10 things to do if you want your rental deposit back

Navigating the rental market can be challenging. There’s nothing worse than losing your deposit on your rental property amidst all the stress of moving out!

With UK average monthly rent price sits at £1,229 and tenancy deposits normally requiring five weeks’ worth of rent the average deposit amount is £1,536. A survey from 2020 showed that 61% of tenants did not receive their full deposit back at the end of a tenancy. With issues such as cleanliness, direct damage, and lack of maintenance to blame.

To help renters, Simply Plastics have curated a list of hacks that can significantly increase the likelihood of receiving back your full deposit.

1) Give your landlord plenty of notice

It is important to respect the notice period mentioned in your tenancy agreement. By doing so, you provide your landlord ample time to find a new tenant, reducing the chances of potential financial hardship, which could affect your deposit refund. Consider offering a little more notice than required to ensure a smoother transition and a happy landlord.

2) Do a deep clean

An overall deep clean is essential before vacating your property. This extends beyond your standard cleaning routine. Don’t forget about the oven, appliances, windows, and carpets. If you’re unable to do this yourself, consider hiring a professional cleaning service. Remember, landlords will inspect the property rigorously for cleanliness before releasing the deposit.

3) Take everything with you

When you’re moving out, ensure you take all your belongings with you. Leaving items behind can lead to removal fees that may be taken from your deposit. Remember to check out-of-the-way places like lofts, basements, or garden sheds. If you don’t want certain items, arrange for a charity collection, or visit a recycling centre ahead of your move.

4) Consider a pre-inspection

Some landlords or agencies may offer a pre-inspection before the final official check. This allows you to understand any potential issues that could compromise your deposit return. If your landlord doesn’t suggest it, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Ensure you have a witness present for the pre-inspection check. 

5) Check the inventory when moving in

Cross check the inventory when you move in and adding photos to it if certain damage/condition is not clear. These additional images should be shared with the landlord so both parties know the condition of the property before you take on the responsibility of the let. Keep the pictures as they will be time stamped, proving when the issues were found and reducing issues in the future.

6) Maintain the garden

If your property includes a garden, keep it just as maintained as the inside of your house. Overgrown plants and a cluttered outside space can lead to expensive garden service charges, which might be deducted from your deposit. Try your best to keep the garden in the same state it started in.

7) Use plastic splashbacks

The kitchen and bathroom are most prone to wear and tear due to their daily use. Plastic splashbacks are an inexpensive, efficient way to prevent unwanted stains and spills on the walls. Easy to clean and replace, they can keep your premises looking fresh and reduce the chances of your landlord withholding any deposit for damages.

Fair wear and tear is the deterioration of certain areas that changes over time with daily use and age. Landlords can’t deduct fair wear and tear from your deposit, although it can be a tricky area to define what exactly is wear and tear versus damage.

8) Renew worn out seals

Over time, the silicone sealant around your bath, shower, and sinks can wear out and become mouldy. By simply removing and replacing the sealant, you can make a big difference in how well-maintained the property appears. Although this can be done yourself, we would advise against it as doing it yourself could be used against you even though you had the best intentions.

Find someone who can provide the service for the task at hand. Any maintenance task must be notified to the landlord before any work is done. This will stop any issues occurring at the end of the tenancy. 

9) Refresh the paintwork

If your landlord has given you permission to paint the property, a fresh coat can brighten up any rooms that are looking a bit dull.

Be sure to stick to neutral colours unless your landlord says otherwise. If approval has been given, make sure to protect the floor and surrounding areas when painting to reduce spills and splashes. Remember, you should consult with your landlord before making any significant changes. 

10) Document existing and new damage

Make sure you document any existing damages when you move in and immediately notify your landlord. This is important to distinguish pre-existing issues from any new damage that might occur during your tenancy.

Do the same for any new damages, however minor, and discuss these with your landlord. Your honesty might save you from losing part of your deposit to unreported damages.