Deposits: A Guide For Students


As a student who’s renting an accommodation, getting your deposit back can sometimes feel like a daunting task. However, with a bit of knowledge and preparation, you can ensure a smooth process. Here’s a quick guide about the rules regarding deposits and what you can do if you are worried you aren’t being treated fairly.

Before you sign

Understand your Tenancy Agreement

Carefully read your Tenancy Agreement. This document outlines your responsibilities and what constitutes acceptable conditions for returning the property. Pay special attention to clauses regarding cleanliness, maintenance, and any specific conditions that could affect your deposit.

If you paid a deposit for your tenancy in England or Wales, it will have had to be protected in one of three government backed schemes (DPS, TDS or MyDeposits) which they should have told you about within 30 days of it being paid. Once your tenancy has ended, they should return your deposit after agreeing on any deductions with you.

Moving In

Document the property's condition

When you first move in:

  • Take photos and videos: Document every room, focusing on existing damages or areas of wear and tear. Make sure these records are dated.
  • Inventory check: If provided, review the inventory list thoroughly. Note any discrepancies and report them immediately to your landlord or letting agent.

During your stay

Regular maintenance is key 

  • Clean Regularly: Keep the property clean to avoid a build-up of grime and dirt that might be harder to clean later.
  • Report Issues Promptly: If something breaks or needs repair, inform your landlord as soon as possible. This shows you’re responsible and can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems.

Moving Out

Leave the property in excellent condition to ensure you get your deposit back

Important cleaning and maintenance tasks: 

  • Deep clean

Clean the entire property thoroughly. Pay attention of commonly missed areas such as:

    • Under furniture
    • Behind appliances (such as fridge)
    • Inside appliance: (oven, microwave, fridge, dishwasher, kettle)
    • Windows and window sills
    • Light fixtures and ceiling fans for dust
    • Carpets and floors
    • Walls and skirting boards (marks such as Blu Tack® Marks)
    • Bathroom (lime scale build-up)
    • Kitchen: Clean countertops, cupboards (inside and out), backsplash, and sinks. Ensure all food residues are removed.


  • Dispose of rubbish and waste appropriately

Ensure no waste is left inside or outside the property. For more information on how to dispose of your rubbish and waste appropriately, check out our Moving Out Guide.

  • Repair Damages

Fix minor damages like small holes from picture frames or scuffed walls. If you've caused any significant damage, consider discussing it with your landlord before attempting repairs.

By addressing these areas and considering professional cleaning services when necessary, you can ensure the property is in the best possible condition, making it more likely that you will receive your full deposit back.

When should I expect my deposit back?

If there are no deductions then you should expect to receive your deposit within 10 days after the tenancy has ended.

If you haven’t heard from the landlord, first you should email them to query it. If you hear nothing, you can launch a dispute with the scheme your deposit was protected under.

What to do if there are disputes?

Any formal disputes must be raised within 3 months of the tenancy ending. Each deposit protection scheme has their own dispute service, so use the one applicable to you. Here are the links to each: