How Do I Get My Deposit Back From My Landlord?

Image of a landlord and tenanct signing a contract
Renters' Rights  >  How Do I Get My Deposit Back From My Landlord?
Ben Yarrow
21 February 2024
10 May 2023

Let's face it - moving home can be a hassle. Packing, cleaning, dealing with utilities – it's a lot to handle. And in the midst of all this, you're probably thinking about your rental deposit. Will you get it back? If so, how much?

Fear not, dear tenant. We've got your back. We've put together the top 10 tips for ensuring you reclaim your deposit from your landlord, with special attention to the rules and regulations in the UK. So grab a cuppa, and let's dive in.

1. How Do Tenancy Deposit Schemes Work?

Understand the Tenancy Deposit Schemes: First things first. In the UK, your landlord or letting agent is legally obliged to protect your deposit in a government-approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 30 days of receiving it. The schemes ensure you get your deposit back if you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement, don't damage the property, and pay your rent and bills. Make sure you get written confirmation of where your deposit is protected.

Some useful resources:

How to check if my deposit was protected?

What to do  if my deposit wasn’t protected?

2. What's In A Tenancy Agreement?

Read Your Tenancy Agreement: This is your rental bible. It outlines your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of your landlord. Understanding this document will help you know what is expected of you before you move out.

You’ll find lots of useful information about tenancy agreements entitled 'Private renting for tenants: tenancy agreements' at the website.

Remember: you can rate your landlord on Marks Out Of Tenancy.

3. Keep Good Records

Document Everything: This is crucial. When you first move in, take pictures of the property, especially any existing damage. This will provide a clear comparison for when you move out. Keep a record of all communications with your landlord too.

It’s important to understand that normal wear and tear is not something your landlord can penalise you for.
Read more about acceptable wear and tear in this useful piece.


4. How Important Is Maintenance?

Regular Maintenance: Treat the property like it's your own. Regularly cleaning and maintaining the property can prevent damage and unreasonable wear and tear that could eat into your deposit.


5. Communicate With Your Landlord

Prompt Reporting: If something breaks or needs repairing, report it to your landlord immediately. Don't try to fix things yourself as this could potentially cause more damage. Read more about how to understand renters responsibilities and your landlords responsibilities.


6. Keep It Clean

End of Tenancy Cleaning: This is usually the biggest bone of contention between tenants and landlords. Some tenancy agreements stipulate professional cleaning at the end of the lease. Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, make sure you leave the property as clean as you found it

Have a look at this really useful end of tenancy cleaning tips checklist.


7. Green Fingers

Garden Upkeep: If your rental property has a garden that you're responsible for, ensure it's in the same state as when you moved in. Mow the lawn, trim the hedges, and sweep up those leaves.

Remember, as a tenant, you have the legal right to live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair.


8. How Important Is Tidying Up At The End Of Your Tenancy?

Return Everything to Its Original Place: If the property was furnished when you moved in, ensure everything is in its original place when you leave. This includes furniture, appliances, curtains, and decorative items.  This is where documenting the condition when you moved in can help you.

Remember, you have the legal right to have your full deposit returned to you, minus any fair deductions.


9. Time To Show Off Your Hard Work

Schedule a Walk-through: Before you hand over the keys, schedule a final walk-through with your landlord or agent. This gives you the opportunity to address any potential deductions in person and avoid any unexpected surprises.
Walk-throughs with your landlord would need to be arranged in advance. Here’s a helpful guide to property inspections from the NRLA.


10. If It All Goes South

Dispute Resolution: If you and your landlord disagree about any deductions, you can use the dispute resolution service offered by the TDS. It's free and the decision made by the adjudicator is final.

Another Dispute Resolution service is offered by the Housing Ombudsman, who discuss the principles behind dispute resolution in this article.


So, that's it - our top 10 tips for getting your deposit back from your landlord. Remember, preparation and communication are key. Understanding your responsibilities and fulfilling them to the best of your ability will make the moving out process smoother and increase the chances of you getting your full deposit back. And remember, you can rate your landlord on Marks Out Of Tenancy. Happy renting!