What can your landlord deduct from your deposit?

Your landlord should only keep money from your deposit if you have caused them financial loss. 

What your deposit could be kept for

The deposit is your money. Your landlord should provide evidence of their costs if they decide to make deductions.

Reasonable deductions could include:

  • unpaid rent

  • damage to the property

You can challenge deductions if you think they're unreasonable.

Your landlord shouldn't deduct money from your deposit if you breached terms of your tenancy agreement, but this didn't cost them money.

For example, they shouldn't deduct money just because you smoked or kept a pet in the property if this didn't cost them any extra money.

If your landlord broke the rules on protecting your deposit, they could still make deductions. However, they may be prepared to negotiate if you are considering claiming compensation

Cleaning costs

Cleaning is the most common reason for deductions from deposits.

You only need to clean the property to the same standard as it was when you moved in.

You can do this yourself or use a professional cleaning company.

Some tenancy agreements ask for professional cleaning. This could be unreasonable if a professional clean isn't necessary.


Your landlord may use your deposit to cover damage you caused in the property.

They should only charge you a reasonable amount on a ‘like for like’ basis.

For example, if you caused damage to a cheap old bed you shouldn’t be asked to pay for the cost of a high quality or brand new replacement.

How much should you be charged for damage?

Don't agree to deductions if you think they're unreasonable. Your landlord should have evidence to prove their costs.

They should consider how much damage there is and the age and condition of the item before it was damaged.

If you think the amount your landlord or agent is asking for is too high, you could check the cost yourself by getting your own quotes.

Wear and tear

This means changes caused by normal day to day living.

Reasonable amounts of wear and tear in your home don't count as damage.

Your landlord should not deduct money from your deposit for things like faded curtains, small scuffs on walls or worn carpets. 

Missing items

Don't remove items from the property without your landlord's written permission even if they're broken or you don't use them.

Your landlord can take money from your deposit for missing furniture or other items.

They can only charge a reasonable amount. They should consider the condition of the item as well as the cost of replacement.

You could check prices yourself if you don't agree with the deduction,.

Changes to the property

You shouldn't make significant changes to your home without getting your landlord's written permission.  

For example, installing a cat flap, removing a gas fire or changing a meter.

If you make changes without consent, put the property back to how it was before you leave or your landlord could deduct money from your deposit.


Get written permission from your landlord if you redecorate during the tenancy. 

If you didn't get permission, put things back the way they were before you move out or your landlord could take money from the deposit.

It’s not reasonable for your landlord to use your deposit simply because they want to redecorate for new tenants.


You should look after the garden and any outside spaces during your tenancy.

This includes things like cutting the grass, trimming hedges and making sure gardens don’t become overgrown.

Your landlord doesn’t have to provide you with equipment such as a lawnmower.

You don’t need to improve the garden during your tenancy but it should be in roughly the same state as when you moved in.

Utility bills

If utility bills are in your name, you should:

  • take a photo of final meter readings when you move out

  • give a forwarding address to the utility companies so they can send a final bill 

It's only reasonable to withhold your deposit if the landlord has suffered a financial loss because you haven't paid your bills. 

For example, if the gas company installed a prepayment meter and your landlord has to pay to change it back before they let the property to new tenants.   

If your tenancy agreement says you must pay your landlord for utilities, deductions can be made to cover these costs if you haven't paid

Unpaid rent

Your landlord can use your deposit to cover rent arrears.

Show your landlord proof of what you've paid if you disagree about the amount of rent you owe.

You could use bank and benefit statements, a rent book or emails from your landlord or agent to prove what payments have been made.

Last updated: 21 August 2019

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