Advice column – tenancy deposits

Media release
Monday 15 February 2016

I am having problems getting my deposit back from my landlord. What can I do about it?

Enquiries about private sector housing, including problems with deposits, increased by 32% last year. If you paid a deposit to your landlord at the start of a tenancy as security for any rent arrears or damage to property, this should be returned at the end of the tenancy if the accommodation has been left in good condition and there are no arrears.

If your landlord refuses to return the deposit or makes deductions, you should check the terms of the tenancy agreement or the agreed inventory (if there was one) to see what the deposit was supposed to cover. In cases of damage to property, it will often be cheaper for you to make good the damage before your landlord comes to inspect the property than for your landlord to charge for the cost of getting repairs done.

If you paid the deposit before 6 April 2007, and your landlord has refused to return it, you may have to take action in the county court to get it back. If you are thinking of taking your landlord to court it is best to get advice first.

However, if you have an assured shorthold tenancy and paid your deposit from 6 April 2007, or renewed your tenancy since that date, your landlord must use a tenancy deposit protection scheme. This means your deposit is safeguarded and there are procedures not involving the court that can be used to sort out problems about the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

For more information and advice go to or telephone Exeter Citizens Advice Bureau on 03444 111 444.

Look out for our column next week when we focus on the new pension reforms.

The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Exeter Citizens Advice Bureau and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Exeter Citizens Advice Bureau is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date information, please visit