As a tenant, one of the main worries you might have is whether or not you will get your deposit back. But if you follow the steps within this blog, you’ll have a higher chance of getting your deposit back in full.

What is a tenancy deposit?

Residential Lettings Agreement

With most rental properties, you’ll most likely have to pay a deposit before moving in. A deposit is legally required if the property is in an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). This is the most common tenancy when renting a property privately or through a letting agent.

A tenancy deposit is in place to give the landlord more protection. So, if a tenant damages the property or misses rent payments, they can request to deduct the cost from these funds. For a tenant, however, a deposit can cause a lot of stress. This is because they need a large sum of money upfront to secure a new rental property. Which, if something happens during the tenancy, they may not get some or all of the deposit back.

It’s worth mentioning, that a landlord cannot take any money from your deposit until you both agreed upon an amount. If you don’t come to an agreement, you’ll likely have a deposit dispute where you can fight your case against the landlord. Until the dispute is resolved, the deposit won’t be released.


In 2021, 69% of disputed deposits were divided between the tenant and landlord in England and Wales. From this, 16% of tenants receive their deposit back in full.

How to get your tenancy deposit back in full

Deep-clean the entire property


In 2021-22, the main reason for a deposit being disputed in England and Wales was due to cleanliness. This percentage increased during the Covid pandemic, due to tenants choosing to renew their lease rather than move out.

For best practice, stay on top of your cleaning and don’t leave everything to the last minute. Things such as deep cleaning your oven, skirting boards, or cupboards are often overlooked until the very end. By cleaning more regularly, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and energy when it comes to vacating the property.

If you have pets or have been in the property for a long time, it may be a good idea to have your carpets and floors professionally cleaned. Having the property professionally cleaned isn’t legally required, but this can help to get your deposit back in full. If you leave the property dirty, the landlord may invoice you to have the property professionally cleaned.

Cleaning house

Know your responsibilities as a tenant


Making sure the property you’re renting remains in good condition is your responsibility. Your responsibilities will be explained in your tenancy agreement, so make sure you read your entire agreement and fully understand it.

Things that may fall under your responsibility:

  • Making sure all provided appliances and furnishing are in good working order,
  • Changing lightbulbs when needed,
  • Maintaining the garden and keeping it free of weeds,
  • Keeping windows clean and free from condensation,
  • Preventing blockages in the toilet, drains and sinks.

Your landlord is responsible for things such as repairing structural damage to the interior or exterior of the property. Sanitaryware such as sinks and baths, and the heating and hot water systems also need to be maintained and repaired by the landlord where needed.

However, if you alter or damage the property; regardless of what falls under the landlord’s responsibility, you’ll be expected to cover any repair or work costs.

Tip: As soon as you move in, take as many photos as you can. They may come in handy if your deposit is disputed.

Painting over marks on wall

Repair any damages you cause

When you vacate, do your best to leave the property as you found it. You should have no problems getting your deposit back in full.  For example, if you hang up pictures on the wall, fill in nail holes before vacating. If you knowingly have caused damage, make sure you have these addressed before handing back your keys.

This doesn’t include reasonable wear and tear. Things that might be considered responsible wear and tear include:

  • Chipped paint,
  • Cracks in the plaster,
  • Worn carpets,
  • Scuffed floors.

The amount of acceptable wear and tear will depend on how long you’ve been in the property and the age it was when you first moved in.

When will you get your tenancy deposit back?


Now you know how to get your deposit back in full, the next thing is knowing when you’ll get it back. Your landlord or letting agent needs to complete their final inspection and return your deposit within 10 days from when you hand your keys back.

If you have any questions about letting a property, get in touch with us today by calling us on 01604 603450.

If you’ve seen a property on our website, and would like to book a viewing, please contact our team today.


Our rental valuations are a free, no obligation service.

Excellent service provided by Cotters letting team, in particular Sue and Jo. Kept updated throughout the process and successful in findings tenants within 2 weeks. They shared great tips and knowledge.

Will definitely be using Cotters again.

Abu, Northampton