Landlords have to give back deposits when tenancies end, unless they have the tenant’s agreement or an adjudicator’s ruling, but in what timeframe?
You may have simply forgotten about returning the deposit or have decided to raise a claim against the tenant. Either way, there are deadlines that you need to be aware of.
- A guide to tenancy deposit protection for UK landlords
- Revealed: the most common reason for landlords to keep tenants’ deposits
- How could insurance-based tenancy deposit schemes help landlords?
- What is landlord insurance?
Where can I find information about the deposit deadlines?
These deadlines may be outlined in several places, such as the assured shorthold tenancy agreement and with the scheme that the deposit is safeguarded by.
For example, your tenancy agreement may state something along the lines of you having a certain number of days after the last day of the tenancy to notify the letting agent of your decision to make a claim.
The letting agent in question will be the one who originally found your tenant and the one who the tenant gave the deposit to at the start of the tenancy. (The letting agent would have then held the monies administered within a scheme such as Tenancy Deposit Scheme - TDS.)
The Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement
The paragraph in the tenancy agreement may read something along the lines of: “The agent has a maximum of 10 working days to raise a claim.”
If a landlord decides to notify the letting agent that they are making a claim, the money is then held by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme while the dispute is resolved through an adjudicator.
Want to know more? Check out our full article on Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements and download a free template.
Raising disputes with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme only accepts disputes up to three months after the end of a tenancy.
Once it has received a case, it will seek a response from the tenant - and all the evidence will be referred to an impartial adjudicator.
Within 28 days, it will examine all of the evidence to decide how the deposit should be apportioned and write a report explaining the reasons for their decision. It then issues the report and pays the disputed money accordingly.
If in any doubt, speak to your letting agent for more information about where your tenant’s deposit is registered and what the deadlines are. Just make sure you obtain everything in writing or on email.