How to get your rental deposit back
If you want a rental deposit return when you end your tenancy and move out of your rental accommodation, always leave everything as clean as it was when you came in.
'Clean' is very subjective, and the owner of the property may have a different perspective on what clean is. Leaving the property in the same, if not better condition than it was in when you moved in ensures that you are likely to get all of your deposit back - bar any damages - and owners won't have to pick empty food packets out the bedside table.
Make sure you confirm with the landlord exactly what state they wish to find the property in once you've left. Get them to give you this in writing so if there are any disputes later, you have evidence of the conversation.
It sounds obvious but a lot of people end up leaving their packing until the last minute; overlooking the importance of making sure that the property looks as clean and tidy as when you first moved in. If you don't have time, you can always hire a professional cleaner.
You should have been issued with an inventory of all of the items in the property at the time you moved in. The inventory should detail any damage that was there previously, so you don’t get charged for it when you leave. You should check the inventory to make sure it is correct, signed and dated it and gave a copy back to the agent/landlord. You should also keep a copy for yourself.
We’ve made a checklist of everything you should check before you move out
- Replace anything in the house that you may have broken during your stay.
- Clean the oven, the extractor fan, the microwave, all cupboards and the fridge thoroughly. Make sure the fridge, the cupboards and the freezer are cleared of all food and are left squeaky clean.
- Ensure that any remote controls for electrical appliances are in order and visible.
- Redirect your mail to your new residence, as you don’t want your old landlord or any new renters to receive your letters.
- Read your electricity and water meter to make sure you can pay your utility bills up to the leaving date.
- Ensure that any rubbish is put out for collection.
- Clean any carpet stains with a good carpet cleaner. If you can’t do this yourself you can hire a professional.
- Wipe any marks off the inside walls with a damp cloth or sponge.
- Vacuum the carpets (try and vacuum under beds, on all floors, at the back of draws, cupboards and wardrobes).
- Clean skirting boards with hot water and multi-purpose cleaning spray and mop any hard flooring. You can use a cap full of bleach with very hot water on tiles, laminate or hard flooring but on wood and other natural floor materials use specialist cleaner or just hot water (hoover before you mop).
- Wipe-clean and polish the outside of cupboards and drawers.
- Vacuum the inside of drawers and cupboards to get rid of any dust or hairs that your clothes may have left.
- Thoroughly clean the bathrooms. You can use bleach inside the toilet bowls (make sure you use protective cleaning gloves if you use harsh cleaning products). Clean the grouting with a toothbrush and if you live in a hard water area you may have to use a scouring brush to remove water marks from glass shower screens.
- Wipe any mirrors with glass cleaner to get rid of streaks.
- Dust on top of doorways where applicable as well as anywhere else where dust gathers.
- Clean inside windows of the property with glass cleaner. If there is a build up of mold that wasn't there when you moved in, you can use bleach (make sure you put rubber gloves on) and kitchen roll to wipe this away. This mold can house dangerous bacteria so be careful not to get it on your hands or near your mouth.
- Polish any stainless steel appliances with a stainless steel cleaner or if you can't get one of those, use a multi-purpose cleaning spray.
- Fill any holes that you have made in the walls neatly with polyfilla and then paint over it if possible. If you can't find the EXACT current paint colour of the walls then you may have to paint the entire room.
And voila…a nice clean property and no reason not to get your deposit back!
Image credit: Ann