Is your tenancy deposit safe? What is it for and will I get it back?

3 min Read Published: 05 Oct 2012

When you hand over your deposit at the start of a tenancy agreement do you ever wonder what happens to the that money and will you ever see it again?

Well, to answer those questions I have pulled together a small guide to the whole issue of rental deposits.

What is a tenancy deposit for?

A tenancy deposit is a sum of money that can be used to recompense the landlord if he suffers financial loss during a tenancy.

What is the right amount for a tenancy deposit?

A typical deposit is the equivalent of one months rent.

Is my tenancy deposit safe?

Most rental properties in the UK are let under what is known as an 'assured shorthold tenancy' and under the law all deposits must be held in one of three government approved tenancy deposit protection schemes.

You can check if your deposit is held in a tenancy deposit scheme here - tenancy deposit rights checker

What can I do if my deposit is not held in a tenancy deposit protection scheme?

If it has been 30 days or more since you paid your deposit to your landlord (or your landlord's agent) then you should write to your landlord requesting that your deposit is held in an approved scheme. If your landlord either fails to reply to your letter or refuses to protect your deposit then you could take court action.

What protection do I get from the tenancy deposit protection scheme?

Basically it ensures that your deposit is held safely by a third party, the scheme can also offer assistance in the case of a dispute.

Will my deposit be returned at the end of my tenancy?

Your deposit should be returned to you within 10 days, however the landlord is allowed to make deductions for the following reasons.

- damage to the property

- missing items

- cleaning

- unpaid rent

At the start of your tenancy make sure an inventory is carried out so there are no arguments later on.

A landlord cannot deduct money for ordinary wear and tear.

Why can't I just not pay my last months rent?

Paying your rent is a legal requirement under your tenancy agreement. If you don't pay a months rent, as a means of getting your deposit back, then your landlord could take court action against you.

For more information on tenancy deposits visit www.shelter.org.uk

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