Now that Summer Term has ended, many students will find themselves leaving their accommodation and moving on to their next adventure. For most of us, the moving-out process will include getting your deposit back from your landlord. To make this as smooth as possible, we’ve included some tips below.
BEFORE LEAVING THE PROPERTY
Cleaning: Make sure you leave your flat or room in the same condition as you found it. A good cleaning is an important step after you’ve packed everything up. Some tenancy agreements include clauses that a professional cleaning is required. If this is the case for you, discuss with your landlord whether you’ll need to hire someone for a few hours or if you can do a deep-cleaning yourself.
Take pictures: Once everything is sparkling clean, take pictures of your flat/room to document the exact condition you left it in! This can be useful evidence if a dispute arises after you’ve left the property.
Check-out inventory: Some landlords provide tenants with an inventory upon moving in. Check this list with your landlord to make sure you’re both in agreement about the items on the list.
ASKING FOR YOUR DEPOSIT BACK
Hopefully your landlord will return your deposit without any issues (and even without you asking). However, if you haven’t heard anything from your landlord about your deposit by your move-out date, you should write them via email, text or post to ask for your deposit back. You can find a good template for this letter/email on the Shelter Website.
Landlords or Agents can only take money off your deposit for good reason, the main ones being you owe rent, you’ve damaged the property, or you’ve lost/broken items from the inventory. They cannot take money off for what is called ‘reasonable wear and tear’. This means things that gradually get worse or need replacing over time, for example paintwork, or a piece of furniture.
Your landlord or letting agent should tell you why they're taking money off and how much they’re taking off. Ask them to give you their reasons in writing. That way you can refer back to this if you need to take action to get your deposit back.
If you can’t agree with your landlord on deposit deductions, or if your landlord is refusing to return your deposit, there are actions you can take. Most students are on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). If this is the case for you, your deposit must have been placed in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) which is required by law. You should have been provided information about which TDS your deposit is being held in, and you can challenge any deductions through the relevant TDS scheme if you think they’re unfair.
Each deposit protection scheme has a free dispute resolution service that:
Once the scheme has all the evidence, it can take 1 month or more for a decision. If you are planning to use this service, tell your landlord. They may try and solve the situation before the formal process goes ahead.
You can also check out Shelter UK’s guide on Getting Your Deposit Back for additional details on this process.
This blog was written by Hannah Thomsen.
Hannah is an Advice Assistant at the LSESU Advice Service.
THE LSESU ADVICE TEAM
The LSESU Advice Team is based on the 3rd floor of the Saw Swee Hock Building and we provide free, independent and confidential advice to all LSE students on academic and housing matters. We also administer the Hardship Fund, the Childcare Fund and the Graduation Gown Support Fund (GGSF).
Our service is currently operating using a hybrid working pattern. We are still open and can be accessed by emailing email@example.com. You can also book a telephone or Zoom appointment with an adviser through Student Hub.