We all know that finding a flat in the UK can be difficult, and when it comes to getting your deposit back, it’s never a quick, cash-in-hand process.

But don’t panic! Because we’ve put together a smart little guide. So know you’ll know exactly how the deposit process works in the UK.

Your deposit is protected.

All assured shorthold tenancies should have a deposit protection scheme. This applies to any tenancy agreement if:

  • The rented property is private.
  • The tenancy period started after 15 January 1989.
  • The rented property is the tenant’s main accommodation.
  • The landlord doesn’t live on the property.

Your landlord is legally obligated to inform you within 30 days of receiving the deposit of the following:

  • The tenancy deposit protection scheme they have used, the agency they have used, and how to contact them.
  • When the tenancy ends, and how to apply to get back your deposit.
  • What to do if there is a dispute over your deposit.

If your landlord fails to provide you with any of this information, you should contact the 3 government approved schemes to find out if your deposit is protected. These are:

Your landlord doesn’t have to return your deposit or is entitled to make deductions from the original amount if any of the following apply:

  • You have failed to comply with the terms of your contract.
  • You have caused damage to the property.
  • You have failed to pay your rent or bills in full.

If you have failed to comply with any of the conditions above, your landlord is entitled to make deductions from your deposit.

For some great tips on how to keep all your deposit see our guide here.

If you believe the deductions are unfair, you can protest, and the deposit protection scheme will hold your deposit until there is a resolution.

The wait.

As many of you know or have heard, getting your deposit back isn’t exactly a fast process. This is mainly due to a mound of paperwork that is necessary to unlock and release your money.

Because hey, let’s be honest, you’d be worried if they were willing to release that much money so easily, right?

Once all the paperwork has been filled out properly, both you and your landlord will receive notice that the deposit has been requested. If neither party contests the issues within 2 weeks, then the deposit will be unlocked and released. So you have 14 days to plead against anything the landlord wishes to deduct.

If you contest any deductions, you’ll have 7 days to provide evidence to support your claim. If the landlord disagrees, you will enter into an alternative dispute resolution, and the decision will rest in the hands of a third party.

So, to sum up, it’s a long and potentially frustrating process, but you won’t be cheated out of your deposit. All you need is a dollop of patience and a good attitude.

For more information, visit the UK Government site.