Should I withhold some deposit? (First time landlord question)

I have had tenants in the house 2.5 years. Before moving we redecorated completely. New carpets throughout, walls repainted throughout, new log burner. It was immaculate.

Now, they are moving out and the walls are grubby, cat has left marks on paint and windowsills, a few stains on the carpet.

I’m inclined to put this all down to wear and tear and give the whole deposit back when they ask. Or should I be expecting them to repaint or to have looked after it better?

Hi Mike,

Having marks on walls or painted frames is textbook wear and tear. If you allowed the tenants to have a pet, then they can also claim that the amount of wear and tear was always going to be increased, too.

You could tell them you’d like them to repaint and that you will deduct money to do so if they fail to, but they could always contest this with the deposit scheme’s dispute service.

Check your deposit scheme’s guidance. It will list examples for which you can, and cannot, deduct money from the tenancy deposit. This will probably help you decide.


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I’m in exactly the same position except my flat was really dirty as well. I charged them for cleaning, but I’m redecorating myself. I’m afraid marks on the walls are inevitable after a few years.