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Tenancy Deposit Compensation Claims Guide – How To Claim Compensation From A Landlord For Tenancy Deposit?

If you have paid your current or former landlord a rental deposit in the last six years and your landlord has not returned the deposit in whole or in part (without good cause to do so) you could be able to make a tenancy deposit compensation claim.

Tenancy deposit

Tenancy deposit

If you have paid a deposit to a landlord as part of a rental agreement (and in circumstances meeting the requirements we shall look at below) you could be able to claim compensation for tenancy deposits not being returned to you. There are even circumstances where you could claim compensation, even if the full deposit has been returned to you. In some cases where the deposit was returned but not protected, you could still be able to take action against your current or former landlord. As well as repaying deposits to tenants, landlords in England and Wales could also be required to place deposits into a specially protected scheme backed by the government.

Your landlord may have been required by law to have put your rent deposit into one of three Government-backed tenancy deposit schemes. If they have not done so, as well as being open to a compensation claim, they could also face a penalty for not protecting your deposit.

If any of the above circumstances describe a situation which you have faced, our panel of solicitors could help you to claim compensation and hold your errant landlord to account.

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A Guide To Tenancy Deposit Compensation Claims

In England and Wales the law states that if you pay a deposit to your landlord, this deposit should be protected and deposited into one of three different tenancy deposit protection schemes which are backed by the government. There are different rules in place governing deposits in Scotland and Northern Ireland which you can find here (Scotland) and here (Northern Ireland). If your tenancy agreement is an assured shorthold tenancy and if that tenancy started after April 6, 2007, the deposit should be protected.

These deposit protection schemes were brought in to prevent your landlord from using your deposit as additional income. It was also designed to make getting your deposit back easier. Current laws also state that if you started your tenancy agreement in the last six years, your landlord is obliged to have taken certain actions. If they have not done things like placing your deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme, you could claim compensation and/ or your money back.

Steps your landlord is required to take include;

  • Paying your rental deposit into one of the three government approved and backed tenancy deposit protection schemes.
  • Telling you which of these schemes the deposit was paid into and providing you with information on the scheme.
  • Protect the deposit and provide you information about how it is protected within thirty days of you paying the deposit.

In such cases where these steps have not been taken, you could be able to make a tenant deposit protection compensation claim for between one and three times your original deposit.

What Is Tenancy Deposit Protection?

When you rent a property or even a room in shared accommodation, it is standard for the landlord to ask for a deposit. This is generally in order to secure the tenancy on the property before the new tenant moves in and to provide the landlord security in circumstances, such as the tenant not paying rent. When you pay this deposit, the landlord must follow certain procedures. Chiefly among these is placing the deposit with one of the following protection schemes.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme
MyDeposits
Deposit Protection Service

If the landlord chooses not to pay the deposit into one of these schemes, they will then need to have an insurance policy in place to ensure that your deposit is protected for the duration of your tenancy and occupation of the property.

How do I know if my landlord has protected my deposit?

In April of 2007 laws were introduced which require your landlord to do this. If your landlord has not done so, or if they have failed to notify you of which scheme your deposit is held with, you could make a tenancy deposit protection compensation claim.

Tenancy Deposit Protection Rules In England And Wales

If you are renting a property with what is called an assured shorthold tenancy, the landlord must follow the governing rules. These rules are different in Scotland and Northern Ireland compared to England and Wales. In England and Wales, this is the most common type of tenancy. In cases where you have paid your deposit via an agency, the landlord may instead ask the agency to protect the deposit on behalf of them. The letting agent has to abide by the same regulations.

Once the deposit has been made (and within 30 days of payment) the landlord or estate agent has to provide you with the following information.

  • How much you have paid as a deposit and the address of the property you are renting.
  • Details of how to contact your landlord or agent as well as the applicable protection scheme.
  • Information about how this scheme works.
  • How you can and will get your deposit back, and what deductions could be made. This may also include details on when can a tenant claim compensation.
  • What will happen if you and the landlord have a dispute with regards to the deposit? Again, this may include information on claiming compensation for tenancy deposits which are not returned.

This notification should be signed by the party whom you paid the deposit to, be they an agent or a landlord.

How Should Your Rental Deposit Be Protected?

Depending on when your tenancy started and when the deposit was paid, there may be different rules about how it should be protected and time limits for protecting the deposit. As we have seen, since 2007, deposits should be protected with one of the government-backed agencies listed above or adequate insurance should be put in place to protect the deposit if the landlord does not place it with an agency.

However, the time limits within which the deposit must be protected and after which you could make a tenancy deposit dispute differ. Your landlord is required to protect your deposit and notify you of which scheme it is held with, within 30 days. Beyond this, they may be in breach of the rules and you may be able to make a tenancy deposit compensation claim.

There are different time limits for deposits which were made prior to April 6, 2012.

Date deposit was made/ type of deposit.Time limit to have protected it.
April 6, 2007 - April 5, 2012Protected by May 6, 2012
Prior to April 6, 2007The deposit does not need to be protected. However, if you are served with a section 21 notice, the deposit must be returned.
Fixed term assured (shorthold) tenancies which ended sometime after April 2007.June 23, 2015
For tenancies renewed between April 6, 2007 and April 5, 2012.May 6, 2012
In cases where you renewed your rental on/ after April 6, 2012.30 days

Check If Your Deposit Has To Be Protected – Some Do Not

At this point you may be asking “how do I know if my landlord has protected my deposit?” what we should note is that not every type of tenancy or rental deposit requires your deposit to be paid into a protection scheme. In the following instances, your deposit does not need to be placed in a protection scheme;

  • If you are lodging in the same premises as your landlord. This may include renting a room in a house or flat.
  • If you are renting accommodation in halls of residence as a student. Such as on a university campus.
  • If your tenancy is one which is assured or one which is a pre-January 1989 tenancy which is regulated.

In such circumstances you could still take a landlord to court for not protecting your deposit as whilst they are not obliged to use a scheme, they do have to protect them in some way.

Circumstances Of How And When Tenancy Deposits Should Be Returned

If you can show evidence that you have kept up to date with your rental payments and that you have not caused any damage to the property, your deposit should be fully returned to you. If your deposit is not returned within 10 days of the end of your tenancy agreement, the landlord could be seen to be withholding the deposit from you. The landlord must return the deposit to you in full. If they have not done so, you could be able to make a claim for your deposit. In some cases, you could be able to recover up to three times the original value of your deposit.

You may also be able to make a tenancy deposit dispute claim with the landlord if they have made unreasonable deductions from the deposit. By law, they could only make any deductions from the deposit if they can show evidence of a financial loss. Losses which they could deduct could include things such as arrears for your rent, property damage, or unexpected cleaning fees. The landlord could not deduct the cost of normal wear and tear of the property. To find out how do I get my tenancy deposit back, talk to a member of our team today.

When Am I Eligible To Make A Claim?

Essentially, you could be able to make a tenancy deposit compensation claim if your landlord has not followed the law in the area. If the deposit was not correctly protected you could be eligible to claim damages, or even if your deposit was returned in full, but not protected, you could be able to claim compensation of up to three times the original deposit. Even if the landlord did protect the deposit but did not provide information as to how the deposit was protected, you could have grounds to make a claim against them.

Examples of what the landlord could deduct from a deposit.

  • Outstanding rent.
  • If you have caused damage to the property
  • If you have lost items from the property inventory.

Examples of what they can not deduct from a deposit.

  • The cost of usual wear-and-tear, such as needing to replace a carpet.
  • Fixing repairs which should have previously been repaired.

If I Have Received Part Of The Money Back, Can I Still Claim?

If the landlord only returned part of your deposit and you believe that you should have had the full amount returned to you, you could be able to make a claim. If the landlord has made unreasonable deductions you could make a tenant deposit scheme compensation claim. You will need to show that you were up to date with all rent due (as per your rental agreement) and that you have not caused any damage to the property, showing that the landlord did not have good reason to retain the portion of the deposit that they did.

If the landlord does not return your deposit in full, you make a claim and may need to take the landlord to court for the deposit.

Even If I Have Received All Of The Money Back, Can I Still Claim?

We have seen that there are cases where your deposit was fully returned to you, but where you could still be able to claim compensation. You could be able to take your landlord to court for not protecting your deposit, even if the deposit was fully returned to you.

You may also be able to make a claim if the deposit was not returned to you within 10 days, or even simply if you were not provided with the right information about where and how your deposit is being protected. To check where and when a tenant can claim compensation, please contact our team.

What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Claim?

In order to claim compensation for late protection of deposit, not getting your deposit back, or the deposit not being protected at all, you just need a few pieces of evidence. These are;

  • Your tenancy agreement.
  • Evidence that you paid the relevant party the deposit.
  • Correspondence between you and your landlord discussing the deposit.
  • Evidence that you have paid your rent (dates and amounts).
  • Any evidence that you have searched through the websites of deposit protection agencies.

Writing To Notify Your Landlord You Intend To Claim

If your landlord does owe you part or all of your deposit, you will need to send a formal letter to the landlord. This is called a ‘letter before action’ and it could be written and sent by your solicitor. In this letter, you need to set out the details of your tenancy deposit compensation claim. Similarly, you can take a landlords agent to court for not protecting a deposit, or not repaying it fully. In many cases, the landlord will agree to pay your deposit back as well as potentially pay compensation without the case going to court.

Will My Claim Need To Go To Court?

As we have said, in many cases the landlord or their agent will agree to settle the claim prior to the case going to court. When they receive the letter from your solicitor, or at another stage prior to court, the landlord or agent may choose to make an out of court settlement offer. Your solicitor will advise you of whether you should or should not accept this offer.

What Happens If My Tenancy Deposit Compensation Claim Goes To Court?

If your claim does need to go to court, both you and the landlord or agent can be represented by solicitors. The judge will review the evidence presented by solicitors acting on behalf of you and the defendant in the claim. They may ask questions about the evidence and the claim. If the judge finds in your favour, the court will then determine how much the defendant (landlord) should pay in order the satisfy the claim.

If you are taking a landlord to court for a deposit after having ended your tenancy, the court could order the repayment of part or all of the deposit. If you are still a tenant, the court could order the landlord to place the deposit in a protection scheme and could issue a penalty for not protecting the deposit.

Tenancy Deposit Compensation Claim Calculator

If your claim does go to court, they will decide how much compensation you could get. In general, this could be between one and three times the amount you paid as a deposit. In some circumstances, this could be higher. Higher compensation amounts could be awarded if;

  • Your claim is against a professional landlord.
  • Where you rented through a lettings agency.
  • Where the deposit was not protected at all.

In cases where a landlord was a little late in protecting the deposit, a lower settlement may be awarded.

Deposit AmountPotential Compensation
£500£1,500 may very
£1,000£1,000 - £3,000 may very
£1,500£4,500 may very

No Win No Fee Tenancy Deposit Compensation Claims Against A Landlord

If you are claiming compensation in relation to a tenancy deposit, you will not be able to get help in the form of legal aid. However, you could be able to claim compensation and your deposit back with a no win no fee solicitor. Known as conditional fee agreements, these types of contract allow a claimant to pursue compensation without having to worry about how much it will cost them. Find out more about how these claims work here.

How Our Specialist Solicitors Could Help You

What do you do if your landlord hasn’t protected your deposit, or if they are not fully returning it to you? One course of action is to contact a specialist solicitor who could help you to reclaim your money, and who could even secure you compensation.

Contact Legal Expert Today

There are several ways to contact Legal Expert and start your tenancy deposit compensation claim. You can phone and talk to one of our experts on 0800 073 8804. You can also send details of your rental deposit dispute to Office@legalexpert.co.uk. Or, you can use the online support feature or contact form to send a message about your claim to us.

Related Compensation Claims Against Landlords

In addition to tenancy deposit compensation claims, at Legal Expert, we are also able to help you make a claim for damages and compensation against a current or former landlord in a variety of different circumstances. You can find these guides below.

Compensation Claims Against A Landlord
In this article, we look at circumstances in which a personal injury solicitor could help you to make a personal injury claim against a landlord.

Housing Disrepair And Rising Damp
Rising damp can lead to mould which could cause damage to both your personal property as well as your health. Find out how to make a personal injury claim in this guide.

Damage To Clothes And Personal Property
If your clothing has been damaged due to your landlord not maintaining the property correctly, you could be able to claim compensation.

In Addition, if you have had or are currently experiencing problems with your landlord, you could find information on where to get help or action you can take at these government guides.

Government Guide To Renting Privately
This article looks at things which renters and tenants need to know before they rent a property or room from a landlord.

Private Renting Tenancy Agreements
This guide provides information on what tenancy agreements are and what tenants need to know.

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