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How to get your deposit back

If your landlord does not reply

You can ask your deposit protection scheme to help get your money back.

First check if your landlord has used a:

  • custodial scheme

  • insurance scheme

All 3 deposit scheme providers offer both types of scheme.

Check with your deposit scheme to see which one you have.

Deposits in a custodial scheme

The scheme has your money.

You can ask the scheme for your deposit back if your tenancy ended over 2 weeks ago and either:

  • you do not have an address for your landlord or a way to contact them

  • you wrote to your landlord to ask for a refund at least 2 weeks ago but they have not replied

How to start a claim with a custodial scheme

Check your scheme’s website to see how to start:

The scheme will send you a form and guidance on how to fill it in.

You might need to print it out or they can send it to you by post.

You need to fill in the form and ask a solicitor to witness you sign it. The solicitor can only charge £5 for this.

The form is your legal statement that the tenancy has ended and your landlord has not replied, or you have no way of contacting them. It is called a 'statutory declaration'.

Getting your money back

The scheme contacts your landlord or agent and give them a 2 week deadline to reply.

You get your full deposit back from the scheme if your landlord does not reply in time. The scheme should pay you within 10 days of the deadline passing.

If your landlord replies in time, the scheme will offer their dispute resolution service.

If you still cannot agree and do not want to use dispute resolution, you need to take court action to get your deposit back.

Deposits in an insurance scheme

The landlord or agent has your money.

Tell the scheme if the landlord or agent do not reply or refund your deposit within 10 days of you writing to ask for it back.

The scheme will contact your landlord. They will tell them to pay the money into an account until the dispute is resolved and offer dispute resolution to you both.

If your landlord does not reply, the scheme could treat it as if they have given consent for dispute resolution. If this happens the scheme will make a decision based on what you have told them.

Taking court action

You might need to get a money order if:

  • the landlord will not use dispute resolution

  • the scheme decides not to offer dispute resolution

For example, if the scheme has ended the landlord's membership.

A money order is a court order that says how much the landlord must pay you.

You can use the small claim process to get a money order. It can take several months.

If the landlord does not reply to your claim within 14 days you can ask the court for a quick decision. This is called a 'judgment by default'. It is a type of money order.

Find out how to get your deposit back through court action.

If you get a money order, send a copy to the scheme. The scheme refunds your money.

Last updated: 9 May 2024