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TENANCY DEPOSITS                  

 

 

Many private landlords and letting agents will ask you to pay a tenancy deposit. The tenancy deposit will often amount to around one month's worth of rent. It is important to be clear at the outset whether you are paying a tenancy deposit or rent in advance. This should be made clear in the tenancy agreement.

 

Contact us about problems with your deposit                    Download a factsheet about deposits

 

 

WHAT IS A DEPOSIT


A tenancy deposit is a returnable payment taken by the landlord or agent. The tenancy deposit is taken to compensate the landlord in the event that there are any arrears on the rent at the end of the tenancy or to pay for the cost of repairing unreasonable damage or cleaning at the end of the term of the tenancy.

The deposit should not be used to cover the cost of reasonable fair wear and tear.

 

 

DEPOSIT PROTECTION


Any tenancy deposit taken in relation to Assured Shorthold Tenancies created after 6th April 2007 must be protected with a government authorised deposit protection scheme.

The schemes protect the deposit and offer a means to resolve disputes between landlords/agents and tenants in the event of any dispute.

If you pay a holding deposit (i.e. money to hold a property before you sign a tenancy agreement), then this does not have to be protected. However, once you become a tenant, your holding deposit then becomes a deposit and therefore it must then be protected within 30 days.

 

These are the Government authorised deposit protection schemes:

 

www.depositprotection.com 

www.tenancydepositscheme.com                            

www.mydeposits.co.uk 

 

The landlord/letting agent must protect the deposit with an authorised scheme within 30 days of the deposit being paid to them. They must then supply you with the following information:

  • Amount of deposit

  • Address deposit relates to

  • Landlord contact details

  • Scheme name and contact details

  • Leaflet on how scheme works

  • Repayment procedure

  • Dispute procedure

  • What happens if either party cannot be contacted

  • Details of when all/part of the deposit can be retained

 

WHAT IF MY LANDLORD DOES NOT PROTECT MY DEPOSIT?


If the landlord/agent fails to protect the deposit with one of the schemes or provide the deposit scheme details within 30 days of receiving the deposit, then you can apply to the county court for the deposit to be protected or returned to you.

The court also has discretion to award you compensation of between 1 and 3 times the amount of the deposit.

 

 

GETTING YOUR DEPOSIT BACK AT THE END OF A TENANCY


At the end of your tenancy your landlord/agent will inform the deposit protection scheme that the tenancy has come to an end and how much deposit they think should be returned to you. You will then have a choice whether to accept this or to dispute it through your tenancy deposit protection scheme.

 

 

WHAT CAN MY LANDLORD CLAIM FOR OUT OF MY DEPOSIT?


Landlords may want to take some of the deposit to pay for rent arrears or damage to the property which occurred during the tenancy.

You should check your tenancy agreement carefully to ensure that you understand what maintenance you are responsible for during your stay and what the landlord is responsible for.

 

 

HOW LONG SHOULD IT TAKE TO GET MY DEPOSIT BACK?


If you and your landlord agree on the amount that will be returned then your landlord/agent must return your deposit within 10 days of agreement. If however, you are in a dispute with your landlord/agent over the amount of deposit to be returned, then it will be protected in the deposit scheme until the issue is resolved.

 

 

WHAT IF I DISAGREE WITH THE AMOUNT OF DEPOSIT THE LANDLORD WANTS TO GIVE BACK?


If there is a dispute between you and the landlord/agent as to how much deposit should be returned, then you can use the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process operated by your tenancy deposit protection scheme. Please note, you have 90 days to raise a dispute with your deposit protection scheme from the date your tenancy agreement ends.

They will look at the evidence provided by the tenants and landlord and then make a final decision on how much deposit is to be repaid to you.

If you or your landlord do not agree to use the ADR process then the dispute must usually be resolved by the county court.

 

In the case of a dispute, the deposit will be returned within 10 days of the scheme being notified of the ADR or county court's decision.

 

 

TIPS TO GET BACK THE FULL AMOUNT OF DEPOSIT


  • Check your inventory at the start of the tenancy indicating any damage in the property. If the landlord does not provide an inventory, then write to them detailing any damage or faults

  • During your tenancy, always report disrepair or breakages to your landlord immediately, preferably in writing

  • Try to keep your property clean and tidy during the tenancy as it is very difficult to remove 9 months of rubbish and grime in one last big clean!

  • Check your contract. Does it say the carpets need to be deep cleaned, or that all picture hooks need to be removed and filled in? If so, make sure these are sorted

  • Ensure nothing's missing or broken. Check the inventory thoroughly to make sure everything's as it should be, and replace or fix as needed

  • Take dated photos as proof you've left it in good order. These could be useful evidence later if a dispute arises over your deposit

  • Have a proper deep clean

  • Take final meter readings to make sure that you only pay for what utilities you have used while you were living in the property

  • Return the keys to the landlord and ask for a receipt or return the keys in the way the tenancy agreement asks you to do

Download a factsheet about deposits

Information about Tenancy Agreements

Information about guarantors

Liverpool Student Homes, 5 Oxford St, Liverpool, L7 7HL
Tel Main: 0151 794 3296, Email: lsh@liverpool.ac.uk

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