Your landlord has to protect your deposit within 28 days of you paying this money. They also have to give you certain information about your deposit and the company protecting it.
Your landlord does not have to protect your deposit if you paid it before 1 April 2013.
What do landlords have to do with your deposit?
Your landlord must protect your deposit with
- My Deposits, or
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme Northern Ireland (TDS NI), or
- Letting Protection Service Northern Ireland (LPS NI)
These are the only companies that can protect deposits in Northern Ireland. The landlord has 28 days from the day you paid the deposit to protect it.
The landlord can either
- hand the money over to the deposit company, or
- take out an insurance policy with the company to cover your deposit.
The landlord must also give you certain information about your deposit.
How can you find out if your deposit is protected?
Your landlord must give you information about your protected deposit. This information should include
- the amount of the deposit
- the address of the property
- the landlord's full name and date of birth
- the landlord's contact details, including an address, phone number and email address
- details for any agent involved in the tenancy
- details about the deposit scheme your landlord is using
- an explanation of how to get your deposit back at the end of the tenancy
- information from the deposit company itself explaining its rules and processes.
Schedule 1 of The Tenancy Deposit Schemes Regulations (Northern Ireland) has a full list of the information you should get.
Contact each of the three deposit companies if your landlord doesn't give you this information. They can search to see if they have your deposit.
What should you do if your landlord hasn't protected your deposit?
Contact each of the 3 deposit companies. Ask them to check if they have a record of your deposit. You'll need to give them your address and tenancy start date.
Contact your local council's environmental health department if your deposit was not protected.
The council will ask the landlord to protect the deposit. It can make the landlord pay a penalty fee and take them to court if they refuse.
Check your deposit if you sign a new tenancy agreement
Your landlord should protect your deposit again if
- you have to top-up your deposit
- you sign a new tenancy agreement
- your old tenancy agreement ends but you stay in the property
- you get new roommates or someone moves out.
Getting your deposit back
Your deposit information will explain how to get your deposit back when you move out. The process depends on whether the landlord gave the money to the company or bought an insurance policy.
Deposit companies can decide who should get the money at the end of the tenancy if you and the landlord don't agree. But, they can't consider counterclaims. This means you should get advice if
- you left your tenancy before you were supposed to, or
- you held back rent because of something the landlord did or did not do.
Deposit company is holding the money
At the end of the tenancy
- the landlord can tell the company to return some or all of the deposit to you, or
- you can ask the company for the deposit and the company will ask the landlord if this is okay.
The landlord can deduct money from the deposit in certain cases. If you disagree with these deductions, tell the deposit company. They will decide if the deductions are fair.
Landlord used an insurance scheme to protect the deposit
The landlord will return some or all of your money at the end of the tenancy. They may decide to keep some of your money to cover certain costs.
You can contact the deposit company if you think these deductions are unfair.
If the company decides the deductions are unfair, they will tell the landlord to give you the money back. The company will give you your money back if the landlord refuses to.