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What can a landlord keep from your deposit?

Cleaning, gardening or decorating

Cleaning charges are the most common reason for deposit deductions.

It can be very frustrating when you've worked hard to clean the property before you leave.

You only need to clean your home to the same standard as it was when you moved in. This should be noted on an inventory or check in report.

If you do not think you can do this, you could choose to:

  • pay a professional cleaner

  • keep the receipt as proof in case of a dispute

Remember to remove any rubbish that does not fit in your wheelie bins.

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.

Gardening charges

You should look after the garden and outside spaces during your tenancy. For example:

  • trim hedges, cut the grass and remove weeds

  • do not leave rubbish or unwanted furniture there

Your landlord does not have to provide gardening equipment.

Some tenancy agreements include a gardener provided by the landlord. You might have less responsibility for the garden. You should still take care how you use the garden.

You do not need to improve the garden during your tenancy.

When you move out it should be in a similar state to when you moved in.

Redecoration and painting charges

Your landlord cannot withhold your deposit just because it's time to redecorate.

Your landlord cannot keep any of your deposit for fair wear and tear even if they redecorate.

But they could keep some money if you:

  • redecorate or make significant changes without your landlord's consent

  • cause damage so that redecoration is needed before new tenants move in

Significant changes could include if you:

  • install a cat flap

  • remove a gas fire

  • paint walls a different colour

  • change locks, meters, flooring, furniture or appliances

Decorated or made changes without consent?

Put the property back how it was when you moved in to avoid deposit deductions.

You might have to do this even if you think you have improved your home.

Last updated: 7 July 2022

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