Helpful Tips Tenancy Management Uncategorized

Trick or treat – How does the ‘deposit use clause’ work?

Stephanie Eaton
Written by Stephanie Eaton

One landlord recently got a fright when they made claims against the tenant’s deposit for cleaning, damage and redecoration; the landlord had good evidence including a well-prepared check-in and check-out report, estimates for the cost of making good, and invoices to show the age, cost and quality of affected items. Having accepted all of the claims were entirely justified, the adjudicator was still unable to award any of the deposit to the landlord.

The reason? The tenancy agreement referred to the tenant having paid a £1,000 tenancy deposit but did not have a clause setting out what it could be used for at the end of the tenancy. Because the tenancy agreement did not say that the deposit could be used to pay for cleaning etc, it had to be returned to the tenant.

To avoid a tenancy deposit nightmare this Halloween, landlords and letting agents should always include clear deposit use clauses in tenancy agreements.

Make sure you don’t have a howler!

TDS have an example deposit use clauses and guides on their website.

Find out more
  • RLA members can get deposit protection at discounted rates, through DepositGuard, which is bought to you in partnership with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Learn more about DepositGuard here.
  • Want to learn more about deposits, inventories and handling disputes? Check out our E-learning course.


About TDS

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.

TDS Insured Scheme: where a TDS member can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy.

TDS Custodial Scheme: where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.

TDS Academy: TDS provides property professionals with invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and tenancy deposit disputes.

TDS Northern Ireland: TDS is Northern Ireland’s leading and only not for profit tenancy deposit protection scheme.

TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

About the author

Stephanie Eaton

Stephanie Eaton

Steph is the Events and Marketing Executive for the RLA. She holds a Media, Culture, Communications and Advertising degree from the University of Lincoln and has had several years’ experience utilising her skills developing content and managing marketing campaigns. She has spent over 6 years in the housing sector which is an area that she is passionate about. Steph is also responsible for the RLA’s event programme and can be often found networking with members on the RLA stand at events.

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