Everything landlords need to know about deposit claim deadlines

Do you know how long you have to return a deposit at the end of a tenancy? Unless you have the tenant’s agreement or a ruling to say otherwise, it has to be returned. It may be that it slipped your mind or you are making a claim against the tenant for damages or non-payment for bills. However, there are still deadlines to adhere to.

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Where to find the deadlines?

These could be in the assured shorthold tenancy agreement, which will say how many days after the tenancy ends you have to make a claim. There will also be a deadline stated in the deposit scheme where the money is held. This could say something like the landlord or agent has a maximum of 10 working days to make a claim.

Where is the deposit registered?

In England and Wales, the deposit must be registered with a tenancy deposit scheme, such as Deposit Protection Service or MyDeposits. There are separate TDP schemes in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Deposits must be placed into one of the schemes within 30 days of the landlord receiving them.

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Raising disputes

If a landlord wants to raise a dispute with the tenancy deposit scheme, it has to be done within three months of the end of the tenancy. Once it receives a case, it will get in touch with the tenant for a response and then pass the evidence to an impartial adjudicator. This will decide whether there is a claim and how the deposit should be apportioned if there is a case to answer.

How to cover yourself

Although you can claim against a tenant for any damage, loss of property, theft or non-payment of rent, good landlord insurance is essential too. Then you can be assured you are covered, even if a claim goes against you. Specialist landlord insurance can also cover loss of rent and alternative accommodation for tenants if the property is accidentally damaged or out of action for some reason. You can find quotes for cheap landlords insurance from companies such as

Keep a note of all paperwork and documents, so they are easy to find. You can also set up alerts for when your insurance runs out or the deadline for when a tenant’s deposit has to be given back.

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