This blog is aimed at Tenants looking to minimise deposit deductions at the end of a Tenancy.

Just a bit of legal know-how first:

Contrary to popular belief less than 1% of all UK deposits end in dispute.

So what are the disputes about? According to TDS the top 5 deductions are:



56% relate to cleaning

43% relate to damage

30% to decoration

13% gardening

17% rent arrears



So lets look at each one:

Cleaning – clearly you need to get this one right!

If your property was clean when you moved in and if your Tenancy Agreement states the property must be clean when you move out. Guess what will happen if you don’t clean?

Cleaning tips:

  1. Book your cleaner 4 weeks in advance, especially in AUG/SEP peak market
  2. Do you eat at the busy or empty restaurant? A busy cleaner is probably a good cleaner too
  3. Cheap rarely equates to quality – pay cheap pay twice. Make sure you do your research
  4. Call your cleaner 1 week prior to check they are still coming
  5. If you have carpets it is likely you will need to include a carpet wash – check your contract
  6. Who leaves the hairdressers without checking your hair? Check the clean before you pay, it is too late after you have left the salon and handed your keys back
  7. Leave the cleaning invoice in the property to be recorded in the check-out as ‘professionally cleaned’

Damage & decoration – what is fair wear and tear (FW&T)? By living in a property you will touch, knock, scuff, walk on carpets etc. A reasonable amount of W&T is expected.

The hole in the wall from your mates indoor trampoline accident or gouge marks up the stairwell wall from the sofa that didn’t fit are not FW&T. These need rectifying to a professional standard before you move out or you can expect a deduction. That’s fair.

Make sure you report all maintenance issues to your agent/Landlord before you hand in notice. This avoids confusion with damage.

Gardening – this is much the same as cleaning really. Was the garden nice and tidy when you moved in? Is there any obligation to maintain during the Tenancy and leave in a tidy condition when you vacate? If so you can apply most of the cleaning tips 1-7. Just change ‘cleaner’ to ‘gardener’.

Rent arrears – well this is pretty obvious. If you leave owing rent it will be deducted from your deposit. If you pay your rent on time and in full then this is not relevant.

What to do after the check-out?

Keep an eye out for mistakes in check-out reports, they can happen as we are all human. That ‘missing chair’ may be seen in the photo of ‘Bedroom 2’ for example. Or the stain on the hallway carpet may have been missed from the inventory.

If you are unsure of the correct process re-read the Prescribed Information document or contact the scheme where the deposit is registered.

Deductions should be agreed within 2 weeks of the check-out.

If your agent or Landlord takes no action you can start a dispute yourself.

It’s just a process at the end of the day and most agents and Landlords try to be fair where possible.

If you can remain objective when communicating over deductions it will likely be smooth too.

Just remember cleaning 🙂


If you need any assistance letting your property in Brighton, Hove, Kemptown and surrounding areas or if you just have some general queries please feel free to contact us on +44 (0)1273 646426 or lettings@bishopsullivan.co.uk

Best Regards,


Julian Bishop

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