Moving out

Saying Goodbye

You’ve come to the end of term and now it’s time to move out of what has been your home for the past year. One thing you will definitely want to make sure of is that you receive the full amount of your deposit back.

Here is the Students’ Union Advice Team’s essential guide to moving out of privately let accommodation:

The most common reason why someone doesn’t receive the full return of their deposit back is due to cleaning costs being deducted. Most tenancy agreements clearly state what is expected with regards to cleaning before leaving the property. However here are a list of the most common ones:

Remove ALL of your belongings, this includes all rubbish

You may think that leaving something behind won’t be a problem, you may even think that it is something useful for a future tenant to use. However it is best to take everything with you to ensure you don’t face any costs for removal of rubbish/belongings.

If you have any items which are reusable and you no longer need you may wish to donate these to St John’s Hospice Charity Shopon campus.

Clean the carpets

This may be as simple as running a hoover over the floors. However your agreement may state that all carpets need to be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy. It is worth checking if this is the case, if it is then ask if you can hire a carpet cleaning machine instead of hiring a professional to make it cheaper. If you do require a professional carpet cleaner then be sure to shoparound for quotes and don’t forget to keephold of any receipts/invoices as proof.

Clean the windows

Some agreements state that windows need to be cleaned inside and out. Check your agreement to find out, you may need to hire a window cleaner.


Ensure you dust all surfaces to avoid deductions.

Check the lightbulbs

Check all lightbulbs are working, some agreements state they will charge tenants for replacements.

If you are liable for bills make sure they are all paid up. Take final meter readings and keephold of these. You should contact your energy providers on the day that you move out to provide them with your final meter readings and let them know you are leaving the property.

If you leave without paying bills then action could be taken against you which may have an impact on your credit rating.  


Find your original inventory

You may have been given a copy of an inventory when you first moved in to the property. However these are not always provided. If you did receive one and can’t find it you can ask your letting agency or landlord for a copy.

Check your inventory

If you received one check through your inventory to ensure everything matches upto its original condition. Don’t forget that you are not responsible for general wear and tear. However you could be held liable for any other damage.

Exit Checks

There may be a formal checkout conducted at the property, you should try to attend this if possible. If there isn’t a checkout procedure then ensure you take photos of how you have left the property including photos of any damage not listed on the inventory. It is also useful to find copies of any letters/emails you may have sent during your tenancy reporting any issues or faults with the property, just in case there is a dispute.

How long will it take?

Check your contract or ask your landlord for details on how long you can expect to wait to receive your money back. Once your exit check has been completed and if there are no proposed deductions to be made then you should receive the return of your deposit in full.


If there are proposed deductions your landlord should write to you to make you aware of these. If you agree with the deductions you should accept them as quickly as possible to ensure a swift return of your deposit.

If you disagree with the deductions then as a first stepis to negotiate these with your landlord. You should explain why you disagree and provide evidence to support the reasons why.

If you cannot come to an agreement then the next stepis to contact the relevant tenancy deposit scheme where your deposit is being held. Each scheme has its own dispute resolution service which tenants can use. Some schemes only have a three month window for tenants to access this service so ensure you make contact as soon as possible. You can apply online explaining the reasons why you disagree and providing evidence to support your case. Your landlord will then be invited to respond. Once the scheme have all the information they need your case will be reviewed and an impartial decision will be made regarding what would be a reasonable amount to return to you.

Not Protected?

In the UK, the law states that a deposit has to be protected in a Government approved scheme. The landlord is also required to provide the tenant with information about which scheme the deposit is protected in within 30 days of payment.

If you would like to check if your deposit is protected in one of the schemes you can find links to the different schemes here -

Final thoughts

Marks out of Tenancy

Had a good or bad experience whilst living in the property? Want to share this with others? Marks out of Tenancy is a website which enables users to leave reviews about the experiences they have had. You can leave reviews about your landlord, letting agency, property and neighbourhood.

This can helpother renters make better, more informed decisions regarding where they plan to rent next.


Deposit not protected? Worried about being charged for damage? The Advice Team are here to helpprovide advice and support on any worries or concerns you may have. You can contact the Advice Team via email at