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Deposits

How much security deposit is likely to be asked for?

In most circumstances this deposit will equate to a figure approximating to 1 – 2 months rent. 

A higher security deposit may be required in the event of additional tenants or pets. This is to cover the greater potential for damage to be incurred at the property. 

What does it cover?

The purposes for which the landlord can call upon the security deposit should be outlined in the contract.

Commonly, however, it provides as security for physical damage or neglect of the property (dilapidations) over and above general acceptable wear and tear, or protects the landlord against the financial loss of missed rent.

Registration with Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme

Upon receipt of this security deposit the landlord currently has 30 days to register the deposit with one of the 3 Government approved Tenancy Deposit Protection schemes.

Failure to do so could result in financial penalties being awarded to the outgoing tenants and the landlord’s ability to gain vacant possession of the property being compromised.

Return of deposit

At the end of the tenancy the security deposit will be returned to the tenant, unless a claim is made against it by the Landlord or his agent.

The tenancy agreement will normally outline the circumstances under which some, or all, of the security deposit can be retained by the landlord.

Disputes

In the event of a dispute the undisputed amount of deposit should be returned to the tenant or landlord as appropriate.

When a landlord and tenant cannot resolve a dispute, either by themselves, or with the assistance of the landlord’s agent, the matter can be referred to the TDS scheme mediation service for adjudication.

Alternatively cases can be referred to the courts.

Third Party deposits

Registration of the deposit through one of the approved TDP schemes is mandatory even when that deposit has been provided by a third party – by the tenant’s parents, for example.

Future Developments

There are proposals being considered to introduce a ban on any fees being charged to tenants.

The Draft Tenant Fees Bill also proposed to cap the level of security deposits to the equivalent of 6 weeks rent. Currently this bill is awaiting Parliamentary approval.