How to Get Your Security Deposit Back: The Ultimate Guide

There is nothing more stressful than moving out of a rental property.

And with good reason: you have a lot to think about, such as packing up your belongings and moving to a new place to live.

However, one of the things you will surely be wondering about is your security deposit.

Read on to learn more about how to get it back in full!

What is a tenancy security deposit?

Before anything, it is essential to understand how security deposits work.

You’ve probably heard many horror stories about landlords not giving tenants their money back. The truth is this: deductions often occur, yet many experienced no difficulty receiving all or at least part of their deposit.

This is a one-time payment alongside your first rent at the start of your tenancy. The fee can vary depending on your landlord or estate agent’s demands.

The amount could opt-in for:

  • Half of your monthly rent;
  • A full month’s rent;
  • Double the rent;
  • In some cases, triple the rent.

It is easier to understand why landlords demand a security deposit when seen from their perspective.

But with clearly defined expectations and a good end-of-tenancy plan in place, you should be able to understand how much of your deposit you should receive based on rental history and property inventory condition.

In cases where tenants cause damage to the property (beyond general wear and tear) or leave the property with unpaid bills/rent at the end of the lease, the security deposit is meant to cover additional costs incurred by the landlord.

When should a landlord refund your deposit?

If you meet all end-of-tenancy requirements stated in your lease (such as settling all bills and repairing heavy property damage), the landlord must return your entire deposit.

“You may suffer a withhold of money for your landlord to pay for repairs, redecorating or outstanding bills but he should tell you exactly how much and why they are withholding from your deposit. If you’re about to face deductions for the condition of the carpet, then you should get that written down and signed by both sides. The average price of tenancy cleaning depends on a handful of factors but one thing is for sure – tenants should be informed in a written manner and receipts should always be given. That’s a core part of what landlords are responsible for.”advice the pros at the Fantastic Cleaners, experts and easing post-tenancy effort with moving out of a property.

IMPORTANT: Always ask for receipts!

There is always a chance that your landlord might attempt to fraud you. You might be presented with suspicious reasons to justify withholding the entirety of your security deposit.

This is the worst and most impudent scam landlords try. If you have met all requirements for your end of tenancy, then you should expect your full deposit within 10 business days.

In rare cases, an extra clause in your lease agreement may extend the period for landlords to refund your deposit.

Getting back your deposit

More than half of deposit disputes are due to insufficient cleaning.

Landlords would rather keep the deposit until everything is left in the same condition when you moved in as a new tenant. Before moving out, you are responsible as a tenant for ensuring that the property inventory is in an acceptable state.

Carefully read and fully understand your lease agreement.

It should have clear instructions on what end-of-tenancy requirements you are bound to comply with as a tenant. If your deposit is subject to additional charges, such as a fee for professional end-of-tenancy cleaning, repairs, etc., all these should be described in detail.

Your tenancy must precisely define what the landlord considers “acceptable” wear and tear. Consider that, in case of disputes, any verbal agreements will not hold as proof unless somehow recorded.

That’s why the best idea remains to document every single step of the process, just to be on the safe side.

Do not be afraid to ask questions about your lease.

Do not hesitate to raise any concerns if the end of tenancy conditions are not clearly stated. That is your right as a tenant, and it is essential to understand what responsibilities are yours and which are not entirely.


  • Upon signing your lease and receiving keys to the property, ensure to properly inspect along with inventory if it is fully/partially furnished. It would be beneficial if your landlord were present.
  • Make a detailed inventory listing everything in the property and a description of its current state.
  • Take a lot of pictures and have your landlord sign the completed inventory. This way, when the time comes for you to move out, you can easily compare the property condition to what it was when you moved in. This will also stop landlords from making exaggerated claims based on the property’s condition.

Give proper notice before moving out

As you move out of your rental property, taking the necessary steps to ensure that you get your security deposit back is imperative.

You can increase your chances of getting your deposit back in full by giving your landlord proper notice, arranging and preparing for a move-out inspection, and with professional end-of-tenancy cleaning of the Guildford property.

The lease will include a section stating how much notice is required before you move out. Follow your agreement to the letter–giving more notice than required is always a clever idea.

Landlords also need technical time to prepare the property and search for new tenants or to arrange for it to be sold.

If you ignore your lease agreement and inform your landlord that you will move out tomorrow, you should not expect to receive any of your security deposit.. at all. This would happen because you have not fulfilled your obligations, and thus you’ll be breaking a fully legal contract.

Even if you take all the proper steps, your landlord may still withhold some or all of the deposit if there is damage beyond normal wear and tear. If this is the case, you must negotiate with your landlord. Be polite but firm when communicating with your landlord about the deposit, and understand your state’s laws.

Final Thoughts

Moving out is undoubtedly stressful, so it pays to be prepared.

When you do all that’s required, you can maximise your chances of getting your security deposit in full.

And that can make moving into your new home a much more pleasant experience.