Deposit returns can be one of the trickiest things about renting. Follow the advice below or get in touch with the Student Advice Centre if you need extra support.
First things first, it is your money. Regardless of who is holding the Deposit, the money is legally yours until a claim has been made. Check your contract to see what it says about deposit return and which deposit protection scheme is protecting it.
Types of schemes
- There are only three deposit schemes : - the DPS, MyDeposits and TDS.
- You may be in an Insured or a Custodial scheme.
- If it is Insured scheme, the Landlord or agent is holding the money but the scheme will adjudicate in any dispute but only in the first three months from when you moved out. Those with a cynical nature might wonder whether the delay in communications about it’ return are being ignored until you become ‘timed out’? So don’t hang about.
- If it is in the Custodial scheme the scheme has your money and this does not have the same time restrictions.
- If you cannot find your deposit protected with any of the 3 schemes it might be protected which is a breach of the law* and you can apply to the courts for a penalty.
How to give yourself the best chance of getting the full amount back
- If you are preparing to move out clean and tidy the property and evidence it before you leave and take many date stamped pictures.
- Dig out your Inventory/Check-in from the start of the tenancy and compare this to the Inventory/Check-out report at the end of the tenancy.
- If you have left already, hopefully you remembered to take a record of how you left it.
- In shared houses in joint tenancies, you need to ensure the full property was handed back clean not just your room. For shared houses with a contract just for your room you need to ensure your room was clean and tidy and communal areas.
- It’s useful to have evidence of utility accounts that have been paid and have no amounts owing. Technical any ‘debt will follow you but contracts often require this and it could slow down your deposit claim.
How to claim your money back
- Contact your landlord/agent and request the deposit return.
- If they want to make deductions, consider if they are fair and agree a settlement if possible.
- If you agree deductions are fair but disagree with the amount, or just disagree that any amount should be taken try to negotiate on this. If you cannot agree, you can ask the scheme to adjudicate.
- You don’t have to wait for the agent to raise the dispute with the scheme. You can start this process.
If you have queries or concerns come and book an appointment at our Student Advice Centre
Don’t forget to review your property on Marks out of Tenancy (MOOT).
*Tenancy Deposit Protection only applies to Assured Shorthold Tenancies.