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What Can My Landlord Deduct from My Deposit?

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If you’re asking yourself, ‘What can my landlord deduct from my deposit?’ we’re here to clear things up.

Don’t run the risk of disputes later on down the line! From cleaning to unpaid rent, we’ve taken a closer look at all the main reasons for deductions.

Getting clued up now will save you paying the price later.

When can my landlord withhold my deposit?

In most cases, a landlord’s top priorities will be to look after their own interests and protect their investment.

The reasons for deduction from your security deposit must have been laid out in your tenancy agreement.

However, there are some recurring offenders, including:

Unpaid rent

Paying rent on time is key to being a good tenant and maintaining a positive relationship with your landlord.

If you have outstanding rent when your tenancy comes to an end, your landlord can deduct this from your security deposit. If this isn’t enough to cover it, they could take you to court to claim back the rest.

Cleaning costs

You have a number of responsibilities as a tenant. One of these is to leave the property in the same condition as when you found it (or better).

So, at the end of your tenancy, don’t forget to clean. You don’t want to be unnecessarily charged when the solution is such a simple one.

Damage to the property

Expect to be charged the amount required to cover damage, apart from cases of fair wear and tear. Here, the landlord must consider factors like the length of the tenancy and the amount of occupiers.

Pet damage

Renting with pets can be tricky for a number of different reasons, and you’re sometimes required to pay a higher deposit to start with.

The cost of fixing any issues caused by pets, such as damage or infestations, will usually come out of your deposit.

Lost or broken items

You must ensure that the condition of the property – and everything within it – meets the landlord’s requirements.

Lost or broken furniture, for example, will often affect your deposit.


You can be charged for ‘general maintenance’ of your rental property, particularly if you’ve neglected to look after something.


In most cases, you must get permission from your landlord to redecorate. Sometimes they’re willing to let you, particularly in the case of longer tenancies.

However, if you do a poor or shoddy job, you could suffer the consequences later on. The cost of redoing this can be taken out of your deposit.

Examples of landlord unfair deposit deductions

Deposit disputes can occur for a number of different reasons. For example, if the landlord refuses to return your money or if you disagree with their justification.

Your landlord cannot withhold your deposit for the following:

Fair wear and tear

Particularly over a long tenancy, or in a house of many people, your landlord must account for minor wear and tear, such as slight fraying of carpets.

They cannot bill you for this or take the money from your deposit. It should be accepted that a property will look ‘lived in’ (within reason)!

Preparation for next tenancy

Any fees related to re-letting the property cannot be taken from your deposit.

Property improvements

Your landlord cannot charge you for wanting to ‘better’ the property for the next tenants. This could be improving the paintwork or installing new appliances, for example.

Damage does not fall under this umbrella. If you break something and it needs replacing for the next tenancy – expect to be charged.

Going against tenancy agreement

Landlords have a number of responsibilities to their tenants. This largely involves ensuring their property is safe and habitable.

If any of these requirements weren’t met while you were renting, such as the maintenance of the boiler, you cannot be charged later on down the line.

More than the deposit amount

If a landlord feels they’re owed more money by you, they need to take the appropriate legal action. The deposit amount was set at the beginning of your tenancy, it needs to be stuck to.

Serious structural damage

You have the right to leave in a structurally sound and safe property. If your landlord hasn’t upheld their part of the agreement, they cannot charge you for the damage.

Dispute preparation

If a dispute has arisen around a tenant’s deposit, their landlord cannot charge them for the cost of gathering evidence or associated legal fees.

Preventing disputes

Disagreements are an area neither landlords nor tenants want to get into. However, preventing them is possible:

Promote a good relationship with the landlord

Keep open, clear communication throughout your tenancy:

  • Inform them of anything that needs fixing
  • Don’t try and hide any breakages or damage
  • Be honest about any issues you have
  • Keep a paper trail of any communication you have, such as emails

Check the inventory

The rental property inventory is essential in preventing disputes, or even settling them. If done properly, it will detail the condition of the property and its furnishings from the start of your tenancy, providing photo evidence.

How long does a landlord have to return a deposit?

Your landlord must return your deposit within 10 days of you agreeing how much you’ll be getting back.

Is there any deposit protection for tenants?

Some tenants can be unfairly treated by their landlords, with their deposits withheld for no reason or simply not returned at all.

If you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST), your landlord must have placed your put your deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme.

The tenancy deposit scheme is government-backed and ensures your money won’t be lost or held without reason.

Within 30 days of the start of your tenancy, you must be informed which scheme your landlord has used.

What happens in eviction cases?

What happens if you’re given notice to vacate? In the case of Section 21 notices, your deposit must be returned to you before you can be evicted if:

  • It was placed in a protection scheme late
  • It wasn’t protected at all

Renting in a new area?

When it comes to renting – the more you know, the better. We’re here to help inform you of everything you need to know, from the start of your tenancy to the end.

Are you renting somewhere new? Before you move – ensure you get all the facts about the area. This includes crime rates and local schools. Phil Spencer’s property report can tell you all of this and much more! Get yours below.

Get a Property Report

Last Updated: January 25th, 2024

Phil Spencer

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