How to get your student rental deposit back

Posted on 2 April 2020
How to get your student rental deposit back

With the academic year drawing to an early close or moving online, many students are choosing to leave their accommodation to return home and.  Now might be time to look at how to get your student rental deposit back.

Cleaning costs and damage to fixtures and fittings are the primary reasons why deposit money is withheld when a student tenant moves out of a rented property.

4 in 10 students can expect their landlords to keep almost a third (29%) of their deposit when they move out of their privately rented accommodation. more than half of those landlords (52%) said it was simply down to cleaning. (research from

if your student house isn’t looking spick and span when it’s time to move out, landlords are entitled to hold on to your deposit to cover cleaning costs. That’s a big chunk out of summer budget straight away!

To help make sure you get your deposit back, we’ve put together a quick guide to cleaning your student house to the standards your landlord will require.

1 - The End
An odd place to begin, but the best one.  Set a final hand-back date with the landlord/letting agent. Make sure the date allows for all students hving left before hand and giving ample time to clean up the aftermath of moving day.

2 - Communal areas last.  Focus on each individual room first, and then tackle the communal living areas last.  If you can't do this because of leaving schedules leave the communal area to last so the last student to leave only has to clean any mess they make moving themselves out

3. The Extra Mile
A quick flick with a hoover and duster probably won't cut the mustard.
Actually start from the top with a cloth or duster and get rid of cobwebs etc near the ceiling, and remember to check areas like picture rails, curtains and rails, lampshades, and windows and sills.  
Back at ground level, focus on doors, handles, taps and mirrors to thoroughly wipe off all smears and stains, and ALWAYS give the skirting a wipe down. It's amazing what good old soapy hot water and cloth with some elbow grease can achieve.  And don't forget to move items of furniture to cheek underneath and behind them.
To finish off you then have floors, often the last job on the list. Hopefully this is simple vacuum cleaning and mopping, remembering to get right into the edges and underneath things.

4. The Dirty Dozen
The 12 cleans that are missed the most often, and can cost you the most in deductions from your deposit.
Ovens, Grills, oven extractor fans/filters, inside microwaves, fridge/freezer interiors, stained carpets, stained upholstery, blinds, condensation mould on walls and ceilings, tile grout and seals in bathrooms, shower screens and inside kitchen and bathroom units/drawers.

5. Trip to the Tip - Remove rubbish.  There can be tonnes.  The council will only take whats in the bins, not what is left in bags beside bins so make sure to put all the organic rubbish that will spoil, smell or attract rodents into the bin for collection.  If the landlord has to arrange clearance of your rubbish, it will come out of your deposit.  This was a more appropriate tip when dumps were open - it might be an option now for everyone to chip in and pay for a special collection from Belfast City Council if this is an option during these times.

6. Outside in
Don't forget any outside areas - paths, rear yards, cigarette ends, after party mess, bottles and find your green fingers long enough to pull up any weeds that might have grown.

“Landlords are not the enemy – students must make sure they keep the property in a decent state so there’s no reason for their landlord to keep their cash.  If you have any concerns re the deposit or requirements to leave the property early, contact us