Landlord withholding deposit

According to the survey conducted by HomeLet in 2015 about half of withheld deposits were caused by the issue with maintenance of garden.  Only 15 % of withheld or deducted deposit was made because of tenant broke the furniture or damaged other part of property. And just 13% of  deducted deposit happened due to cleaning failure before moving out.

refund security deposit

Thus, it became obvious that tenancy agreement should have a terms in respect of the cleaning, gardening maintenance which may cause a deposit reduction or full withold.

Another way to avoid deposit dispute is inventory check, which may be part of agreement or made by tenants on their own initiative. It may be dated photographs or other evidences of property condition.

Also, landlord couldn’t use Section 21 notice to end tenancy if the deposit wasn’t protected or pescribed information about the scheme and deposit wasn’t provided to the tenant

What can be deducted from a security deposit?

There is a limited list of reasons when landlord has right to deduct or withhold security deposit such as:

  • rent arrears or rent payments failure
  • tenant damaged property or furniture
  • tenant failed to clean the rental property

How to get deposit back using ADR

As the all landlord has obligation to register security deposit in one of the government approved scheme, tenant has an opportunity to resolve any dispute using free alternative dispute resolution service(ADR) provided by the scheme. ADR service of deposit scheme is may be used only if landlord and tenant are both agree.

The ADR service may help to decide which part of deposit must be withheld or returned to the tenant.  The decision made by ADR is final and further action could be only the court action or other mediation process initiated both parties.

In terms of law, landlord has 10 day to return tenant’s deposit. But if tenant couldn’t contact with landlord he or she may raise a dispute using TDP scheme which usually has online form for this procedure:

If the rental agreement was made with letting agency then tenant may use one of the authorities such as  Ombudsman Service, The property Ombudsman or  Property Redress Scheme(PRS) to resolve a dispute with agent who refuses to give deposit back.

Custodial and insurance-based scheme of deposit protection

If landlord uses insurance-based scheme he keeps deposit in his bank account for the full duration of the tenancy, accruing any interest during that time but pay small joining fee to the TDP service.

Custodial scheme is free for landlord but deposit is kept into the deposit protection scheme bank account on the behalf of landlord and his tenant.

Type of deposit protection scheme has no impact on the dispute resolving procedure between landlord and tenant.

How to know where deposit is registered?

According the Section 212 of Housing ACT 2004, Landlord must not only registered deposit in one of the government TDS bus also provides  to the tenant prescribed information with details of deposit scheme and landlord’s contact.

Another way to get landlord’s details is online request Land Registry Title where the name and correspondence address of property owner was specified.

Claiming deposit in court

If the deposit wasn’t refunded by landlord or ADR service wasn’t agreed by parties, then tenant may apply to the court. Before the starting claim tenant must comply with pre-court action procedure and send to the landlord letter before action with a deadline response about 14 days.

Full details of how to refund deposit via court claim described in the article “Get deposit back in court”.