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How to Get your Deposit Back

19 May 2017 Amy McKechnie Read time: 5 min
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Amy McKechnie

Is your end of tenancy near? Here's how to get your deposit back!

Is it time for you to move out of your rental property?

In this article you will find a set of useful tips on how to get your deposit back 100% guaranteed.
Make sure to prepare your property for inspection, or else your rental deposit could could end up as the subject of landlord-tenant disputes, claims and deductions.

Start with Your rental “B̶i̶b̶l̶e̶” / Tenancy Agreement.

The Bible can help in many cases but unfortunately not with your deposit refund. When it comes to ending a tenancy, your tenancy agreement is the most important document you should take under full consideration. It defines chores and responsibilities for both landlords and renters.

Your tenancy agreement is the written proof of all terms and conditions which you and your landlord have undersigned to follow. It should point out how and when the lease ends and what are the exact circumstances for deposit deductions to occur.

Tenants might be held responsible for:

  • Professional post-tenancy cleaning;
  • Taking care of shared property areas and inventory;
  • Basic gardening, maintenance and repairs;
  • Repainting property interior to its initial condition,
    (if you were previously allowed to renovate);
  • Rearranging inventory back to its original position - furnishing, carpets and etc.

No matter how well tenants and landlords go along, the tenancy agreement is the single document that states what, when and how.

How inventory reports affect your tenancy deposit?

An independent property inspection can drastically affect the amount of deposit deductions tenants have to comply with. Your check in and check out reports are compared and the result is what matters the most. The difference between the initial and final property condition will either set or disclaim the grounds for deposit deductions.

Prior to your last 4 to 7 weeks as a renter, you are highly advised to start the inspection of current property condition. In order to cut all risks - compare everything to your move in report. As a tenant you’re bound to leave your rental premises (regardless if flat, house or etc) as tidy as possible, to the way they were prior to you moving in. Of course, “some” fair wear and tear may apply.

“Wear and tear is damage that naturally and inevitably occurs as a result of normal wear or aging. It is used in a legal context for such areas as warranty contracts from manufacturers, which usually stipulate that damage from wear and tear will not be covered.” @Wikipedia

Having some minor furnishing dents here and there might pass as natural signs of usage, but the best way is to always play it on the safe side. This means tenants should carry a thorough clean up and if necessary - minor repairs. All should happen prior to the final landlord check out inspection.

Tenants should understand, that it is in a landlord’s best interest to get his/her property cleaned via professional tenancy cleaners, which.. is often costly and at renter’s expense.

A clever tip to deal with furniture dents:

Apply almond directly to furnishing dents. This way your will alter colouring to match its surroundings. If you do not have almond at hand, you could use coffee, black tea, colouring pens and even chocolate products. The one thing you should look after is to keep surrounding areas out of harm.
Property maintenance and repairs could be delegated to tenants. Regardless if that is the case or not, the best solution is to take proper precautions prior to your end of tenancy inspection.


  • Replace broken or flickering light bulbs;
  • Fix loose power sockets or/and switches;
  • Repair wall holes via wall putty;
  • Repaint wall marks wherever present;
  • Wipe furnishing till you achieve a welcoming glaze;
  • Clean bathroom utensils - faucets, shower heads, glass and etc.
  • Cleanup bathroom dirt, mildew and marks - visible the most and tolerable the least;
  • Degrease and scrub your hob, oven and hot plates.

Simple repairs will take an experienced handyman no more than 15 to 30 minutes per job. The return in value, in terms of looks and influence for your check out report, is without the shadow of doubt - worth it. If you have handled tenancy cleaning and repairs well, every 9 out of 10 landlords will appreciate the effort and thus make deposit deductions far less probable.

Invite your landlord to an unofficial inspection, prior to your move out report.

Property inventory reports are conducted at the end of tenancy and they are final. Don’t wait for issues to become official, but rather take precautions in advance. If housing condition does not meet what is stated in your check in report - deductions will surely occur.

“Ask and you shall be given.”

Kindly invite your landlord to perform an unofficial visit at least a month prior to you leaving the property. This is the best way to find out if your landlord would bring up tenancy cleaning and repairs as an issue.

Avoid the risk of false guesses. Don’t rely on chance, because there are one too many other end of tenancy chores you’ll have to tackle. Invite your landlord politely and negotiate politely.

Why is tenancy cleaning that important?

Beside property maintenance and repairs, cleaning is the other crucial factor that affect deposit deductions.

Poor housing hygiene seems to be the #1 factor causing tenant-landlord disputes throughout London. According to The Tenants Voice 50% of all disputes seem to have tenancy cleaning issues involved.

Relocate books, photos and other decorations in order to wipe and polish your rental property top to bottom. Make sure you remove all signs of dirt from worktops, shelving, appliance surfaces, door tops, rails and etc. Don’t risk it, but rather start your cleanup at least 2 weeks prior to ending your tenancy or even better - hire professional end of tenancy cleaners to help you out.

* Note: Some landlords seem to “favour” certain end of tenancy cleaning companies, that “happen” to come with rates up to 30% above the average prices for post tenancy cleaning in London.

Truth is, landlords will favour their interests first. Regardless of how good your tenant-landlord relation is - don’t rely on trust, but rather conduct your own research for the best end of tenancy cleaning service for you.

Triple-check if your deposit is secured.

Landlords have to secure deposits with any of the 3 government approved schemes within 30 days after tenants move in. This is the law!

Being an independent third-party entity, the chosen scheme ensures your deposit till it is time to end your tenancy. Government-authorised schemes have the sole purpose of ensuring a fair stand for both landlords and tenants.

This way landlords will have hard time taking advantage of tenants in terms of unfair deductions. In case the tenancy deposit is not secured within the official time-frame, tenants are eligible to plead for compensation up to 3 times the original deposit.

On average, the sum of any security deposit is often in amount tenants simply can’t neglect. Make sure yours is secured with one of the approved schemes:

In case your housing address is not present in either of the 3 - this can only mean one thing: Your deposit is not secured! Immediately contact your landlord and demand for your 100% refund.

How to act in case of a dispute?

As most things in life, the right way to solve disputes is via common sense and negotiation. It is the easiest and stress-free solution to ensure your full deposit refund.

In case common sense isn’t common at all - contact your deposit protection scheme and file a claim. You will be appointed with an independent adjudicator, whose responsibility is to assist both sides in settling their differences.

Never go to “war” without substantial proof to back up your claim!

You can use anything from a copy of your tenancy agreement to check in and/or check out reports, DIY videos, physical letters, emails, along with any other form of digital communication you’ve had with your landlord.

On the way to justice, both sides will have the chance to prove if right or wrong.

This procedure is part of deposit protection schemes services. The downside here: it could take anywhere between 4 and 8 weeks to close a dispute, which means tenants should not rely on their tenancy deposit in terms of funds.

In case your deposit is not appropriately protected, you have to approach a solicitor and file your claim in county court.
Expert advice: Dmitri Kara - tenancy expert at Fantastic Cleaners.

“Rental property laws are often complex and hard to understand. Rogue landlords and letting agents often prey on unsuspecting tenants. To be aware of your rights and how to stand your grounds is mandatory know-how. The goal here is to make renting better for everybody by providing expert tips for a fair and stress-free renting.”

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