If you gave your landlord your deposit, they would have lodged it with one of the three government-backed deposit schemes; My Deposit, Tenancy Deposit Scheme, or Deposit Protection Scheme. Your landlord should have supplied you with this information within 30 days of you supplying your deposit. Still, if they didn’t, you could check with each scheme individually if they have your deposit.
End of tenancy
Once your tenancy has ended, and not before, you may request your deposit back. Within 10 days, your landlord must either return your full amount or advise that he is requesting a deduction.
You can accept or question the amount they are choosing to deduct. If you do not come to an agreement, you may take it to an adjudication process, normally managed by the scheme with which your landlord has lodged your deposit. Visit their website for details on how to lodge your disagreement.
Alternatively, you may have used a deposit guarantee service (such as Zero Deposit or Ome) – whereby you pay a fixed fee, simply confirming that at the end of the tenancy, you will pay for any costs required by the landlord (up to the maximum deposit equivalent).
In this case, your landlord will request the amount through your deposit guarantee scheme, and they will confirm with you if you accept the request. If you do, you simply pay the landlord the amount directly. If you disagree, you can challenge through your deposit guarantee scheme. Should you and your landlord not come to an agreement, the scheme will put your matter through adjudication. Both you and the landlord will agree to abide by the adjudication.
In all the circumstances above, the landlord is requesting money at the end of your tenancy (whether that’s a deduction from your deposit lodged with him or a direct payment if you’ve chosen a guarantee scheme).
Your landlord may receive money for the following reasons;
Missing or damaged items from the inventory.
Rental arrears; if you have not paid your full rent or have given a notice period not in accordance with your contract.
Damage to the property itself, over and above fair wear and tear, whether that be holes in the wall from shelves, damage to fixtures and fittings, carpets etc.
In such cases, the landlord may not claim the full amount to replace if the item was not brand new for you; for example, the carpet is expected to last 10 years. If it’s 9 years old, they would have expected to replace it next year; so, you will only be charged 10% of the replacement cost.
Additionally, a landlord may not choose a new, fantastic version of the item you damaged/lost – they may not end up in a better position (“betterment” is the term often used).
Cleaning; typically, you must return the property in the same condition in which it was received (with allowances for wear and tear). Nearly half of all deposit deductions are caused by poor cleaning by the outgoing tenants.
Be sure to clean to the standard expected. It helps to take photos when you move in, so you may compare.
You may wish to employ a cleaning company to perform an end of tenancy clean or confirm with the landlord that your cleaning has met their expectations before leaving.