Tenant Advice

Maximising The Return of Your Tenancy Deposit

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Getting your full tenancy deposit back when you leave at the end of your tenancy largely depends on the condition that the property has been left in. Here's our Top 6 issues found when conducting final inspections and how you can avoid them!

When it comes to vacating your rental property, the basic rule is that the property should look exactly the same as when you moved in, with the exception of some reasonable wear and tear (see below).

1. Not Having A Proper Inventory

It is essential that the property has a detailed inventory completed before your tenancy commences as there won’t be any proof of condition should any discrepancies arise during the move-out inspection, so make sure your landlord provides you with one.

A proper inventory is more than just a piece of paper with the contents of a room.  It needs to confirm the exact condition of the items and have photographic evidence as back-up.  This is for your protection as much as it is for the landlord.

All of our fully managed properties come with an in-depth property inventory for your peace of mind.

2. Repairs & Damage

If you cause any damage to the property then it will need to be repaired / made good by an approved tradesperson.  There are two ways you can do this… you can either instruct and pay the appropriate tradesperson yourself or your landlord / agent will get their own approved tradesperson to complete the works and deduct the cost from your deposit.

The damage will be assessed by comparing the original inventory when you move in to the condition at the move-out inspection.

3. Cleaning

This is a big one!

It is far the biggest issue at the end of a tenancy, so much so that over the years we have created a list that will help reduce the risk of having deductions from your deposit for cleaning issues.  If you do not wish to do the cleaning yourself / don’t have the time to, we would suggest getting a professional cleaning company in to do it for you.


  • Clean all door frames, windowsills, light switches, sliding doors and window tracks
  • Clean windows, venetian / roller blinds and shutters
  • Wash all marks and scuffs off walls
  • Sweep and mop all floors removing marks and wipe the skirting boards
  • Carpets should ideally be steam cleaned
  • Clean all light fittings and fans, wiping out any dead bugs and remove all cob webs
  • Light bulbs must be left in working order
  • Extractor fan filters should be removed and cleaned


  • Clean inside and outside all cupboards and doors
  • Clean the oven – including the inside, trays, doors and outside
  • Clean the extractor hood and filter
  • Defrost and clean the inside and outside of the refrigerator and freezer
  • Clean the dishwasher with recommended cleaning product
  • Clean the soap drawer and door seal of the washing machine
  • Clean the sink


  • Clean any mildew from the ceiling / walls
  • Clean the toilet,sink, bath, shower and shower screens
  • Clean inside and out any bathroom cabinets
  • Clean all tiles and grout


  • Lawns should be mowed, tidied and the garden should be free of weeds
  • Patios should be cleaned (power-washed if necessary) and free from weeds
  • Overgrown plants, shrubs and tress should be trimmed

4. Keys

All keys issued at the start of your tenancy must be returned.  They must be replaced if they have been misplaced / lost.

5. Don’t Leave Anything Behind

It’s really important that all your personal items are removed from the property.  If you leave anything behind then tradesmen will have to dispose of your items and they will be charged to do so at the recycling plants.  It is free at council sites for you to dispose of your personal belongings, so make sure you do this to save a deduction from your deposit.

6. Ware & Tear

Landlords often have the misconception that the property should be left in the exact same condition as it was at the start of the tenancy but this is not the case!

A landlord should not end up financially or materially better off than they were at the start of the tenancy, otherwise know as ‘betterment’.

This is due to fair wear and tear.  This is the deterioration to the property and its contents, fixtures and fittings by the tenant through normal and reasonable use.

So allowance must be made for: –

  • The age, quality and condition at the start of the tenancy
  • The average lifespan of the item
  • The reasonable expected usage of such an item
  • The number and type of occupants in the property
  • The length of tenancy

And this is why a detailed, photographic inventory is so important for assessing deposit deductions!


Gavin is a Landlord and founder of Orchard Lettings. After being dissatisfied with how his own properties where being managed by other agents he decided to create his own property management company in 2007 and hasn't looked back since.

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