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Guide to holding deposits

If your holding deposit is not returned

The landlord or agent could keep your holding deposit if you:

They cannot keep your money for any other reason. 

For example, you should get your holding deposit back if you fail a credit or reference check, as long as you give honest and factual information.

The landlord or agent must tell you why they are keeping the holding deposit.

If they do not write to you with a reason within 7 days you have the right to a full refund, whatever the reason.

How to get your holding deposit back

Write to the landlord or agent if they keep a holding deposit when they should not. Ask for your money back in full.

All agents must belong to an independent scheme to resolve complaints. You can complain the letting agent's redress scheme if they do not refund your holding deposit,

The scheme can investigate your complaint and tell the agent to compensate you.

You could also complain to trading standards through the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

Trading standards can help you apply to a tribunal to get your money back and can fine the landlord or agent.

GOV.UK has forms and guidance about applying to a tribunal.

Last updated: 7 July 2022

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