When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Getting your deposit back

Most tenants pay a security deposit when they move into a property. This is your money and you should get it back when you move out. Your landlord can keep some of the money if you

  • owe rent,
  • have caused damage or
  • you've broken the tenancy agreement and this has cost the landlord money.

If your landlord has unfairly kept some of your deposit you should try to get this money back.

If you paid your deposit on or after 1 April 2013 you'll need to raise a dispute with your tenancy deposit protection scheme.  If you paid the deposit before 1 April 2013, you'll have to write to your landlord to try to get your money back.  If the landlord won't agree, you may need to go to Small Claims Court. 

Most landlords will ask you for a deposit. They have to protect this in a deposit scheme. The deposit is your money and you should get it back when you move out. 

The landlord can use this deposit at the end of the tenancy to cover certain costs. You can challenge this. 

You'll need to negotiate with your landlord to try to get your money back. Any negotiating should be done in writing and you need to keep copies of any emails or letters you send. If you're not able to agree with your landlord, you can go to Small Claims Court to see if a judge thinks you should get your money back.

Your landlord needs to have proper reasons to make a claim on your deposit money. All landlords have a legal responsibility to provide tenants with an inventory at the start of their tenancy. A good landlord should take a detailed inventory when you move into the property and use the same inventory when you move out of the property to check if the condition or cleanliness of the property has got a lot worse.

You can use the Small Claims Court to take legal action against someone if you are claiming less than £5000. You don't need a solicitor to go to Small Claims Court so the costs are much lower than the costs for other types of legal action.

The entire deposit for a shared property is normally protected as a lump sum. One tenant will act as the lead tenant. The lead tenant is the only tenant that the deposit company will deal with.