How does a landlord or agent have to treat my deposit/bond?
If you signed an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) then your deposit must be protected in a Deposit Protection Scheme.
If your deposit is registered in a Deposit Scheme and you cannot agree to an amount to be deducted with your landlord or agent, then you have the right to use a free arbitration service called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
This is a free service operated by the Deposit Protection Schemes where both you and your landlord submit your claims and supporting evidence and someone independent looks at the evidence and decides what they believe is fair.
What if my deposit was not protected correctly?
If your deposit was not protected, or it was protected more than 30 days after you paid it, your landlord or agent has broken the law.
It is written in Section 213 of the Housing Act 2004 that the tenants and the relevant persons must be given information proving the deposit is protected, this is called the Prescribed Information and is sometimes in the form of a Deposit Protection Certificate (DPC).
- The deposit was not protected
- The deposit was protected more than 30 days after you paid it
- The Prescribed Information was not given to the tenants and relevant persons
- The wrong deposit amount is protected on the Deposit Protection
- Not all tenants or relevant persons are listed on the Deposit Protection
Then you are entitled to the return of the deposit, and up to 3 times the amount of the deposit as compensation.
Please see the Frequently Asked Questions below for more information about deposit protection laws and your entitlement to compensation
Your landlord or letting agent has broken the law, and your rights have been affected. This law ( Section 213 and Section 214 of the 2004 Housing Act ) is important to stop landlords and agents from stealing deposits from tenants.
It is usually the case that tenants who do not have a protected deposit experience poor, unprofessional behaviour from their landlord and agent, which is both stressful and unfair.
The compensation is at a judge’s discretion. Experience with helping tenants exercise their legal rights allows us to have a very good idea of how much compensation you can expect, based on understanding your particular situation.
Factors that affect the amount are:
- If the landlord a company or an individual
- The number of properties the landlord owns
- If the deposit was protected incorrectly or was never protected
- How the landlord or agent behaved with respect to returning the deposit
- How well landlord and tenant have engaged with Pre Action protocol?
The correct way to do this is using the N208 claim form. However, it is very unwise to start a claim without speaking to an advisor first. The losing side in these claims often has to pay the legal fees to the winner, so it can be sensible to have a solicitor. If you have a claim, we can refer you to a solicitor who has experience and a good standard of client care.
Justice for Tenants’ mission statement is to help tenants and improve standards in the private rented sector. If you simply want your deposit back, we can write to the landlord or agent, explain that you have a claim for compensation, but if the full deposit is returned within a week you will not take action. This tends to be very effective, especially with larger landlords or agents, who may have had experience with Justice For Tenants before.