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Tenancy deposit deductions your landlord can make

Don't risk losing your deposit money because you haven't paid the rent or cleaned up when you leave.

Deductions your landlord can make

Your landlord can usually make certain deductions from your deposit after you leave your rented home. They must tell you what any deductions are for and how much for each item. They must return what's left to you. 

Landlords can usually deduct money from a deposit to cover:

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

The items they can deduct money for are usually set out in your tenancy agreement or a separate document you both signed. 

Your landlord can make deductions for items that aren't spelt out if this includes wording such as 'deductions from your deposit can be made for breaches of your tenancy agreement'.

Deductions your landlord can't make

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

  • costs for re-letting the property 
  • unpaid gas, electricity or water bills if your name is on the bill

They can't make deductions just because you had a noisy party or kept a pet. This applies even if your tenancy agreement said you couldn't.

Unpaid rent

Your landlord can deduct any unpaid rent from your deposit. If you owe more than the deposit, they could take you to court to get the rest of the money back.

Damage to property

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

You should leave the property in the same condition it was in when you moved in, allowing for normal wear and tear.

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

Examples of damage are:

  • a burn hole or nail varnish spill on a carpet
  • holes in plaster or damaged paintwork caused by hanging pictures on a wall
  • torn or missing curtains

Examples of normal wear and tear are:

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

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 mattress, you don't have to pay for a better quality new one.

Missing items

Your landlord can make deductions for missing items. The inventory you agreed with your landlord should set out the items provided. 

If your landlord needs to replace missing items, they should do so on a like-for-like basis. You shouldn't be asked to pay for an expensive replacement for a budget item.

Cleaning costs

Leave the property clean and tidy at the end of your tenancy. You shouldn't normally have to pay to make it cleaner than it was when you first moved in. 

Check your tenancy agreement. If it says you must have the carpets and curtains professionally cleaned before you move out, you should do this.

Keep receipts for any cleaning that you do or pay for. 

Keeping pets

Your landlord can deduct money from your tenancy agreement to cover damage caused by your pets. This includes the cost of cleaning to remove smells caused by pets.  

Don't install cat flaps or make any changes to the structure of your home without your landlord's permission. It could count as damage.

If no damage was done, your landlord can't deduct money just because you kept a pet. This applies even if your tenancy agreement said you couldn't keep pets.

If you disagree with deductions

You can challenge the deductions your landlord has made from your deposit.

Find out how to get your tenancy deposit back.

Last updated 30 Jun 2016 | © Shelter

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