Landlord deposit deduction amounts seem unfair

Hi tenants and landlords.

I’m absolutely gutted. We are in dispute with the landlady and agent on the Depositary, which is a TDS scheme for prescribed letting agents. You go back and forth with demands and counter offers in the hopes that you can reach a middle ground. I am in extreme doubt the agent and landlady are willing to be reasonable or negotiate and the amounts their requesting I think are betterment and replacement cost.

We vacated a rental property one month before date on S21 as landlady said she has to move back in due to a relationship breakdown.

We had a permitted pet. We paid £680 to a carpenter to fix and replace damage done by our dog before we left. We also paid £280 for a landscape gardener to get the garden into good shape for her moving back in. I paid a professional cleaner £225. We rented a carpet cleaner and cleaned carpets. We flea powdered the whole place before this and treated the lawns with nematodes which kill fleas. We laid a new carpet in the stairs matching quality and shade of previous carpet.

Now the agent and landlady want to keep half our deposit of £2000. They say they want £300 for professional carpet cleaners, £50 per wall to cover scuffs marks and scratches, plus various other bits and pieces like window blind where the plastic holder fell off and a house number that fell off the front of the property, and £75 to retrim the front hedge even though our gardener did that (it’s not to her liking). Theres a £50 charge for counter top work surface for damage that was there when we moved in but inventory pics from start of tenancy don’t show that part of the counter, it only shows the same part with keys all over it covering the ring damage that for some reason I could never remove when we moved in but not for lack of trying.

When I cleaned walls I used an eraser pad to scrub away some scuffs which left a lighter shade on the paintwork in the spot I cleaned. They want £50 per wall because of this.

I’ve countered with half the cost for carpet cleaning as we cleaned, so £150, and £15 per wall with the thought that it’s a fair offer based on age of paintwork (8 years approximately) less wear and tear. The agent commented that we were spuriously negligent and didn’t care for the property which is so not true, and this has really wound me and my husband up.

We provided all receipts to managing agent showing the work we paid to have done and she still wants £50 per wall and the counter top, and £300 for another carpet clean, £75 for hedge trim. She just keeps countering the original amounts, no negotiating going on at all.

I feel this will go to arbitration or I or they will have to sue.

What’s a fair cost to repaint a wall? What’s the fair cost on a counter top? Is it fair for her to ask me to pay for a retrim of the hedge when it was clearly done and she just doesn’t think it was small enough?

I have done so much and sadly I think if this ever happens again we won’t do any work other than a professional clean and let the deposit scheme arbitration decide for us. This will save us the most money in the longterm as we spent a lot of money to do what we thought was right only to have the agent and landlady demand what I consider replacement cost and betterment at the end from our deposit.

Am I in the wrong? Looking for reasonable and level headed responses. The comments by the agent have been so hurtful to me. I always try to do the right thing even if I make mistakes sometimes.


Did you not get instruction or agreement from anyone in writing that the work you did was necessary and would fulfil your obligations?

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Yes, the agent and I emailed about it at length
She said we had to hire a professional and not do the work ourselves so we did. They aren’t asking for redoing of the fixes the carpenter did. They are asking for other walls for scuffs, chipping paint, patches.

Is £50 a wall reasonable?

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It doesnt sound unreasonable but we cant really accurately comment as we cant see photos. How many walls?

Running a roller over a few times on a light scruff is different to having to fill holes and chips, allow to dry, sand and then applying multiple layers of paint with drying times in between.

Countertops can often be repaired, but it’s not cheap

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I’m so very sorry they’re putting you through this :worried::woman_facepalming:t2:

I’d be tempted to send them a link to your last thread here, which clearly shows how much thought and care you put into getting this right, and the tremendous amount of consideration you showed for your landlady.

Hopefully things will work out! :crossed_fingers:t3:


the problem will always be down to interpretation and different “standards”, this is why a good inventory is so important and lodging with a scheme. Schemes are notorious however for siding with the tenant.


Sounds like normal wear and tear to me. How long we’re you there?

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2 years. There is a check in and check out professional inventory. I’d like to see the agents quotes and how she has factored the cost of each wall. The deposit scheme negotiation app doesn’t allow me to ask for it.

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TBH, I think you’re best letting this go to arbitration through the deposit scheme. It sounds very much like you need an independent third party to make decisions about this.

As a LL, when a tenant gives notice, I arrange to inspect the property in detail about a month prior to checkout. I explicitly tell the tenants that this is for the purpose of identifying anything which may result in a deduction from the deposit. I follow up the inspection with an email outlining both what I intend to deduct for and an estimate of cost. This definitely helps prevent any unwelcome surprises for either party at checkout. No deduction I’ve ever requested has ever been refused (including once when I had to take the entire deposit).

As a tenant in future, this is something you could request from your LL/agent once you’ve given notice. Of course, they’re under no obligation to carry it out, but if you do request it and they don’t respond or refuse and then suddenly make claims that are unexpected, it’s one more thing to add to your arsenal when you dispute deductions you weren’t warned about.


I would reply with the following:

1.Carpet cleaning : carpets have already been cleaned (show receipt)
2. Paintwork 8ys old therefore due a repaint at LLs expense
3. Hedge : already trimmed by professional gardener
4. Damage to work top : existing damage (its up to her to prove it wasn’t although if not on the inventory its your word against hers)

If you feel any of the charges are reasonable make her an offer otherwise take it to dispute. It is up to her to prove the loss & you can counter with your receipts plus evidence of all the work you have done.

As to your question about costs - I don’t think £50 a wall is unreasonable - you have to pay for the paint & the time for a painter - but if one coat of paint is all that is required, after 5 years I would says its fair wear & tear.

Counter tops are always difficult to cost as really it’s just cosmetic. Realistically she could argue the life has been shortened & again £50 is not unreasonable.

Given that you tried really hard to get a clear idea of what you needed to do (on other posts) I think she is being unreasonable & given the amount you have already spent I would go to arbitration.

Good luck :slight_smile:


I would agree that you should keep disputing the charges and force the deposit scheme to adjudicate. Ultimately its the landlords duty to make their case as to why they want any of your deposit money and if they can’t do that with written and photographic evidence, they won’t win.


Bless ya, you try and do right thing and they treat you like this i do hope you find a resolution because you dont deserve to be treated like that.


dont waste any more time, let the dispute people resolve it. they heavily favour the tenant. They pay their arbitrators peanuts to resolve so they tend to just pay out everything to the tenant , not always but mostly. there is a high burden of proof on the landlord


Thank you everyone and thanks to those who’ve read my previous post leading up to vacating the property and know how much I wanted to leave the property in good repair for the landlady. I think that’s why I’m so gutted about the deduction demands the landlady and agent have put forward.

I’m in agreement I will let arbitration decide as at least then I can trust it’s fair. I don’t want an unfair decision, just one that’s based on true costs without betterment. The landlady and agent haven’t shown me any bills or quotes or anything. Just amounts pulled from thin air as far as I can tell, and from a landlady that didn’t buy her property to let out. I feel she shouldn’t ever have been a landlord, it’s too emotional for her. She never looked at letting the house as a business.


Hope it all works out for you. I agree with the other contributors let it go to arbitration I think you have a good case.


Thank Jennifer. I will have to let it go if they won’t accept my counter offers. I’ve requested quotes or invoices for the deductions they’re seeking so I can at least understand where they’re getting their demand costs from. I’ve been very clear where I think wear & tear and age of the paintwork, carpet, and other items comes into it so that they understand I want whats legal and not replacement cost. I’ll let you all know how it turns out.

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I gave a tenant permission to have a dog having met it. What I didnt know is that they never take the dog for a walk and use the garden that has been barked as a toilet, you cannot walk on it without seeing the poo. Never again.

I have just had a 2 bed flat decorated, £2400 for a maggie blast, thats 48 walls worth.

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Sorry to hear of your troubles. We walked our dog, cleaned up after it, and paid to fix all damage done by the dog, so I’m not sure how that’s relevant to this topic.

I cannot agree with the statement that the arbitrator can be trusted to be fair, they are not, they ALWAYS, without exception, favour the tenant.

However, in your case, since you’ve made a concerted effort to return the property in good condition and assuming it is to an acceptable standard, I would recommend you invoke the arbitration decision option. Simply claim back your bond from the holder, deduct any amount you consider fair and reasonable and if it is contested simply dispute it and tick the box for arbitration, job done.

I’ve been advised that landlords cannot insist upon a professional clean of carpets on vacation, which I personally think is wrong purely from a practical hygiene consideration, however there it is.

It sounds like this landlord is being a bit unreasonable, especially since you’ve rented for 2 years at, what I presume is at least, £1733 / m, considering your 5-week bond of £2,000.

There is a 2-year wear & tear allowance to be factored into the equation, in my estimates for an average 6-year renewal, that is a 16.5%/ann. reduction in costs unless, in my opinion, there are pet issues, doubtful that will be given any consideration by an arbitrator.

Don’t fret, you won’t be losing half your deposit.

Good luck.


Absolutely. They should at least wait until you’ve come back from holiday.

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