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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Deposit

If your tenants have left the property owing you arrears or have caused substantial damage in the property you can take court action against them. If they owe less than £3000 you can take a case in the Small Claims Court where you will not need a solicitor. Your tenants may also make a small claim against you if they feel you have unfairly kept their deposit.

Your tenants are expected to ensure your property is kept in a good state of decoration. This means that the tenant is expected to make sure the property is clean and ventilated. You can take legal action against your tenants if you believe you should be compensated for any damage caused to the property by your tenants.

If you paid your deposit on or after 1 April 2013, your landlord must protect it in an approved tenancy deposit scheme. These schemes work a little differently for joint tenants. Even though you might have paid your portion of the deposit directly to the agent or landlord, the landlord will protect the full deposit for the tenancy as one payment. This normally means that only one tenant, the lead tenant, will have the power to start the dispute process if you disagree with how the landlord has returned the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

The Housing Amendment Act (NI) 2011 introduced a legal requirement for any deposits taken as part of a residential tenancy to be registered with a tenancy deposit protection scheme. This requirement will apply to any deposits taken on or after 1 April 2013. Find out more about the requirements and appointed scheme administrators.

Most tenants pay a security deposit when they move into a property. This is the tenant's money and should be returned at the end of the tenancy unless the tenant owes the landlord money. The deposit should be returned in full unless the landlord has suffered a genuine financial loss as a result of your actions. If your landlord has unfairly kept some of your deposit you should try to get this money back.

If you and the tenant cannot agree with how the deposit money should be returned, the tenants may take legal action against you in the Small Claims Court. You should try to resolve the issue outside of court, if you can.

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