What deductions is a landlord or agent allowed to make from my security deposit or bond, and how much is fair to deduct?

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What can a landlord make deductions for?

There are 4 categories of deductions that a landlord or letting agent can use to attempt to make deductions from a tenant security deposit or bond:

  • Rent arrears
  • Missing items
  • Damage
  • Cleaning

If there is no professional check in report or inventory as well as a check out report, then the landlord or agent is unlikely to be able to prove their case. The deposit is your money, so the burden of proof is on the agent or landlord.

Missing Items/Damage

If an item is missing or broken, the landlord or agent cannot charge for the cost of a replacement, for example (taken from Justice For Tenants’ Guide For Submitting Evidence to ADR in a deposit dispute):

If the carpet might have been 7 years old when you moved in, and you were in the property for 3 years, no money can be deducted from your security deposit, as 10 years is a reasonable lifespan for carpet, and the landlord is not allowed to improve the property at your expense.

Cleaning costs

If the landlord or agent states that the property was left unclean, it is up to them to prove that:

  1. It was left in a dirty state (formal check out report)
  2. It was in a cleaner state when you moved in (inventory/check in report)

Without both of these, you should not be responsible for cleaning costs.

How much is your landlord agent allowed to deduct from your particular deposit?

If you would like to discuss your particular landlord or agent and the deductions they are trying to make from your security deposit, please call us 020 3476 6648. All our advisors are certified in dispute resolution training and have plenty of experience helping tenants.

What if my landlord and I can’t agree?

If you are unable to come to a reasonable settlement with your landlord, then you are entitled to use a free arbitration system. This is your right when your tenancy deposit or bond was registered in a government approved scheme. If your landlord or agent did not protect your deposit in a Deposit Protection Scheme, you are entitled to your full deposit back and up to 3 times the deposit amount as compensation. If you are not sure if your deposit is protected, please speak to one of our advisors and we will check all the Deposit Protection Schemes for you.

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