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What can a landlord keep from your deposit?

Damage and missing items

Your landlord can make deductions if you cause or allow damage in your home. This includes accidental damage.

You could be charged for things like:

  • holes in walls or doors

  • stained or burned carpets

  • broken furniture or household items

  • condensation damage but only if you have caused this

When damage is not a tenant's responsibility

You should not be charged for damage caused by:

How much can landlords charge for damage?

Your landlord cannot charge you the full cost of a replacement item if it could have been cleaned or repaired for a cheaper price.

Example: Stained carpet that can be cleaned

A cleaning company quotes £50 to remove the stain.

If the landlord buys a brand new carpet for £250, they should only keep the £50 cleaning cost from the tenant's deposit.

Even if carpets, furniture or appliances cannot be cleaned or repaired, your landlord cannot usually charge the full cost of replacement unless:

  • you have not lived there long

  • the items were new at the start of the tenancy

They must also take into account the quality of the items.

Example: Stained carpet that cannot be cleaned

The old carpet is 5 years old. A new carpet of similar quality costs £250.

It might be reasonable for the landlord to use £125 of the deposit towards the new carpet.

If the landlord buys a better quality carpet for £500, they should still only keep £125.

You can check the cost of replacement items or get your own quotes for repairs if you think your landlord is keeping too much of your deposit.

You can dispute the amount they want to charge even if you accept you've caused damage.

Missing items

If items on an inventory are missing at the end of the tenancy, your landlord can keep money from your deposit to cover replacement costs.

Some landlords and agents even expect tenants to replace lightbulbs if they were working when you moved in and this is noted on the inventory or check in report.

Replace small items like missing cutlery or broken glasses before the tenancy ends to avoid deductions from your deposit.

Do not remove furniture or appliances from the property without your landlord's written consent even if they are broken or you do not use them.

Last updated: 7 July 2022

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