How to get your deposit back after your tenancy ends

When you move into a rental property, you are typically moving into one that’s already been cleaned from top to bottom. It’s only natural you’d be expected to return it to its pre-move-in state once your tenancy ends. Easier said than done, right? Well, it might be, but it’s something that must be tackled if you wish to recover your deposit in full. It may come as a surprise, but improperly conducted cleaning is the number one reason for tenant-landlord disputes. Considering there isn’t a universal definition of ”clean”, the question of how to get your deposit back after your tenancy ends arises. However, there’s no need to fret. Instead, let this article be your guide to avoiding potential troubles in reclaiming your money.

What constitutes the end of tenancy cleaning?

The end-of-tenancy cleaning is defined as a thorough cleaning process of the property conducted before the tenant has officially moved out. It consists of cleaning every nook and cranny of the rental, including floors, carpets, furniture, upholstery, and appliances. The goal is to return the property to the exact condition it was in before the start of the lease.

What makes the end-of-tenancy cleaning necessary?

The lease agreement typically states that a tenant can only vacate a property with their deposit returned if they bring it back to its pre-rental shape. Not only does this clause apply to furniture damage and unauthorized upgrades, but also the degree of cleanliness. If unsatisfied with how their property was left off, landlords have a full right to only partly return the deposit or not return it at all! That’s where cleaning at the end of tenancy comes in. Truthfully, there’s no questioning how to get your deposit back if you take up performing it.

What counts as ”clean”?

That’s hard to say. What some may consider spotless others would regard as ”not clean enough”. That’s precisely the reason why disputes occur! Nonetheless, in terms of the end-of-tenancy cleaning, tenants are expected to tidy up only to the degree of initial cleanliness. An inventory that was carried out before the move-in should be taken as a reference. In some instances, alongside a written statement of the property’s condition, pictures are also attached. The latter is particularly useful, as it allows you or the professionals in charge of cleaning the rental an insight into more details.

A person cleaning to get your deposit back after your tenancy ends
If you want to get your deposit back after your tenancy ends, you need to make everything spotless.

Can tenants perform the cleaning on their own?

Absolutely yes! If they feel confident, they can bring the property back to its neat state, at least. Bear in mind that if you were to take up cleaning by yourself, it would take longer. Or actually, longer than if you were to hire someone to do it. Therefore, plan ahead, and give yourself a week or two to get it all done perfectly.

What steps should be taken to ensure the place is clean?

The amount of things you will be responsible for cleaning depends entirely on whether or not you’ve already kept up with regular maintenance. Furthermore, if you have pets, you’ll probably need to spend a few more hours cleaning up to get rid of pet odors, stains, hair, etc. Before you begin dealing with the mess, though, equip yourself with the necessary supplies. These include various cleaning agents, cloths, mops, scourers, and last but not least, a powerful vacuum. All of the above will make cleaning easier and thus, allow you to stop thinking about getting your deposit back.

To further simplify the undertaking, it would be best to remove your personal belongings from the premises. Pack your items beforehand so that they are fully ready to be moved to your new address. We recommend you deal with heavy pieces first, as they tend to occupy more space. With the heaviest and bulkiest items out of the way, you’ll have more room to roam around. You’ll also finally be able to begin cleaning.

Now that you know just what you need to start tidying up, it’s time we got into details of how to achieve the ultimate cleanliness, room by room.

a vacuum
Include a quality vacuum in your arsenal of cleaning tools.

Living room & bedroom

Most of the work you’ll be doing around the living room and bedroom includes dust removal. If unable to reach high areas, prop yourself up on a stool. A vacuum will also be your best friend here as it will be able to get rid of hair and debris on the carpets and upholstery. For spotless windows, though, use a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice.


How to get your deposit back after your tenancy ends? Well, by cleaning the kitchen, that’s how! It will, however, probably be one of the most time-consuming areas to clean, partially due to grease build-up.

It would be best if you began by emptying the contents of your shelves and cupboards and wiping them down. You also want to remove the appliances from their place to properly clean the floor underneath them. Remember to clean the appliances themselves, as well. The backside of the appliances is typically covered with cobwebs, so make sure to remove those as well. As for the fridge, switch it off first and empty it out. Then, pull out the racks to clean them better and sanitize the inside of the refrigerator. Once done, leave the doors open to dry them out and prevent mold from forming. Don’t forget to restore the oven to its greaseless state, too. For this, you can use either an oven-designated cleaner or baking soda as a more natural solution.

a baking soda
Not only is baking soda a useful cooking tool, but it’s also a great grease remover



Scrub away at the tiles, toilet, mirror, sink, and everything else in the bathroom. Check to see if the shower drain is clogged, and remove built-up hair and debris if needed. Limescale tends to accumulate on metallic surfaces such as faucets and showerheads. White vinegar, however, has proved quite effective at combating it. As for the grout, it can successfully be cleaned using a steam cleaner.


Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with ways to perform the cleaning, you no longer need to be concerned about how to get your deposit back after your tenancy ends. Of course, if you believe you can’t effectively tidy the property up, the option of hiring a company providing professional cleaning services remains. Sure, it will be a more costly endeavor, but it will definitely save you plenty of time and energy.

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