Top Tips to Ensure You Get Your Full Rent Deposit Back

by | Jun 23, 2024 | Moving Tips | 0 comments

For many renters in South West London, having the deposit money ready is a financial necessity. It’s often a significant amount, equivalent to several months’ rent. It may require financial juggling or even taking out a loan. Some landlords might deduct from deposits unfairly, making it crucial to know your rights. Being well-informed can help you avoid unnecessary financial strain.

The Gentleman & A Van team hopes this guide helps you reclaim your entire deposit. Whether preparing for your next rental property or embarking on homeownership, you must do whatever you can to secure your deposit fully. Knowing your tenancy rights is putting your best foot forward, which is relevant at any stage of your rental agreement.


  • Understanding Your Rental Responsibilities
  • Advantages of a Professional Cleaning Service
  • Create an Inventory and Note Maintenance Issues
  • Undertake Minor Repairs or Use a Handyman Service
  • Know the Deposit Process and Know Your Rights
  • Maintain Open Communication with your Landlord

Understanding Your Rental Responsibilities

People’s reasons for renting vary, but we hope you do so because it suits your circumstances. Refer to this blog if you’re considering swapping the lease for a mortgage agreement.

Read your lease

First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand your lease agreement thoroughly. Make a photocopy and highlight sections that require clarification. This document sets the foundation for your responsibilities and rights as a tenant, so it’s essential to be well-informed and prepared.

Your responsibilities

Ideally, you should do this before signing the agreement, but you can do it anytime. All credible agreements state the landlord and tenant’s responsibilities, noting damage, maintenance, deposit, and rental payments as terms and conditions.

Signing = legal agreement

Whether you read your lease or not, your signature amounts to your acceptance of it in full. Ensure you query anything you don’t understand or agree with before doing so. Note that a clause stipulates you can’t withhold paying rent in a repair or maintenance dispute.

Unfortunately, most leases lean heavily in your landlord’s favour, but you still have enforceable rights. From the beginning, honest and open communication with your landlord is essential.

Advantages of a Professional Cleaning Service

Deposits often amount to two or three months’ worth of rent, so ensuring a clean property is key. Investing in a professional cleaning service can significantly increase your chances of getting your full deposit back, potentially saving you a substantial amount of money. This is a small investment that can yield a high return.

Gentleman & A Van offers professional cleaning services before move-in and at lease-end. It’s part of our Property Services package, which includes handyman and other trade referrals. Cleaning service covers areas often neglected, ensuring thorough cleanliness.

Using a professional service can prevent landlords from charging for cleaning post-tenancy. More importantly, you’re in the driving seat rather than at the whim of a landlady – remember to keep the invoice for proof of using a cleaning professional.

Create an Inventory and Note Maintenance Issues

Many renters make this common mistake—they rely on verbal interactions and agreements. The problem with verbal contracts is that they are not legally ratified or enforceable.

Create a paper trail

Start the way you mean by habitually sending all inquiries by email and backing up SMS or WhatsApp messages. We suggest starting a detailed inventory list of the property’s condition when you move in. Document and report any issues to the landlord immediately, including minor ones.

Send the landlord the inventory

Share the inventory with the landlord to ensure a time—and date-stamped paper trail. Keep written records and add photo/video evidence to support your claims. Don’t panic if you didn’t perform this when moving in—it’s still possible to do one retrospectively.

Undertake Minor Repairs or Use a Handyman Service

When should you take charge of repairs or maintenance? This section will review the dos and don’ts from the tenants’ perspective.

Get approval first

Let’s start by cautioning against undertaking repairs or maintenance without consulting your landlady – you need their approval first. If this causes damage or breakages, you’re liable for the cost of repairs, which can legally be deducted from your deposit.

Use common sense when dealing with minor wear and tear issues—not everything requires a handyman’s help.

Use a pro handyman

Gentleman & A Van’s Property Services include a Handyman add-on with time-served professionals who can handle significant repairs or damages. Remember that taking care of your rental property can prevent deposit deductions, but accidents happen. A good relationship with your landlord can make life much easier when issues crop up.

Know the Deposit Process and Know Your Rights

All deposits in the lease agreement must be paid into the Deposit Protection Scheme within thirty days of the tenancy period.

Deposit scheme = legal requirement

This is a legal requirement for your landlady to adhere to, and the regulations for this are binding. It also contains the correct procedure for requesting a deposit and the landlord’s response on deductions.

The deposit scheme should be noted in the lease. Still, if it’s not, this doesn’t negate your landlord’s legal responsibilities, which can be enforced in the event of an omission. Ensure you make this clear in the lead-up to the end of your tenancy.

Reread your tenant obligations

Unpaid rent, damages, and negligence are common reasons for deposit deductions. Reading the lease thoroughly and comprehensively understanding your obligations and rights is essential. Your landlady can request deductions, but they cannot do this legally without your consent.

Know your rights

If repairs or maintenance are noted, you can request competitive quotes before any work begins, but this is difficult to enforce after a dispute. Most landlords will be cautious when dealing with someone who understands tenancy and deposit laws, so feel free to bring this up at the beginning and end of your agreement.

Maintain Open Communication with your Landlord

We touched on this throughout this article, but you must establish a positive relationship with your landlord. Even if you’ve had a few run-ins already, always try to rebalance communication lines.

There are some general tips to keep things professional and respectful:

  • Your landlord/lady should give you at least 24 hours of notice before an inspection or visit.
  • Keep your property relatively tidy to ensure you’re ready for either.
  • Your landlord/lady should avoid verbal communication with legal ramifications – enforce this yourself if necessary.

Unfortunately, you cannot do much with a lousy landlady other than record your interactions and ensure they abide by their responsibilities. Whenever you need to address issues, tactfully and respectfully while being firm about necessary repairs.

We always suggest doing so by email because this establishes a paper trail in case of a dispute. Clear documentation can support your case in deposit disputes or court appearances – remember to include images.

Gentleman & A Van – Supporting Renters in South West London

Renting in South West London is costly, and landlord quality varies throughout the capital. We recommend thoroughly reading the lease and seeking clarification from the Citizens Advice Bureau if needed. If you still need to figure out your tenancy rights, refer to the government website for detailed deposit regulations.

Gentleman & A Van assists numerous renters with cleaning services, removals, and storage. This includes affordable services to ensure properties are in good condition for deposit returns. Use this guide to help secure your full rental deposit when moving into a rental property.

Click here to speak directly with a Gentleman & A Van team member about how our services can help you pursue your full rental deposit. Also, check out our free tips for removal and storage here.