Deposits and Deductions

Deposit Protection Schemes

All landlords need to take part in deposit protection schemes.  A deposit protection scheme looks after the tenancy deposit, so that the landlord and tenant can be confident that the tenancy deposits are safe and not being improperly accessed. They determine when and how landlords can make deposit deductions at the end of a tenancy, as well as helping to arbitrate deposit disputes and disagreements over things like unpaid rent and what counts as fair wear and tear.

Landlord Responsibilities with the Tenancy Deposit

Since 2007, any landlord of a rented property needs to take part in a deposit protection scheme. The landlord is required to do this within 30 days after the deposit has been paid. The tenancy deposit is the legal property of the tenants. While the tenancy period is active, neither party can access the money.

After the tenancy ends, the tenant must request the deposit be returned by the landlord. The landlord can then state if they want to make any tenancy deposit deductions. They must list the deductions, and the reasons why they require the landlord to deduct money.

A deduction can be only be agreed on if:

  • The tenant agrees to the deductions.
  • A dispute resolution process has been followed.
  • A court order has been issued.

Common Reasons for Deposit Deductions

A deposit is meant to cover the reasonable cost of work that a landlord needs to carry out at the end of your tenancy that is not accounted for in your tenancy agreement. This might include:

  • Outstanding rent
  • Unpaid utility bills
  • Damage to the property beyond reasonable wear and tear
  • Damage due to negligence
  • Additional cleaning needed

Protections in your tenancy agreement

Your tenancy agreement should cover the basic conditions that the tenant and the landlord agree to keep the property in. However, there are also a series of basic types of maintenance standards that the landlord is required to keep the property at. These might be:

  • Repair of appliances and necessary sanitary conveniences
  • Maintenance and repair of the structure of the building – internal and external.

What to do if you believe you have suffered an unfair deposit deduction

If a tenant feels that they have suffered from unfair deposit deductions, they can enter a tenancy deposit dispute resolution scheme. These types of dispute resolution systems allow both parties to set out why they believe the deductions were either fair, or unfair. Both parties agree to abide by the ruling, and that if the disputed amount is agreed upon, it can be withdrawn from the deposit.