When can a deposit be retained?

A deposit is considered the tenant’s but the landlord can establish a right to keep the deposit in certain circumstances.

Circumstances in which a landlord can retain a deposit

  • Rent Arrears

If at the end of the tenancy, there is rent outstanding, the landlord may legitimately retain part or all of the deposit to cover the arrears.

  • Damage to the property above normal wear and tear

Deductions may be made or the deposit retained in full, if there has been damage above normal wear and tear to the property. Examples of these damages could be;

  • A broken window.

  • Holes in the wall.

  •  Leaving litter or personal items in the property.

  • Leaving the property in an unhygienic or unsafe condition.

  • Not returning the property in a clean manner.

  • Items broken or missing from the inventory.

  • Outstanding utility bills and other charges.

If the tenant owes money for utility bills, such as gas or electricity, and the utility bill is in the landlord’s name, the landlord may withhold part or all of the deposit to cover these costs. The tenant should always retain a copy of the bills to ensure that payment is applicable to what is being owed.

  • Notice of termination

If a tenant provides insufficient notice of their termination of the tenancy, or they terminate a fixed term tenancy before the end of the agreed term.