Tenancy deposit scheme dispute

If you are in dispute with your landlord about a tenancy deposit scheme, either because your landlord has failed to protect your deposit in a government-approved scheme or because they have failed to return your money to you, our solicitors can help.

What are the Tenancy deposit protection rules?

Anyone who has rented a home on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (which is most private renters) since 6th April 2007 must have their deposit protected in a government-backed Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).

Landlords and letting agents must pay their tenants’ deposits into one of the following schemes within 30 days of receipt:

Your landlord must provide you with details of the Tenancy deposit protection scheme they have used to hold your money.

When should your deposit be returned to you?

Your landlord should pay your deposit back to you within ten days of the agreement on the amount to be paid back.

You cannot request that your deposit is returned until the end of your tenancy.

What deductions can your landlord make from your deposit?

If you owe any rent or there is any damage to the Property or the contents of the Property, your landlord may deduct money from your deposit.

It is advisable to take an inventory when you move into a property along with photographs of any existing damage, so you do not pay for any damage present before you moved in. We recommend asking your landlord to sign the inventory.

What can your landlord not deduct from the Deposit?

Your landlord cannot deduct money for everyday wear and tear. This means they cannot take money for wear to carpets, paintwork or furniture that would need repairing and replacing in any case. They cannot charge for the redecoration of a room when there are just a few marks on a wall.

Where damage to a property has occurred because a landlord failed to make a repair, then they cannot take money from a deposit to cover this.

If you believe your landlord is deducting unreasonable amounts of money, then it is important to challenge them. Ask them to make a list in writing of the items they are charging you for with quotes for any repair work. The list can be used as evidence if you decide to take steps to get your deposit returned.

What if your landlord deducts unfair amounts from your deposit?

If you and your landlord are unable to agree on how much money should be deducted from your deposit, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) will hold onto the money until the issue is resolved.

TDS offer a free alternative dispute resolution service. This means an independent adjudicator will look at the evidence you and your landlord provided, and they will decide the outcome.

Evidence you can gather to support a claim against your landlord might include:

  • A receipt showing the Deposit amount you paid.
  • Bank statements to show rental payments.
  • A copy of your tenancy agreement.
  • Any communications with your landlord, such as emails.
  • A copy of the Inventory you made when you moved in with photographs of existing damage.
  • Receipts for anything you have replaced or repaired.

What happens if your landlord fails to protect your deposit in a TDS?

If your landlord fails to protect your deposit in a government-approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme, you can make a compensation claim against them for up to three times the amount of the Deposit paid. You usually have six years in which to make a claim.

There are other legal consequences for a landlord who fails to protect a tenant’s deposit.

Your landlord may not be able to serve you with a Section 21 notice to evict you from their property if they did not protect your deposit or they protected it after the 30-day time limit. They can still serve you with a Section 8 eviction notice, but you may be able to make a counterclaim for compensation.

When your deposit has not been protected and your landlord fails to return it, you can apply to the County Court to get your money returned.

Before starting a claim, you need to send your landlord a ‘letter before action’. Our solicitors can draft this letter for you, which usually results in a deposit being returned without the need for court action.

The Letter will request the return of the Deposit within a specific time limit and explain that court action will be taken if they do not pay or respond.

Have a question or need some help?

Tenancy deposit scheme dispute solicitors

Deposit money belongs to a tenant, and it is only held as security by a landlord. If your landlord has failed to protect your deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDS), you may be able to claim compensation.

Where your landlord has refused to return your deposit without legal reason or made unfair deductions from your deposit, our solicitors can help you get your money back.

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