Business Insurance

What can a landlord charge for when you move out?

Your landlord can keep money from your deposit if you have caused damage that needs repairing, left the property in a dirtier state than you received it or have not paid rent. Here are some common examples of situations that a landlord can charge you for when you move out.

What is a rental deposit?

A rental deposit is a sum of money paid by the tenant that is meant to cover certain costs incurred by a landlord, such as unpaid rent or damage caused by the renter.

How does rental deposit work?

The deposit is provided by a tenant at the beginning of a rental agreement or lease. However, a rental deposit is the tenant's money. In fact, your landlord must hold your deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme, such as the Deposit Protection Service (DPS), mydeposits and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) if you rent on an assured shorthold tenancy.

When a tenant moves out, the landlord then assesses the property. If there is damage that must be repaired, money from the deposit can be used to cover the repair costs. Similarly, if a tenant has not paid their rent in full, the deposit can be used to cover that.

Can a landlord hold a deposit?

In the case of an assured shorthold tenancy, a deposit is held in a protected Government approved scheme. In the case of lodgers, students in university halls or assured or protected tenancy, the deposit will be held by the landlord and is not protected.

How long does a landlord have to return a deposit?

According to Gov.uk, a landlord must return a tenant's deposit within 10 days of both parties agreeing on the amount to be returned. A landlord cannot keep your deposit longer than this. If there is a dispute, the money is protected by the tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) until the dispute has been sorted out.

If a landlord does not return the deposit within 10 days of both parties agreeing to the amount, a tenant can work through the courts to get their refund.

How much can a landlord charge for cleaning UK?

According to Tenant Fees Act 2019 guidance, a landlord cannot require a tenant pay for professional end-of-tenancy deep cleaning when they check out. However, a landlord may request that a tenant return a property in the state they received it—so a landlord can request that the property is 'cleaned to a professional standard'.

If the property is not returned in a 'fit' condition then a landlord can get the property professionally cleaned and take the cost of this from the deposit. A landlord is permitted to recover costs associated with returning a property to its original condition by claiming against the tenancy deposit.

However, suitable evidence is required to prove the cost to the landlord. This could include an independently produced inventory, receipts and invoices. So a landlord can only charge what they have paid to a professional to carry out the cleaning. The landlord cannot make money on the cleaning.

Fair wear and tear is a separate matter, and is considered to be part of a tenant's reasonable use.

Can a landlord charge for carpet cleaning?

If a tenant has not returned the carpet in the same condition in which they received it (wear and tear aside) then a landlord can charge for professional cleaning. For example, if a carpet is returned in a very soiled or stained condition. Evidence would be required, however, to prove the before and after states (e.g., photos, independent inventory) as well as receipts from the cleaning bill.

How much can a landlord charge for a deposit?

A rental deposit can be at most five weeks' worth of rent (or six weeks on properties rented for more than £50,000 a year). If you pay rent on a weekly figure, it's easy to calculate the maximum rental deposit (5 times your rent).

If you pay a monthly figure, you'll need to:

  • Multiply by 12 (to get an annual rent figure)
  • Divide by 52 (to get a weekly rent figure)
  • Multiply by 5 (to get the maximum rent deposit)

To get a rough idea of how much deposit your landlord can ask for, the table below shows the calculation for monthly rental figures of between £1,000 and £5,000.

Rental deposit calculator

Monthly RentMax Rental Deposit
£1,000£1,153
£1,250£1,442
£1,500£1,730
£1,750£2,019
£2,000£2,307
£2,250£2,596
£2,500£2,884
£2,750£3,173
£3,000£3,461
£3,250£3,750
£3,500£4,038
£3,750£4,326
£4,000£4,615
£4,250£4,903
£4,500£5,192
£4,750£5,480
£5,000£5,769

Will I get my entire rental deposit back?

If you have not damaged the property (beyond fair wear and tear), have returned it in the same state of cleanliness, have paid your rent and bills on time and met the terms of your tenancy agreement then you should get your entire deposit back.

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the CEO, Co-founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.

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