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How to get your deposit back

Check out inspections

Your landlord or letting agent usually check the property before they give your deposit back.

Ask them for a time when you can be there to:

  • let your landlord or agent in

  • check the property and inventory together

If you have a joint tenancy, it is a good idea for all the joint tenants to be there. 

You cannot be charged fees for inspections or inventories.

Get ready for a check out inspection

To help get your whole deposit back:

  • replace any missing or broken items

  • fix any damage you caused if you can

  • clean the property so that it is the same as when you moved in

  • make sure the garden is like it was when you moved in

  • remove rubbish that does not fit into your wheelie bins

Why is a check out inspection important?

A check out inspection and inventory show what the property is like when you give it back.

The deposit protection scheme look at this evidence if you use their dispute process.

For example, if:

  • the landlord makes unfair deductions

  • you disagree about how much of the deposit you should get back

Early check out inspections

Some agents ask to do a 'pre check out inspection' in the last month of your tenancy.

This is so they can:

  • see if any work needs to be done before they re-let the property

  • tell you if there is anything that you should fix to get your whole deposit back

It's usually a good idea to agree to a pre check out inspection.

It gives you a chance to fix any damage or replace any missing items before your final check out inspection.

Inspections on the last day of your tenancy

The check out inspection is often done on the last day of your tenancy.

This is usually the date you give the property back.

Your agent cannot tell you to give your keys back before your last day.

For example, if your tenancy ends on a weekend but they want to inspect and take the keys back on a Friday.

Inspections after you leave

Check out inspections sometimes happen after you move out.

This usually means you are not there for the inspection. You do not get a chance to say you disagree with things until you get a copy of the check out report.

This is not illegal but it can lead to disputes and delays in getting your deposit back.

Make your own inventory. Take a video of the property on the day you move out.

This could be useful evidence for a deposit dispute.

What happens at the inspection?

Your landlord or agent might:

  • do the inspection themselves

  • send another person called an independent inventory clerk

Ask how long the inspection will take.

You can go round with them as they check the property.

Make sure they write down anything you do not agree with. For example, if they say that you have caused damage when you have not.

If it is the last day of your tenancy, you will probably hand back your keys at the end so be ready to move out.

What if there is no check in report?

Your landlord needs a reason to keep money from your deposit.

It is harder for them to charge you for things like cleaning or damage if there is no proof of how the property was when you moved in.

You could tell them this if you think the property was in a worse state when you moved in.

Last updated: 9 May 2024