Returning your Deposit

The deposit is your money, it should be returned once you have moved out and/or the tenancy has ended.

Sometimes your landlord may propose deductions from the deposit if they have suffered a financial loss during your tenancy.  

At the end of the tenancy, you should write you your landlord/letting agent and request to get the deposit back. The landlord should then refund you in full, or purpose deductions, withing ten days. The landlord should account for any deductions they wish to make from it. You should also ask to see receipts for any replacement items or for any work done.  

Remember that deductions should not be made from damage caused by fair wear and tear. The landlord should avoid any form of ‘betterment’ for example if they ensure the deductions do not put them in a better position that at the start of your tenancy. If you as a tenant is responsible for any damage, the landlord can make deductions in respect of a ‘like for like’ replacement, not ‘new for old’.

What counts as ‘fair wear and tear’?

Fair wear and tear refers to any damage that has been caused due to normal use or through ageing. A properties carpets, curtains, properties carpets, curtains, furniture, and fittings will all suffer a certain amount of damage by wear and tear. 

What about cleaning?

Normally, tenancy agreements will state that carpets and curtains must be cleaned at the end of the tenancy and sometimes even professionally. However, this does not mean that they must be cleaner or even as clean as when you moved in. You are obligated to give the property back to the landlord in the same state and condition as at the start of the tenancy, fair wear and tear excepted. You are expected to clean any items which are soiled above normal wear and tear. If you do carry out any cleaning, keep records and receipts where appropriate. If any damage has been caused by a third party other than the tenant’s guest(s), for example after a brake-in, there should not be any deductions from the deposit. 

What if you do not agree with the deductions?

If you disagree with the deductions, you can dispute how much of the deposit the landlord can keep. Contact the landlord in writing and request the return of the undisputed amount along with proof of any costs the landlord/letting agent claims to have incurred. If you do not reach an agreement about the deductions and the deposit is covered by tenancy deposit protection you should contact the scheme provider for details about Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The tenancy deposit protection scheme will keep hold of any disputed amount until both you and the landlord/letting agent have come to an agreement. If either you or your landlord objects to using ADR to resolve the dispute, then it will have to be resolved in County Court. 

What if you do not have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)?

If you are a lodger, there are no legal rules protection any deposit you may have paid. Your landlord can deduct an amount before returning the deposit to cover costs such as damage to the property or furniture. If you should disagree with the amount, you can attempt to negotiate with your landlord. It is useful if you have any evidence to support your case, such as the inventory, photographs, etc. Ultimately, if you and your landlord cannot come to an agreement and you think that the deductions are unfair or unreasonable, you will have to use the small claims procedure in the County Court to get the rest of the deposit back. In some cases, the prosect of legal action will be enough to make your landlord return the deposit.

You can contact the Student Advice and Support Service for more guidance.  

How can the University Support you?

Please always use the University webpages as a first point of reference. If you require more guidance or information that is not covered in the webpages contact the Student Advice and Support Services. 

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Last Updated: 8th September 2022