How Long Does A Landlord Have To Return A Deposit

Sometimes getting a deposit together in the first place can be tough, so when a landlord refuses or delays returning your deposit, it’s vital that you know your rights.

A guide to Tenancy Deposit Returns

If you’re a tenant in England or Wales, one of the key concerns you might have is how long your landlord has to return your deposit when you move out. It’s an important aspect of renting, and understanding the rules can help you navigate the process smoothly. In this guide, we’ll dive deep into the timeline for deposit returns, what to do if your landlord is not returning your deposit, and how to claim compensation if your deposit was not protected correctly.

How long does a landlord have to notify you of damages?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of deposit return timelines, it’s essential to understand that your landlord may deduct money from your deposit to cover damages beyond normal wear and tear. However, they are required to notify you of these deductions within a specific timeframe.

According to the Housing Act 2004, your landlord must provide you with an itemised list of any deductions made from your deposit within 30 days of your tenancy ending. This is crucial because it gives you the opportunity to review and potentially dispute these deductions if you believe they are unjustified.

How to get your deposit back

Now, let’s focus on the exciting part – getting your deposit back! If you’ve been a responsible tenant and your tenancy ended smoothly, here’s what you can expect:

  1. Communication: Reach out to your landlord or letting agent to remind them that your tenancy has ended and inquire about the return of your deposit.
  2. Inspection: The landlord may want to inspect the property to ensure there are no damages beyond normal wear and tear.
  3. Return of Deposit: Assuming everything is in order, your landlord should return your deposit within 10 days of the inspection or agreement to return the deposit.
  4. Deposit Protection Certificate: Along with your deposit, your landlord must also provide you with information about the tenancy deposit protection scheme in which your deposit is held. This includes the Deposit Protection Certificate and prescribed information.

What to do if your landlord is not returning your deposit

Sometimes, things don’t go as smoothly as planned, and your landlord may be reluctant to return your deposit. If you find yourself in this situation, here’s what you can do:

  1. Communication: Start by communicating with your landlord or letting agent. Politely inquire about the status of your deposit and express your concerns.
  2. Tenancy Deposit Scheme Check: Verify whether your deposit is protected in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme (TDP). You can use online tools to check the protection status or we can process these checks for you free of charge.
  3. Dispute Resolution: If your landlord refuses to return your deposit and you believe it’s unjustified, you can use the dispute resolution service provided by the tenancy deposit scheme in which your deposit is protected. This service helps resolve disputes between tenants and landlords.
  4. Legal Action: In extreme cases, you may need to take legal action to recover your deposit. This can involve going to court, so it’s essential to consult with legal experts or organisations specialising in tenants’ rights. We can handle this entire process for you and make it simple and stress-free! Check your tenancy deposit free of charge here.

Is my deposit protected?

Before you even think about the return of your deposit, it’s crucial to ensure that your deposit was protected correctly during your tenancy. Here’s how you can check:

  1. How to Check if Your Deposit is Protected: You can verify the protection status of your deposit by contacting the relevant tenancy deposit scheme. In England and Wales, these schemes include MyDeposits, Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), and Deposit Protection Service (DPS). We provide this service free of charge.
  2. What Happens if My Deposit is Not Protected? If you discover that your deposit was not protected correctly, you may be entitled to compensation.
  3. Where is My Deposit Held? Find out where your deposit is held and make sure it’s in one of the government-approved schemes mentioned earlier.
  4. Does Deposit Have to Be Protected? Yes, it’s a legal requirement for landlords to protect your deposit if you’re on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. Failure to do so can result in penalties.

What is the process for making a tenancy deposit claim?

If you find out that your deposit was not protected or that your landlord has failed to return it within the required time-frame, you may need to make a tenancy deposit claim. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Gather Evidence: Collect all relevant documents, including your tenancy agreement, communication with your landlord, and any evidence of the deposit not being protected or returned.
  2. Contact the Landlord: Reach out to your landlord or letting agent once more, clearly stating your concerns and intentions to make a claim. This step is not mandatory.
  3. Tenancy Deposit Scheme Claim: If your landlord still doesn’t comply, initiate a claim through the relevant tenancy deposit scheme’s dispute resolution service. They will guide you through the process.
  4. Compensation: If your claim is successful, you may be entitled to compensation, which can be up to three times the value of your tenancy deposit.
  5. Legal Action: In rare cases where the dispute resolution process doesn’t yield results, you may consider legal action, which we can handle on your behalf on a no-win, no-fee basis.


In conclusion, knowing your rights as a tenant and understanding the rules regarding deposit returns and protection is essential. By following the correct procedures, you can increase your chances of a hassle-free deposit return process and, if necessary, claim the compensation you are entitled to. Remember, knowledge is your most potent tool when it comes to safeguarding your tenant’s rights.

This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. Tenant Angels does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.

Why Choose Tenant Angels To Handle Your Tenancy Deposit Claim

Tenant Angels was set up to give tenants a voice, to ensure every single tenant, all over England & Wales were aware of their legal rights and should we find that landlords or their agents have not followed legal guidance, we will take action on behalf of tenants.

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We have been in your shoes and even to this day, we rent just like you. After a bad experience many years ago, we founded Tenant Angels to ensure every tenant had a voice and a guardian angel looking out for your rights!

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If you need help or perhaps you would just like a friendly chat, get in touch today or you can get started by checking to see if you have a claim today.

Work Out How Much Your Tenancy Deposit Claim Value Could Be Worth

If your landlord didn’t protect your deposit correctly, they may have broken the law and you could be entitled to make a tenancy deposit compensation claim. This claim can be worth 1 to 3 times the amount of the tenancy deposit paid.

The final amount of a tenancy deposit claim is calculated per breach of the law. Possible breaches include;

  • Failing to protect the deposit within 30 days.
  • Failure to protect the deposit during the entire tenancy, for example, if you renew your tenancy agreement.
  • Failure to notify and inform the tenant with information regarding to which scheme the deposit is placed.

To get started, all you need to do is request a free tenancy deposit claim check and if possible, send us a copy of your tenancy agreement. Our service is 100% confidential right up until you choose whether to proceed with a claim against your landlord.

Below is an example of potential tenancy deposit compensation claims in relation to the amount of deposit paid;
Deposit Paid Potential Claim
If you would like us to validate your claim and give you advice on how it all works, start your enquiry by clicking the button below
Tenancy Deposit Claims

We've Helped Hundreds of Tenants All Over England & Wales With Tenancy Deposit Claims