6 sure-fire ways to lose your rental deposit

Moving into rented property normally means paying four to six weeks’ rent up front in the form of a deposit, as insurance against any issues at the end of your tenancy. Unfortunately, some landlords and letting agencies can be known to withhold part or all of your deposit for seemingly petty or even absurd reasons.

With a significant sum of money at stake, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep your deposit. Here are six ways that inaction can lead to losing all or part of this investment:

Missing a rent payment

Any missed rent will be deducted from your deposit. If the amount you owe exceeds your deposit, you could even be taken to court. Don’t rely on paying cash-in-hand or remembering to transfer your rent each time it’s owed; set up a direct debit with your bank to ensure the full rental amount is payed every month without fail.

Not checking your inventory

Your landlord or letting agency should provide a list of furniture and features within the property when you move in, which you will be expected to sign. Before you do, read this inventory carefully and note anything that doesn’t match with what’s actually in the property. Also highlight any existing damage or wear-and-tear to ensure you don’t get charged for them upon leaving.

Forgetting to take photos

Another way to protect yourself against false damage claims is to take photos of any existing damage on the day you move in. Any photos taken on a smartphone or digital camera should be automatically time-stamped so you can prove they were taken before your tenancy began.

Neglecting to read the contact

Failing to give the contract your full attention is a risky move, as this will explain exactly what is expected of you regarding the return of your deposit. Make sure you read the entire contract carefully to reduce the chance of any nasty surprises when you move out.

Putting off highlighting issues

Notify your landlord or letting agency as soon as anything stops working or is accidentally damaged. If you put off letting them know, they are more likely to interpret the issue as deliberate damage on your part and deduct the cost of repair from your deposit.

Avoiding the cleaning

Unless the property is spotless at the end of your tenancy, cleaning costs may be deducted from your deposit. But waiting until the last week to do one big clean is a recipe for failure. Make an effort to clean your property regularly so you will have much less to do before you leave.


Ready to move into your rental? Contact Pickfords for a free removals estimate, or request a call from us today and ask about our professional cleaning service at the time of your move.

Leaving a rented property: how to ensure you get your full deposit back

Sofa Set

When you sign up to move into a rented property, you will pay a set deposit. This normally equates to around 4 to 6 weeks’ rent, but the amount can vary. The deposit is held as a guarantee that you will look after the property and that, when you move out, will return it in the same condition in which you moved into it.

Many of us will have heard horror stories from friends or family about landlords or letting agencies withholding large amounts, or sometimes the entire deposit, for any number of different reasons, some of which can seem absurd.

With a significant sum of money at stake, you will want to do everything you can to ensure you get as much of your initial deposit back as possible. We have outlined three simple tips to follow to help increase the chances of getting your full deposit back upon leaving a rented property:

Fill in your inventory and take lots of photographs

When you move in, your landlord or letting agency should provide an inventory, which you will be expected to sign. This is normally a list of furniture within the property, but it is a great time to list any pre-existing wear and tear to the property. Make sure you fill in the inventory in detail, listing any current issues, to ensure you don’t get charged for them upon leaving.

It is also advisable to take lots of photos upon moving in and moving out, so you have photographic evidence of the “before and after” of your time in the property.

Read your contract carefully

It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of moving into a new property and not give your contract your full attention, but this is a risky move. Make sure you carefully read your entire contract before signing, to check exactly what is expected of you regarding the return of your deposit, to reduce the chance of any nasty surprises when you move out!

Keep on top of the cleaning!

By making an effort to clean your house or flat regularly while you live there, you will have much less to do upon vacating the property. It is tempting to skip cleaning, hoping somebody else will do it, but these small tasks can soon mount up. Moving out can be a stressful experience, so the last thing you want is to have to spend a huge chunk of your time cleaning up several months’ worth of built-up mess and dirt!