Unprotected deposit dilema

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    Unprotected deposit dilema

    Any advice appreciated

    I have an old deposit that I did not protect and I am in discussion with the tenant over the refund of it. I have calculated deductions which are mainly in the form of shared cleaning and maintenance costs. I have already waived the cost of redecorating the tenant's room due to wallpaper and blu tac damage, but the tenant is insisting on a full refund of the deposit. All the other tenants have agreed to the deductions which are very fair in my view.

    I have a number of options as I see it:

    1. refund the deposit in full
    2. continue to debate the deductions and repay what I think is fair, with the chance that legal action could be taken for the difference.
    3. Instruct the tenant to accept my, or start legal proceedings.

    If I repay in full, can the tenant still issue legal proceeding, if so what are the chances a court will find in a tenants favour?

    Should the repaid amount continue to be disputed and legal proceedings started, what is my position even if I have an inventory check-out video and signed check-in inventory to support my claim for landlord costs.

    The deposit is £300 of which I am claiming about £150 (over 3 years).

    Thanks for you help

    If the tenancy is in England/Wales, and started after April 2007, or was renewed at any time since then, the deposit must be protected.

    If you fail to do this, your tenant can apply to court for the WHOLE amount back, plus start a claim for 1-3x the deposit value as penalty for your failure to observe the protection rules.

    By failing to protect, you have effectively lost the right to retain any deductions, and by forcing the issue you may push the tenant into claiming the full amount plus penalty! Indeed, even if you pay the full deposit back now, tenant can still claim the 1-3x penalty afterwards, but obviously, you have shown willing to refund them, so this will look favourable on you if it did ever get the court.


      If you have not protected the deposit then my advice would be to refund the whole deposit. For the sake of £150 is it really worth the dispute with the tenant.

      The law will be on the tenants side because you have not protected the deposit when you should have. If the tenant does decide to take legal action the the judge is more than likely to fine you 3x the deposit 3x £300 (£900).

      If you pay the full deposit back then the tenant is happy, hence no legal challange.

      Therefore for sake of trying to save £150 is it really worth the liability of legal fees + potential £900 fine


        Ihe tenancy is in England/Wales and after 2007.

        If I repay the full deposit, is there any way I can protect myself from the tenant subsequently applying for a penalty?


          I would just pay the deposit back and not worry about it. The tenant is unlikely to proceed with any legal action as the chances of the tenant being able to claim anything would be slim if you paid the full deposit back!


            Thanks for the advice.

            It matches what I was thinking too. A lesson learned to say the least!


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