How to Get your Full Security Deposit Back at the End of your Tenancy

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Excitingly, you’ve committed to a new property for the next 6-12 months!

Not so excitingly, you are going to have to pay a security deposit before you can move in. If you aren’t quite sure what a security deposit is, check out our quick guide to deposits.

Like with any deposit, you definitely want all of that money back. And who can blame you - it’s more than a few pounds we are talking about here.

So, how do you get your deposit back?

Not to worry, we have put together a few simple tips to follow that should certainly go a long way to helping you get your full deposit back from your landlord at the end of the tenancy.

Before you sign:

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1. Read through your tenancy agreement thoroughly 👀
Know exactly what is expected for you when it comes to the deposit. Be aware of what is covered by the deposit - and what you could potentially end up having money deducted for.

2. Check that your deposit is protected
Review our guide to deposits to find out more about this.

3. Make sure there is an inventory
This will list everything that is currently in the house and is covered by the deposit. Make sure you are happy with this list and that everything is correctly listed.

If there is damage to any part of the property before you move in make sure it is documented so that you are not incorrectly blamed for this when you move out.

4. Take lots of photographs 📸
It may seem like overkill, but it will pay off if you can prove later on that you weren’t the ones who damaged the door, or kitchen cabinet, for example.

Take a photo of a current newspaper close up so that the date can be seen in the photo, then include this newspaper in all the photos you take. Take photos of each room and focus on any damage or marks you see. The more thorough you are, the more covered you are. 

You can also, go through these photos before you leave and make sure things are left how they were before you moved in, win win 😎
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Before you Move out:

1. Pay your bills and make sure all rent is paid 💷
This seems obvious, but the landlord will use your deposit to pay off any unpaid bills or rent. Make sure you pay everything before you leave.

2. Review the Inventory and Replace any broken items
Any items that are listed on the inventory should be there and not broken when you move out (which is why it is important to be happy with the inventory list before you move in). It is quite likely that something may get damaged - I mean, who hasn't dropped a glass or two - but it may be a better idea to repair or replace these items before you move out.

You are likely to be able to find a better price than you would be charged from your deposit. A broken handle on the cutlery drawer doesn’t seem like much, and would only cost a couple pounds to fix yourself… but a landlord may charge for labour to fit the new handle, which may see your deposit take more of a dent than expected.

3. Keep a record of any repairs made
If the washing machine broke down and the landlord arranged for it to be repaired or replaced (which may very well happen) just be sure you make a note of what was done and when. At the end of the tenancy it may be handy to refer back to this if the letting agency is unsure why they can’t find the original washing machine.

4. Clean, clean, clean!
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Did we mention… clean? It’s ultimately the easiest way you can help safeguard your deposit. No matter how clean the house has been for the last year, now is the time to make that place sparkle. Get all your housemates together and get some cleaning supplies in. Make a night of it if you prefer, but just make sure it is done.

Make it look better than brand new - that way there is no chance they could say a cleaning company was required after you have moved out. If there is more of a mess than you had hoped, if you have managed to stain a carpet perhaps, consider looking up a professional cleaner. This can cost less that you would be charged if you just leave it to the landlord to arrange.

Do you have any top tips for getting that deposit back at the end of the year? Share them with us in the comments below.

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