Tenancy deposits: deductions your landlord can make

Find out when your landlord can deduct money from your rent deposit and what to do if you disagree.

Deductions your landlord can make

If you don't look after the property you rent or don't pay the rent, your landlord can keep money back from your deposit as compensation.

Your landlord must tell you what they're deducting money for and how much for each item.

They can only deduct money to cover:

  • damage to the property
  • missing items
  • cleaning costs
  • any unpaid rent

Your landlord must return what's left of your deposit after the deductions.

Your tenancy agreement should include details of what your deposit covers.

Damage to property

You should return the property to your landlord in the same state it was when you first moved in, but allowing for wear and tear.

Your landlord can't deduct money from your deposit for normal wear and tear, but they can for damage.

Examples of wear and tear are:

  • worn carpets
  • scrapes and scuffs on the walls
  • faded curtains

Examples of damage are:

  • a burn hole or nail varnish spill on a carpet
  • a hole punched into a wall
  • torn or missing curtains

Your inventory should state the condition of the walls, paintwork and carpets when you move in.

If your landlord does need to replace what you've damaged, they should do so on a like-for-like basis. For example if you damage a cheap, old mattress, you shouldn't have to pay for a top-of-the range brand new one.

Find out more about damage to your private rented home.

Cleaning costs

You should leave the property clean and tidy when you leave. But you shouldn't have to pay to make it cleaner than it was when you first moved in.

Check your tenancy agreement. It may say that you must clean the carpets and curtains to a professional standard before you move out.

Keep receipts for any cleaning that you do or pay for and ask for your landlord's receipts if they pay for cleaning.

Unpaid rent

Your landlord can deduct any unpaid rent from your deposit.

If you owe more than the deposit, your landlord could take you to court to get the rest of the money back.

Deductions your landlord can't make

Your landlord can't make deductions from your deposit to cover:

  • unpaid bills for gas, electricity or water (unless they're part of your rent payments) – it's the responsibility of the utility companies to get payment for these if your name is on the bill
  • costs for re-letting the property such as advertising or agency fees
  • reasons such as having a noisy party, or keeping pets, when your contract said you couldn't

What to do if you disagree with the deductions

If you don't agree with the deductions you could still get your deposit back.

Find out more about how to get your deposit back.

Make a complaint

Find out about complaining about letting agents.

Fill out my online form.

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