What can a landlord keep from your deposit?
Who this guide is for
Our guide can help if you:
paid a tenancy deposit to a private landlord or letting agent
want to check if it's reasonable for them to make deductions
This guide includes advice on how to avoid deductions from your deposit.
The tenancy deposit is your money
Your landlord or agent should refund it in full at the end of your tenancy unless they have a reason to make deductions.
The main things are:
you should return the property in a similar state to when you moved in
any deductions must be reasonable and reflect actual costs to the landlord
your landlord cannot keep your deposit for damage caused by fair wear and tear
Landlords and tenants often disagree on what counts as fair wear and tear.
What is fair wear and tear?
Wear and tear means unavoidable change in a property over time.
It is caused by normal everyday living and is not the fault of the tenant. For example:
small scuffs on walls
faded curtains or furniture
worn flooring or frayed carpets
The deposit protection schemes look at who lives with you and how long you have lived there if you ask them to resolve a dispute about fair wear and tear.
Example: normal wear and tear in a family home
More wear and tear is allowed for a family with children moving out of a private tenancy after 5 years than for a single person moving out after 6 months.
Last updated: 7 July 2022