If you Want Your Security Deposit Back, you Should Follow These Steps

The regulations surrounding tenancy deposits in the UK changed a few years ago. There are now three different schemes that have been approved to hold security deposits until the time comes for a tenancy agreement to end.

There are also rules in place limiting how much these deposits can be. From the 1st of June 2019, a new ruling was put into place to limit how much a landlord could request as a security, or tenancy deposit.

The laws are very clear that no one should hand over more than the equivalent of five weeks’ rent unless the total annual rent exceeds £50,000. In this instance, a deposit equal to six weeks’ rent can be requested.

The deposit protection schemes were put into place to provide some sort of security for the tenant, and the landlord as well. However, disputes still arise, and deductions from deposits can be requested.

If you want to see your tenancy deposit returned, then you may wish to read on.

The difference between a holding deposit and a security deposit

There is a very clear difference between a holding deposit and a security or tenancy deposit. If you are having problems with a holding deposit not being returned then you may need to seek advice elsewhere.

For the uninitiated, a holding deposit is exactly what it sounds like; a device to ensure that the landlord doesn’t let out a property to somebody else while certain checks are being made. Like a tenancy deposit, there is a limitation on how much this can be.

According to Shelter, the maximum amount a holding deposit should ever be is the equivalent of 1 week’s rent. If the landlord decides not to let you rent the home, they may return the holding deposit. If you pull out of the rental yourself, you may lose the deposit.

A tenancy deposit, however, is the money handed over at the time of signing a contract for a fixed-term lease. This money is expected to be returned as long as the property is not damaged, and other parts of the tenancy agreement are met.

How do you ensure that your tenancy deposit gets returned?

Landlord and tenant disputes can arise over many things. Sometimes tenants are noisy and cause problems with their neighbours. Others refuse to pay rent and attempt to use the law to effectively squat in the property until eviction happens.

Most disputes regarding tenancy deposits are due to the condition of the home though. Here are some steps that are worth following if you wish to see your tenancy deposit again.

Bring in professional cleans before you move out

Five weeks’ rent is a considerable sum of money, and there is no doubt that you would like to see it returned as soon as the tenancy ends. You may even need it for your next home.

The biggest reason that landlords attempt to keep deposits, or at least part of a deposit, is due to the cleanliness of their building.

When you weigh up the time it will take you to clean to a landlord’s satisfaction with the amount of deposit they deduct, it can make a lot of sense to bring in a professional cleaning service.

Search for a local service, for instance, Google move out cleaning Lewisham to find end-of-tenancy cleaners in that area. Once you have found a local service, check their reviews online and what services they offer. You may need to consider certain areas such as upholstery or carpet cleaning too.

Do consider cleaning the carpets

If you have had heavy traffic in your rented home, children, and pets for example, then your carpets may need a little extra care before you leave.

You obviously don’t want to rack up a huge cleaning bill, so shop around for a move out cleaning service that includes carpets. But before you skimp on how much you want to spend on cleaning just consider your deposit.

There is a real importance of a clean carpet, and it could make a big difference in the eyes of the landlord once they do their inspection.

Find out who is responsible for any damage to the property

Before you enter into any disputes about damage to the property, check your rights. There are some areas that are very clear, and others that can be a little muddled here so someone such as the Citizens Advice can help.

You will be responsible if you have damaged items listed on the inventory, but other forms of damage should be covered by the landlord.

Decide on who should clean the home when the tenancy ends

It is implied that the tenant should clean the home, but there may be instances when this isn’t possible or practical. If this is the case then don’t just leave the home uncleaned, speak to your landlord with plenty of time before the agreement ends.

You may find that your landlord is completely amenable to organising their own move out cleaning service, with you agreeing to an amount to be removed from the deposit. If you can get clear clarification on this, then once the contract ends you will receive the remaining deposit without further delay or dispute.

Don’t skip out on the rent or agreement

It may seem obvious not to do this, but a surprising amount of tenants do a midnight flit. Stick to the tenancy agreement that you signed and the law will be on your side when it comes to the return of your deposit.


If you decide to carry out your own cleaning when you leave then there are deep house cleaning tips you should know. However, ensuring the return of your tenancy deposit will definitely hinge on how clean your home is. A professional service is often the best choice to pass the landlord’s inspection.

Working together with your landlord and sticking to your contract is the best way to make sure you get your security deposit returned. If you don’t want to carry out a move out clean yourself, then come to an agreement with your landlord, and get it in writing.

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