposit unless I agree the deduction. What can I do?

A. Considering you have only been in the apartment for 12 months and your checkout report is squeaky clean, this sounds rather unreasonable. The Landlord must be prepared to accept general wear and tear within the property and clearly there has been no mention of damage to the walls or ceilings on the report so the Inventory Clerk considers this fair wear and tear.

Unfortunately some Landlords make up their own rules as they go along and if they can convince tenants that they should pay compensation for damage that is simply not their responsibility they will. Your deposit should be held in one of the government’s three approved schemes namely the Deposit Protection Service (DPS), MyDeposits or the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).

Tenancy deposit protection (TDP) schemes guarantee that tenants will get their deposits back at the end of the tenancy, if they meet the terms of the tenancy agreement and do not damage the property. Landlords must protect their tenants’ deposits using a TDP scheme if they have let the property using an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) which started on or after 6 April 2007.

As you have the back up of a professional Inventory Clerks report the landlord really has no grounds for dispute. Agree to cover the cost of the other small issues and stand your ground on the painting issue, if he still seems adamant then turn it over to the TDS.  The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) was developed to ensure that the deposits are protected and that disputes about their return are resolved swiftly, inexpensively and impartially.

Deposits will be protected during the tenancy. Where there is no dispute at the end of the tenancy, deposits will be returned promptly. Where there is a dispute about the return of the deposit it will be dealt with fairly by the Independent Case Examiner (ICE). The ICE will make his decision quickly, and the deposit will be paid out without unnecessary delay.