How to get your deposit back

Moving out checklist

Take these steps in the weeks before you move out.

Give yourself the best chance of getting your deposit back on time.

Confirm your tenancy end date

Your tenancy could be ending because:

Your tenancy end date can often be the last day of your fixed term or notice.

You could negotiate a different tenancy end date if your landlord is flexible about this.

Confirm your tenancy end date in writing so you are both clear about when your responsibility for rent ends and when you should get your deposit back.

If all joint tenants are leaving

Your deposit should be refunded when your joint tenancy ends.

If you paid a shared deposit, you may need to agree on a lead tenant who will:

  • contact the landlord

  • deal with the deposit protection scheme

  • share out the deposit when you get the refund

If some tenants want to stay

The tenants who stay and any replacement tenants should sign a new agreement with the landlord.

Your tenancy will not end if any joint tenants stay past the end of a fixed term, unless a new agreement is in place.

Those moving out can only get a deposit refund when your joint tenancy ends.

Check your deposit is still protected

Your landlord should have given you written information about which of the 3 deposit protection schemes they are using.

How to check

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

Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
0330 303 0030

0333 321 9401

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
0300 037 1000 (insurance scheme - landlord holds the deposit)
0300 037 1001 (custodial scheme - scheme holds the deposit)

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

Find out what happens if there's been a change of landlord or agent during your tenancy.

Read your most recent tenancy agreement

See if it says anything about when your landlord could make deductions.

Try to stick to any terms about the condition of the property but look out for unfair terms.

Look out for unfair terms about cleaning

Tenant must clean the property to a professional standard. This is only fair if the property was cleaned to a professional standard before you moved in.

Tenant must pay for professional cleaning. This is not fair and cannot be enforced. Fees like this are now banned.

Find your inventory or check in report

Your landlord or agent should have done an inventory with you at the start of the tenancy.

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 age, condition or cleanliness of each item should be noted on the inventory.

It should be an accurate record of the property's condition when you moved in.

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

Your landlord should not make deductions for fair wear and tear.

Prepare for a check out inspection

You need to:

  • replace any missing or broken items

  • fix any damage you have caused if you can

  • clean the property to the same standard as when you moved in

  • make sure the garden is in a similar state to when you moved in

  • dispose of any extra rubbish that does not fit into your wheelie bins

Look at your inventory or check in report. Return the property in a similar condition.

Your landlord should not withhold money from your deposit for fair wear and tear.

Check what your landlord could deduct from your deposit.

Do as much as you can to avoid disputes that could delay the return of your deposit.

Last updated: 7 July 2022

If you need to talk to someone, we'll do our best to help

Get help