How Can I get my Deposit back when Moving out of a Rented Property?

POSTED BY Paul's Cleaning Team ON February 23, 2021 IN TIPS

Moving out of a rented property can be nerve-wracking, especially if your deposit was large and you’re relying on getting it back. With our guide, you can rest easy knowing that you’ve done everything you can to get your deposit back and make sure that you forget nothing that could cost you!

Clean, clean, clean!

This one seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many tenants miss spots when they’re doing their move-out clean. Scrubbing skirting boards, cleaning the inside of the oven, and the back of the toilet that often gets missed in the weekly clean will help you ensure you get your deposit back.

These can be nasty jobs, but they are some of the first places that a landlord or agent will check when you move out, and they will generally pay a cleaner to come in and deal with it – which will be taken out of your deposit.

The best way to go about the big clean is to go room by room, cleaning the ones that you use least first and trying to limit your time in there to avoid making a further mess. Doing a deep clean a week or two before you move out and then just cleaning up as you go will save you time and stress when it comes to moving out day.

Before and After photos

When you move in, it’s a good idea to take photos of the property, especially if there is already any damage or scuffs on the wall. Taking photos of everything will document the damage and mean that when you move out if your landlord tries to charge you for the problems, you can show them it was there previously.

Generally, landlords will take these photos themselves, but doing that yourself will ensure that you’re not blamed for damage from a previous tenant.

If you can’t do it, find someone who can!

Often, with the stress of moving out and everyday life, you may find that you just don’t have the time to do a deep clean before you go. If this is the case, there are plenty of services that you can make the most of.

Generally, paying for a professional move out clean will cost you less than it would if a landlord takes it out of your deposit, so it can be worth taking the plunge and doing it yourself if you know you won’t get the property completely clean before you go. This is especially true for carpet stains or the back of the fridge that always ends up getting missed.

Know your tenancy agreement

Each landlord will have a different set of rules in their contract, so it’s important for you to know what rules you’re agreeing to. Some landlords won’t mind you personalising the place a little with decorations, or repainting the walls, but some will, and you don’t want to do anything without permission that could end up costing you. Your landlord will provide you with a contract so you have the details, but if you’re not sure you can just ask. If you’re keen to make improvements that will improve the property, landlords will usually agree, but you should never assume this and make sure you’ve got written approval to avoid any disputes down the line.

Ask questions

When you moved into the property, your landlord will have put your deposit in a deposit protection scheme to keep safe. When you move out, your landlord will release the deposit to you and has a few options – to give you the deposit in full, in part, or to withhold the deposit altogether. If your deposit is being held, it’s up to your landlord or the letting agent that you had the agreement with to inform you why the amount is being held. They will also need to justify the cost – they should send you a broken-down outline of the amount that they’re holding and how much is for each issue. If they do not send you this, or you feel that the amounts that they’re quoting are unfair, you can dispute it by asking for proof of the damage and the cost of the repair.

Where possible, it’s best for you to simply ask your landlord and keep things as civil as possible. It can be a lengthy process disputing a deposit scheme, so if you can avoid it it’s worth it, but if your landlord is not playing fair you can take it further to get your answers.


Getting your deposit back can be a pain if you’re not sure what to look out for, especially if you tend to forget to delve deeper and get those hard to reach spaces when you’re cleaning. With this article, you should be able to make the most of moving out and increase the chances of getting your deposit back in full!