The top eight reasons renters don’t get their deposits back

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  • From unpaid bills to accidental damage to the property, these are the top ten reasons renters don't get their deposits back

    If you’ve ever rented a property you’ll know that there are certain things that can prevent you from getting your full deposit back. However all of these things are avoidable and manageable, you just need to know what they are.

    According to research carried out by ARLA Propertymark, almost nine in ten letting agents said the main reason tenants don’t get their full deposits back is because they leave the property dirty or messy. Easily rectifiable!

    From unpaid bills to accidental damage to the property, these are the top eight reasons renters don’t get their deposits back:

    8. Pest infestation

    Mouse house

    Image credit: Ginette Chapman

    If you know you have a pest problem, get it sorted before the end of your tenancy. There might be a clause in your tenancy agreement outlining who should deal with the infestation – you or your landlord. Check out the Citizens Advice Bureau for more information.

    Read more: How to get rid of mice

    7. Unpaid bills at the end of tenancy

    Make sure you’ve paid any outstanding water/gas/electricity/council tax bills or you could face a hefty deduction from your deposit.

    6. Keys not returned at the end of the tenancy


    Image credit: Graeme Ainscough

    Discuss with your landlord or letting agent whether you should return the keys to them or leave them in the property as you move out.

    5. Unwanted personal belongings left behind

    With so many boxes to shift, it can be tempting to leave behind items that you can’t be bothered to dispose of. But do this and you risk losing some of your deposit.

    4. Unpaid rent at the end of the tenancy

    If you haven’t paid your full rent, you can’t expect to get your full deposit back! Set up a standing order to ensure your rent is always on time, and make sure you pay your last month’s rent if you want your full deposit returned.

    3. Direct damage to the property and its contents

    Picture wall

    Image credit: Brett Charles

    When you’re renting a property, it’s only natural that you want to personalise the space to make it feel like home. This can include sticking or hanging pictures on the wall. Use an adhesive that won’t leave a greasy mark, or ask your landlord for permission to hang a few pictures to avoid deposit deductions.

    Read more: Step inside this Victorian terrace and be inspired by what you can do with a rented home

    2. Lack of maintenance

    Tenant are expected to maintain the property they’re renting, which includes keeping gardens in the same state they were in when you moved in.

    1. The property hasn’t been sufficiently cleaned

    In most instances, properties are professionally cleaned at the start of a tenancy, so while you can clean it yourself when you vacate the property, landlords do expect the same level of cleanliness as documents in the inventory at the start of the agreement. To avoid any disputes, take photos at the start and end of the tenancy to use as evidence.

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