When do I get my deposit back?
You should get your deposit back at the end of the tenancy.
Before you leave the accommodation, arrange a viewing with your landlord or letting agent. Make sure you have completed all the clean up and repair jobs before they visit (see Moving Out page)
When they visit they should check the contents of the accommodation against the inventory. If there is no damage and your rent is up to date you are entitled to your full deposit back. However, before they give you your deposit, they may wish to see proof that you have paid all your bills, so make sure you show them this before you leave.
When can my landlord keep my deposit?
Your landlord can make responsible deductions from the deposit if:
- The property has been damaged.
- The rent hasn’t been paid.
- Items are missing.
- The property needs to be cleaned.
- You left before the end of your tenancy.
Even if your landlord has a valid reason/s for keeping some of your deposit, you should get the remainder back. For instance they cannot usually deduct money:
- For advertising or agency fees to re-let the property - they can only do this if you left your tenancy early.
- If you had a noisy party in property. This is illegal.
Landlords can only take money for any financial loss they have suffered.
How much money can my landlord take?
Your landlord can only keep the value of repairing or replacing any damaged item 'like for like'-NOT the cost of the item brand new. Tenancy agreements often state that carpets and curtains must be cleaned to a certain standard before the tenant moves out. This does not mean that they have to be as clean, or cleaner than when you moved in, so check this in your original agreement before giving away any money.
You are only required to put right any damage or clean any items soiled above normal wear and tear. Keep records and receipts for any work you do, or pay for, before you leave. These may be useful to prove that work has been done.
What is normal wear and tear?
Your landlord cannot keep your deposit for general wear and tear to the condition of the property. For example, if the carpet becomes worn, it’s probably wear and tear, but if you burn a hole in it, it will be considered damaged (and you will be liable for the repair).
The amount of wear and tear depends on:
- The condition of the accommodation when you moved in.
- The length of time you lived there.
If you think you may have problems take photographs of the damage or get a witness as early as possible in your tenancy.
Can my landlord keep my deposit for last month’s rent?
Your landlord is entitled to deduct any unpaid rent from your deposit. If you owe more than the value of your deposit your landlord has the right to take court action to get the extra money back.
Should I withhold your last month’s rent?
You may decide to withhold the last month’s rent in case the landlord refuses to return the deposit. However, remember you are legally liable to pay rent and by missing a month’s rent you are in breach of your tenancy agreement, so your landlord could take you to court to recover the rent you owe.
If you still intend to withhold the last month’s rent, make sure your landlord can’t claim any extra money from your deposit by making sure you have:
- Repaired any damage that occurred.
- Got records to show the condition of the property when you leave.
- Kept receipts for anything you paid for, such as cleaning.
- Kept the money withheld in a separate bank account in case your landlord claims it back.