#AskTDS: How Do I Get My Deposit Back?

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| 19 September 2019

In this week’s #AskTDS, we answer a common question from tenants, “how do I get my deposit back?”

How do I get my deposit back?

If you cannot find your deposit here, it may be protected with another scheme.

Getting my deposit back – TDSNI Custodial

To release the deposit at the end of the tenancy the lead tenant should submit a ‘Request for repayment’ by logging into their TDSNI Custodial account and following these steps:

  1. Go to the deposit summary and click ‘Request repayment of deposit.’
  2. Tell us how much of the deposit each party should receive.
  3. We will notify the landlord/letting of your request and invite them to respond.
  4. If the landlord/letting agent agrees with the request, we will repay the deposit.

If the landlord/letting agent doesn’t agree to the request they will be given the opportunity to raise a dispute and use our Dispute Resolution Mechanism (DRM) service to decide how the deposit should be divided.

How long does my landlord have to return my deposit?

If you deposit is protected in Custodial scheme the deposit funds will be repaid by the scheme as agreed with agent/landlord at the end of tenancy.

Getting my deposit back – TDSNI Insurance

If your deposit is protected in our Insured Scheme, the agent/landlord is holding the deposit funds. At the end of tenancy, the tenant and agent/landlord should seek agreement how the deposit should be allocated between parties. If there is an agreement then the agent/landlord must repay, to the tenant, the deposit owing to them within 5 working days.

What if my landlord takes money from my deposit?

If the landlord or letting agent wants to withhold some or all the deposit, they should tell you as soon as possible after the tenancy has ended. You should discuss the matter to reach an agreement on how the deposit is to be divided. Most disputes are resolved informally in this way, this helps to speed up the return of agreed deposit funds.  

What can my landlord keep my deposit for?

Your landlord or letting agent can only deduct money from your deposit if you have broken the terms of your tenancy agreement. Common reasons for deduction include:

  • Cleaning
  • Damage
  • Redecoration
  • Unpaid rent
  • Gardening

The landlord can only claim to restore any issues in the property to the position they would have been in had you met the terms of your tenancy agreement. The normal decline in condition of the property and its contents (known as wear and tear) cannot be charged to the tenant and must be factored into the amount charged for repairs, redecoration or replacements.

If there is a dispute, what happens to the deposit?

If parties do not agree to how the deposit should be divided, our dispute resolution team will try to help both parties come to an agreement. If an agreement can still not be reached, an adjudicator will decide how the deposit should be split. All parties must provide evidence to support their claim of how the deposit should be divided. The adjudicator will normally decide based on the evidence received within 20 days after the deadline for submitting evidence.

For more information on disputes and other FAQs, visit our Tenant Information & FAQs page.

About TDS

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.

TDS Insured Scheme: where a TDS member can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy.

TDS Custodial Scheme: where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.

TDS Academy: TDS provides property professionals with invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and tenancy deposit disputes.

TDS Northern Ireland: TDS is Northern Ireland's leading and only not for profit tenancy deposit protection scheme.

TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.

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