Taking court action
If you are unable to negotiate with your landlord and an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is not available to you, you might consider taking court action.
Warning: This process can be complicated, costly and time-consuming. Before making a claim, make sure you seek legal advice.
Need help writing your letter?
Shelter England provide useful templates on their website.
It can take time to negotiate the release of a deposit. Sometimes deductions from the deposit will be reasonable and justified. On other occasions, you may feel the deductions are unreasonable. Initially, try to negotiate with the landlord or agent. It can be a lot easier and quicker to resolve it yourselves – the Student Hub can provide support with this.
If your landlord is refusing to refund part or all of your deposit and you disagree with their reason, if you cannot contact them or they deny responsibility, then you need to take further action.
If you have a Licence Agreement you can seek support from:
These places can offer support and advice to anyone in private rental accommodation.
What if my landlord won’t co-operate
If the landlord is refusing to co-operate with the scheme to resolve the dispute, it will be mandatory for the case to be referred to the scheme’s ADR service. The landlord must hand over the disputed amount to the scheme for safekeeping until the dispute is resolved. The scheme administrator will divide the disputed amount in accordance with the ADR services or the court’s decision.
More information can be found on the government's tenancy deposit website.
I’m not happy with the proposed deductions, what can I do?
Write to your landlord, your letter should include:
- Which costs you think are unreasonable
- The reasons why you think the costs are unreasonable (you can relate back to the check-in inventory). If you believe the landlord is charging you too much for the replacement of items, search online and find at least 3 quotes for similar items and include these)
- The amount you believe should be returned to you
- Request the landlord to send you the list of deductions and costs, if they haven’t already done so
My deposit has not been refunded within 10 days of agreeing the amount?
Write to your landlord requesting that the deposit be returned, the landlord should respond promptly
My landlord has not responded to my letter/email, what do I do?
Write again giving them a deadline within which to respond, eg 2 days.
Visit the Student Hub, we can provide support.
What to do if your landlord won’t return your deposit or you cannot reach an agreement?
If the landlord is refusing to co-operate with the scheme to resolve the dispute, you can use the free service offered by your tenancy deposit protection scheme to help resolve the dispute.
The landlord must agree to use the service and once a decision is made, you’re both bound by the verdict.
The landlord must hand over the disputed amount to the scheme for safekeeping until the dispute is resolved. The scheme administrator will divide the disputed amount in accordance with the ADR services or the court’s decision.
Where is my deposit protected?
Not sure where your deposit is protected? Visit our deposit pages for details of how to check this.
Is there is deadline to use the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Yes, it is usually within 90 days of the end of the tenancy. Check the timescale and process you need to use in order to make a claim with the scheme where you deposit is protected.