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How long does a landlord have to return a deposit?

A deposit forms part of any commercial tenancy agreement and when you leave a property at the end of your tenancy, you are entitled to receive it back. You should usually receive your deposit back within 10 days of the end of your tenancy agreement, providing there is no damage to the property or its contents.

How to get your deposit back

If your deposit has not been returned following the end of your tenancy term, there are a number of ways you can attempt to expedite its repayment:

  1. Ask for your deposit back

Ask your landlord or, if applicable, the letting agent or property management company, to return your deposit if they hold the funds. Either write to the relevant party, or send them an email requesting the return of your deposit.

2. Contact a tenancy deposit scheme

If your landlord paid your deposit funds into a deposit protection scheme, you can ask them to refund your money. This usually happens within 5 – 10 days following your request. You or your landlord can request the protection scheme to either:

  • Refund your funds in full
  • Refund part of the funds to you and part to your landlord, providing you agree on the amounts

If your landlord protected your deposit funds using an insurance based scheme, a tenancy deposit protection scheme cannot refund your money.

3. Challenge any deductions from your deposit

Should your landlord refund your deposit with deductions, they should write to you to explain why they have done so. Reasonable examples for deductions include:

  • Causing damage to the property
  • Failing to leave the property in a clean and tidy condition
  • Failure to pay rent

Your landlord can also make deductions from your deposit for the cost of:

  • Replacing lost or damaged items such as keys
  • Repairs for damage outside normal wear and tear

They cannot make deductions for:

  • The cost of repairing damage that existed when you moved in
  • The cost of repairing or maintaining normal wear and tear, such as faded paintwork and worn carpets
  • The cost of cleaning your property if you leave it as clean as it was when you moved in

If your landlord does not explain any deductions they have made, you can ask for an explanation

4. Consider court action

If your landlord withholds all or part of your deposit, you may be able to take court action, but this should be a last resort. If you held an assured shorthold tenancy and your landlord used a deposit protection scheme, you can consider court action.

If your landlord did not protect your deposit, you can take them to court to claim:

  • A refund of your deposit funds
  • Compensation of between 1 – 3 times the value of your deposit

5. Claiming compensation

If you held an assured shorthold tenancy, you may be able to claim compensation if your landlord broke tenancy deposit protection laws, including:

  • They didn’t protect your deposit
  • They protected your deposit late (outside the 30-day term)
  • They didn’t provide you with relevant information about the scheme they used to protect your deposit

You can make a claim for compensation even if your landlord has returned part or all of your deposit.

Is my deposit protected?

If you sign an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, your landlord is liable to protect your deposit. Your landlord should have informed you which tenancy deposit protection scheme they’ve used to protect your money.

There are three main deposit scheme providers:

  1. The Dispute Service (TDS)
  2. Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
  3. Mydeposits

To check if your deposit is protected, you will need to supply:

  • The postcode of the rental property
  • The tenant’s name
  • The tenancy start date
  • The tenancy deposit amount

If you are a student living in halls or a lodger, your landlord is not obliged to protect your deposit.

 

 

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