When can you withhold the deposit

23rd January 2018 posted in Landlords

Deposit disputes

At the end of the tenancy, if the tenant has met the terms of the tenancy agreement, not caused any damage to the property and paid their rent and bills, you must return the deposit in full.

You can expect the property to be in a similar condition and state of cleanliness as it was at the start of the tenancy, taking into consideration normal wear and tear. For example, if a carpet is fraying or decoration looking tired, this is normally classed as wear and tear and is not your tenant’s responsibility. For things like stains on the carpet or obvious malicious damage to the walls, you can reasonably request to withhold some or all of the deposit to cover costs of repair and cleaning. If necessary, you can also withhold some or all of the deposit to cover unpaid rent.

As your agent, we will help you come to an agreement with the tenant on the amount to be retained; if you choose to self-manage, you will have to do this yourself. Once an agreement has been reached, the deposit monies must be returned within the time stated by the government scheme you use, or if down to you, ideally within 10 days.

If you cannot come to an agreement, assuming it is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) and the deposit is therefore protected in a government-approved deposit protection scheme, the tenant can turn to the scheme’s free dispute resolution service for an independent decision. This saves you both having to go to court, which is expensive and time-consuming.

You and the tenant will both be asked to provide evidence to support your claims, which highlights the importance of good record-keeping and especially a detailed, independent inventory. In the case of damage to the property, you will need to prove it was caused by the tenant and not simply wear and tear.

At Hunters, we protect our tenants’ deposits in one of the government approved schemes. For example, Deposit Protection Service, Tenancy Deposit Scheme or MyDeposits. More information can be found about them on the appropriate deposit websites e.g. www.mydeposits.co.uk.

 “The detailed inventory we provide at the start of the tenancy makes solving any disputes over the deposit straightforward. The use of MyDeposits to hold tenants’ deposits means all parties are protected.” –  Emma Heron, Branch Manager, York