Whats a Deposit and why am I asked for one?
When you rent property from a private landlord you will almost certainly be asked to pay the equivalent of at least month’s rent (maybe more if you have a bad credit check or cannot provide references) as a deposit when you move in.
A tenancy deposit is used to cover any costs the landlord suffers because you, the tenant doesn’t do what you are supposed to do in accordance with the tenancy agreement (AST) you signed. Don’t forget the tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract between you, so if you dont pay the rent or leave early, or damage the furniture or break a window, part of your deposit can be used to pay the rent or pay for the repairs or replace the furniture. Only the amount required to cover the lost rent or cover the cost of repairs can be withheld, the rest should be returned to you when you leave.
The deposit can represent a large sum of money. If you are on a low income, on housing benefit or DSS, you’ve got little chance of saving up for it.
To combat landlords simply keeping tenants deposits new rules for Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST’s) that started after 6th April 2007 came into law that prevent your landlord from simply keeping your deposit.
If your deposit is held by a letting agency
The letting agency hold your deposit on behalf of your landlord. If the company stops trading and runs off with your deposit, or if they are refusing to return your deposit to you, you should contact your landlord. Your landlord is ultimately responsible for returning your deposit to you, even if you paid your deposit straight to the letting agency and they never saw your deposit.
See other articles about deposits.