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9 ways to make sure you get your deposit back

27th May 2015

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It’s something that we all dread when moving out at the beginning of summer – spending an entire day scrubbing the flat from top to bottom, before being told a week later that our deposit isn’t being returned, actually, because our mopping skills apparently just aren’t up to scratch.

It’s a harsh reality of student housing, and a newly released survey has backed it up – according to tenants deposit protection scheme My Deposits, 78% of landlords and agents who have withheld deposit money did so to pay for cleaning after the tenant had left. 

Because most landlords/university residence officers are a very particularly brand of germ-sniffing sociopath, we’re up for doing everything we can to make the stealing of your deposit very, very difficult for them.

The very good people at Oven Pride (experts at kitchen cleaning, or so we assume) have put together a list of tips to make sure you can fully battle through the year’s worth of grease and leave your once-grimy house sparkling as if brand new.

Here are their tips, interspersed with a few of our own.

1. Be prepared - know what the landlord expects from you well in advance of your move out date and make a plan around this. 

2. Get your roommates involved with the plan - each of you is responsible for the clean-up and if everyone is on the same page, there is no room for excuses.  Stick it on the fridge as a gentle reminder. There is no room for shirkers if you want your deposit returned!   

3. Agree with your flatmates to create a kitty for cleaning products - it can be as little as £5 each, but collectively it will be enough to buy all the cleaning products you will need for the big clean-up.

4. A degree of wear and tear can be expected but food-stained household appliances can lead to a tenant-landlord deposit dispute — with the communal kitchen oven at its epicentre. Pay particular attention to the kitchen, as this is where the majority of dirt will have built up.

5. The same is true of the bathroom, where limescale and the space between tiles can harbor dirt that landlords will swoop in on.  

6. Don’t forget places that are out of site, like behind sofas and on top of cupboards.

7. Make sure you move all furniture to make sure there aren’t any bits of paper/forgotten shoes/miscellaneous lost items underneath them. Take this from a person who had a deposit deducted for leaving a dropped hair bobble and a dusty book under the bed. Yes, really.   

8. Make cleaning the oven less of a nightmare and get your hands on a good oven cleaner – you don’t need to spend a load of money; most good brands will cost under a fiver. Douse your oven in it, and then leave it to work its magic whilst you face the rest of the house. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Oven Pride recommends, erm, Oven Pride.

9. To this we’d add that it’s important to make sure your deposit is protected in a deposit holding scheme (like the one mentioned above), which means that your landlord can’t get his/her hands on it without your agreement. Make sure you this is in your contract when you move into your new flat next year, as a priority.

Oven Pride is giving students the chance to win tickets to V.I.P tickets to Lovebox Festival in London this summer.  To be in with a chance of winning, students are asked to upload before and after photos of their ovens, using Oven Pride.Visit for details on how to enter.  

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