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How to get your deposit back

Get ready to move out

Take these steps in the weeks before you move out.

Doing these things could help you get your deposit back on time.

Check if you need to give notice

Many tenancies end on the last day of a fixed term if all the tenants move out.

You might have to give your landlord notice that you are leaving if:

  • you have a rolling periodic tenancy

  • a term in your agreement says you have to give notice

Find out:

Your landlord might keep your deposit if you leave early or without notice.

Agree your tenancy end date

Even if you do not need to give a legal notice, you should:

  • tell your landlord the date you plan to leave

  • ask when you will get your deposit back

Discuss this by email or letter. Keep the emails or messages they send back.

Always agree your tenancy end date with your landlord in writing. 

This means you and your landlord know the date when you will stop paying rent and when you should get your deposit back. 

Check how your deposit is protected

Most private renters have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST).

With this tenancy type your landlord or agent must:

  • protect your deposit with a scheme

  • give you written information about the scheme they have used

There are 3 deposit protection scheme providers and each one has a:

  • custodial scheme - where the scheme holds the money

  • insurance scheme - where the landlord or agent holds the money

Check which type of scheme your landlord has used.

All schemes have a free dispute service if your landlord makes unfair deductions.

Which scheme is protecting your deposit?

There are 3 scheme providers:

You need a postcode, surname, tenancy start date and deposit amount to search.

Call your scheme if you cannot get into your online account.

If you have a new landlord or agent

Your deposit should still be protected.

Find out what happens to your deposit if the landlord changes during the tenancy.

Check your tenancy agreement

See if your agreement says anything about your landlord keeping your deposit.

Try to do what the agreement says about looking after the property.

Unfair terms in your agreement

Unfair terms are things in your agreement which are not fair and which cannot be enforced. This means your landlord or agent cannot make you do them.

Find your inventory or check in report

Your landlord or agent should have done an inventory with you when your tenancy started.

An inventory is a list of fixtures, fittings and furnishings in each room. For example:

  • furniture and appliances

  • flooring, curtains and walls

  • kitchen and bathroom fittings

The inventory should say the age of the items, the condition they were in and how clean they were. It should be an accurate record of the property's condition when you moved in.

You should leave the property in a similar condition to when you took the tenancy on.

Your landlord should not take money for normal wear and tear.

Last updated: 17 July 2024