Tenancy Deposit Protection: Guide
Tenancy Deposit Protection
1. The Essentials
An outline of what this pack is about
2. Who can claim?
Easy checklist to find out if you are eligible to claim
3. Who is the claim against and who is my landlord?
How to check who and where they are if you don’t already know
4. What is the claim for?
What you are entitled to ask the court to do and claiming interest
5. What evidence will I need?
Gathering all the information required to bring a successful claim
6. How much will I have to pay – and can I claim it back?
A guide to court fees and fee concessions
7. Where do I start if I want to take formal action?
Steps to take before bringing a claim, and getting a claim started
8. What is the procedure, and will I have to go to court?
What to expect once you have set the ball rolling
9. What happens if I win – or lose?
The court order and how it is enforced
10. Jargon Buster
A list of technical terms and their meanings
11. Letter before action
Sample letter to landlord requesting return/protection of deposit
12. Letter to agent
Requesting information about a missing or unknown landlord
13. Letter to scheme administrator
Finding out whether your deposit is protected
14. Claim form N1
A guide to completing the form, and specimen wording for your claim
15. Courts service leaflets
More detailed information on how the courts work
TENANCY DEPOSIT CLAIMS
1. THE ESSENTIALS
1. you are taking an assured shorthold tenancy; and
2. you pay the landlord a deposit; and
3. the deposit can be used if you fall into arrears or mess up the property
1. the landlord must protect the deposit by putting it in an approved scheme
2. the landlord must give you specified information about the scheme
Otherwise you can take the landlord to court and if you win
1. the landlord will have to protect the deposit, or repay it to you
2. the landlord will have to pay you three times the deposit in compensation
3. the landlord will have to repay your court fees This information pack will help you decide whether it is worth taking your landlord to court, and contains copies of all the forms and court leaflets you will need, as well as details of where you can get more information. This pack also has a Jargon Buster at section 10 to explain the technical words and expressions used in this pack.
If your annual income is less than £12,000, you will probably not have to pay court fees. There is never any guarantee that you will win a court case, but if your claim is for less than £5,000 you will not normally have to pay your landlord’s solicitor’s fees if you lose.
The time limit for bringing a claim is six years.
Your landlord may defend the claim, or make a counter-claim, if you are in arrears or you breached the terms of the tenancy agreement.
2. WHO CAN CLAIM?
CAN YOU ANSWER YES TO ALL THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS?
If you can answer YES to ALL the following, you are probably entitled to make a claim.
If you are not sure of the answer, or if you answer NO to any of the questions, see the next page for guidance – you may still be able to make a claim.
1 Did your tenancy begin on or after 6 April 2007?
2 Is/was the annual rent £25,000 or less?
3 Do you/did you occupy the property as your main or principal home?
4 Does/did your landlord live somewhere else, not at the property?
5 Is/was your landlord a private sector lettings landlord?
6 Did you pay your landlord, or your landlord’s agent, a deposit?
7 Is/was the deposit to be used to pay for any arrears of rent or damage?
8 Did you pay the deposit more than 14 days ago?
9 You have received no information from the landlord or the landlord’s agent about a tenancy deposit protection scheme.
10 You have not been able to get confirmation from a tenancy deposit scheme administrator that your deposit has been paid into a scheme.
(You do not have to be (or have been) the tenant to bring a claim. If you paid the deposit on behalf of a tenant, you can claim in your own right)
11. If you had a tenancy agreement, the agreement must also have been dated on or after 6 April 2007
Did You Answer No To Any Of The Qualifying Questions?
You may still be entitled to make a claim – see the guidance notes below
1. Did your tenancy begin on or after 6 April 2007?
Only tenancies beginning on or after 6 April 2007 have to be protected. If you had an agreement before 6 April, for a tenancy starting after 6 April 2007, your deposit did not have to be protected. If you renew your tenancy after 6 April 2007, your deposit will have to be protected.
2. Is/was the annual rent £25,000 or less?
Tenancies where the annual rent (excluding service charge, insurance, utility payments and other extras) is more than £25,000 are not assured shorthold tenancies, and the deposit does not have to be protected in a scheme. If the tenancy is/was for a shared home on a joint tenancy, it is the total rent for the group that counts. Your tenancy agreement should say if it is a joint tenancy. If your tenancy agreement is just for a single room in a shared house, you only need to take into account the rent for that room.
'3. Do you /did you, occupy the property as your main or principal home?
Only deposits in relation to properties let to individuals as their main or principal place of residence have to be protected in a scheme.
4. Does/did your landlord live somewhere else, not at the property?
If the landlord lives at the property, he will not usually have to protect the deposit. The rules are complicated, see paragraph 10 of Schedule 1 of the Housing Act 1988 at Housing Act 1988 (c. 50) Take further advice if you are not sure.
5. Did you pay your landlord, or your landlord’s agent, a deposit?
If you didn’t actually pay a deposit, you can’t claim against the landlord for a refund of it! You will not be entitled to claim 3 times the deposit in compensation, either.
6. Is/was the deposit to be used to pay for any arrears of rent or damage?
If the deposit was simply an advance payment of rent, it does not have to be protected in a scheme. If the deposit was a holding deposit, or retainer, to make sure the landlord or the agent kept the property for you, it does not have to be protected. Deposits do have to be protected if they are taken as security for the tenant’s performance of their obligations.
7. Did you pay the deposit more than 14 days ago?
Landlords and agents have 14 days from receipt to protect the deposit.
8. You have received no information from the landlord or the landlord’s agent about a tenancy deposit protection scheme.
Landlords and agents have 14 days from receiving the deposit to provide the prescribed information about the deposit.
9. You have not been able to get confirmation from a tenancy deposit scheme administrator that your deposit has been paid into a scheme.
If the scheme administrator has confirmed that your deposit has been protected within a scheme, you may still be entitled to bring a claim on the grounds that you were not given the prescribed information.
====3. WHO IS THE CLAIM AGAINST AND WHO IS MY LANDLORD?==== The claim is against the person who received the deposit. If you paid your deposit to an agent, it depends on whether they were:
* “letting only”, in which case they should have paid your deposit to the landlord and the landlord should protect it, or * “managing agent” and directly responsible for protecting the deposit.
The law says that “landlord” includes anyone acting on the landlord’s behalf. If in doubt, sue the landlord. If more than one person is your landlord, you should make the claim against all of them. To find out if you have more than one landlord, follow the guidance in the next paragraphs.
Landlords must give tenants an address where notices, including court forms, may be served on them.
It has to be an address in England and Wales, but it can be their agent’s name and address. If you are not certain who your landlord is, you can find out by downloading and completing form:
and sending it with a cheque or postal order for £4 to the land registry responsible for the property. Contact details are given at:
In a couple of days the Land Registry will send you a copy of the title information document, showing you who is the “registered proprietor” of the property, and their address. Sometimes this will be the address of the property you rent, but if you have no other address for the landlord, then you can write to them there. (There are special procedures for landlords who do not respond to court correspondence – see section eight.
Alternatively, you can write (use recorded delivery, and keep a copy of the letter) to the person you have been paying rent to, asking them for the landlord’s full name and address. It is a criminal offence for that person to fail to reply within 21 days, and you should report it to the Tenancy Relations Officer at your local council, who can prosecute. There is a sample letter at section 12. If you have the landlord’s name, you can use the electoral roll to try and find them. If you draw a blank, there are specialist agencies that can be used to trace people. Tracing agents advertise on the internet, and fees will vary, so shop around. The more information you can give about your landlord, the better the prospects of finding them. Where the landlord has not given details of an address for service, then rent is not legally due. You may want to consider including a claim for rent with your claim for the deposit if this applies to you – take further advice from Shelter, or Citizens Advice Bureau. If the landlord lives or carries on business outside the area where the property is situated, s/he can ask the court to move the proceedings to their local court. The court will tell you if this happens and explain what to do.
4. WHAT IS THE CLAIM FOR? Landlords and agents who take money from tenants and prospective tenants must put that money into an authorized tenancy deposit protection scheme within 14 days of receiving it, if the tenancy is an assured shorthold tenancy. Landlords and agents also have an obligation to give prescribed information to the tenant, and to anyone who paid the deposit on the tenant’s behalf, within 14 days of receiving the deposit. If the landlord or agent fails to protect the deposit, or if they fail to provide the prescribed information, the tenant or the person who paid the deposit can take the landlord or agent to court, and ask for an order:
* That the deposit is repaid (if the tenancy has already ended) or * That the deposit is put into the custodial protection scheme (if the tenancy is ongoing)
If the court makes one of the above orders, it must also order the landlord or the agent to pay the claimant an amount equal to three times the deposit.
You can also claim interest (see below) and court fees (see section 6). If the landlord has protected the deposit, and has given the prescribed information, but did not do so within 14 days of receiving the deposit, your claim may not succeed, but this is not certain. If the landlord repays your deposit before the case is decided in court, it is likely that your claim will be treated as settled, but this is not certain. Your claim for compensation may not succeed if the deposit has already been protected or repaid before the case is heard in court – even if it was not protected when you issued your claim. This is because the court can order repayment or protection, and then if it makes such an order it must also order compensation. The legislation does not provide for the court to make a compensation order if the deposit has already been refunded or protected. The stated purpose of the legislation is to protect tenancy deposits – not to provide windfalls for tenants. However, if the court decides that a landlord wrongly refused to repay a deposit or protect it, then the courts will order the landlord to pay the tenant compensation.
Claiming interest You are entitled to interest on money you are owed. If the landlord offers to settle your claim, make sure s/he agrees to pay interest up to the date of settlement, and your court fees, as well as the amount of the deposit. The claim form (see sections 7 and 14) shows you how to claim for interest, but you will need to calculate how much interest you are owed. Court leaflet EX302 explains how to do this. See the copy of the leaflet at the back of this pack, or download your own from:
You need to calculate the daily rate of interest, which is 0.00022 x amount claimed. You also need to calculate the amount owed up to the date you issue your claim in the court. Do this by multiplying the days from the date the deposit should have been paid into the scheme (or the date the prescribed information should have been given) up to the date you pay the court fee and “issue” the claim in court.
Example Your claim is for £800. Daily rate of interest = £800 x 0.00022 = £0.176 Your deposit should have been protected on 1 May. You issue your claim on 27 May. Daily rate of interest £0.176 x 26 days elapsed = Interest due of £4.58 If your claim goes all the way to a hearing, and you win, the court will add interest for the time between the issue of your claim and the day of judgment. You cannot claim interest for the period after judgment on sums less than £5,000.