When you rent a property, you will usually have to pay a security deposit. Whilst there is no legal guideline as to how much of a deposit you may be asked for it is normally the equivalent of one month’s rent. Normally a deposit is held by the landlord as security to cover any rent arrears, bills owing or damage beyond normal wear and tear at the end of the tenancy.
You should not hand over a deposit to a prospective landlord or agent until you are certain that you are happy with the condition of the property, the terms and conditions of the letting and are willing to rent it. You should always pay the deposit directly to the landlord/agent and not to another tenant.
Once your tenancy has been created, your landlord must provide you with an inventory at the beginning of the tenancy and Threshold advises you make a note of any existing damage or wear and tear. Take photos if possible.