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Halloween horrors... and how to avoid them

Halloween is a time of year for trickery, costumes and big bags of sweeties. But most of all it's a spectacle of all things scary.

A Halloween party sounds like a fun idea, but be wary that there are numerous issues which could come back to haunt you when it's time to leave the property. So gather round all, as we share the horror stories of how a Halloween party could lead to a devilish dispute.

During your party, in a crowded room, spillage of drinks is not unlikely. This can cause stains to carpets and furniture, and if this is left undealt with, your landlord or agent can claim for the cost of cleaning. If the stain is particularly bad and can't be cleaned, they could even claim deductions from your deposit for damage to the carpet or any furniture that was provided by them, including sofas and chairs. Your landlord or agent will have taken an inventory checklist at the start of your tenancy, and if any of the items on the list are found to be broken or missing by the end of the tenancy, they can claim for replacement. If the property has wooden or laminate flooring rather than carpets, certain footwear could cause indentations or scratches. To avoid this consider putting in place a footwear policy for your guests.

If your Halloween party extends to the garden, the same rules regarding damage to property apply. Think knocked over flower pots that were provided at the start of the tenancy, or fence posts which have broken due to guests leaning on them. Does your tenancy agreement allow smoking inside? If not, guests should be asked to smoke outside rather than inside the property, where cigarettes could cause burn damage to furniture or carpets. Be careful with lit candles too, or even consider electronic lighting as an alternative.

Decorations are a Halloween staple, and no party is complete without them. Think fake cobwebs, jack o' lanterns and spooky bunting. Whilst these are essentials for setting the right mood, they can also be problematic later down the line when it's time to claim back your deposit. Be careful not to overdo it with your decorating due to the potential damage it could cause to property - especially the walls, where blue tack, sticky tape and excessive holes from pins and nails could all be possible reasons for dispute. When putting up your decorations you should do your best to prevent damage to the property, even if it means considering alternatives to the cardboard skeleton you really wanted on your wall.

Remember that ultimately you are inviting guests on to the property and are responsible for any and all of their actions in relation to the property. Outlined above are mishaps that could affect your deposit, but keep in mind there may be other issues beyond deposit disputes, such as noise complaints and anti-social behaviour which could be disruptive for your neighbours. If the party begins to get rowdy it is up to you to make sure guests keep it down. 

However you celebrate this Halloween, have a great time and keep the tips above in mind to avoid having any Halloween horrors this year.

Tenancy deposit scheme Scotland - SafeDeposits Scotland
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