Thousands of renters could be due a refund – how to check if you’re owed

THOUSAND of Brits renting their home could be due a refund because of a change to rules.

Tenants are now better protected and can't be asked to put down excessive amounts of money as a deposit.

The new rules were first introduced in 2019 capping the amount that landlords and lettings agents can ask for to secure a property.

The maximum they can ask for is five weeks' rent on properties where annual rent is less than £50,000, and six weeks' if it's over that.

Anyone who has renewed a tenancy since then could be owed cash.

That's because all deposits must be capped – even if the deposit was originally put down before the rules changed.

In the first few months of the new laws the Tenancy Deposit Scheme made 2,550 repayments totalling £817,031.33.

The average amount paid back was £320 but the highest amount one tenant got was over £3,000.

However, there could still be tenants out there who have paid a higher deposit and are owed a refund of the difference between that and the cap of five weeks' rent.

Landlords must refund the cash if asked.

Generation Rent, a group representing renters rights, is urging anyone whose tenancy began before 1 June 2019, or who lives a the same location and has renewed their tenancy to check if they could be owed money.

If your landlord or agent has not already refunded you, you can ask them to return the payment, the group said.

If they do not, you can contact your Council's trading standards department or your letting agent's redress scheme, or apply to the First Tier Tribunal.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme is one of three companies allowed to look after tenants' deposits – there's also the Deposit Protection Scheme and MyDeposits.

Landlords must always hold renters' deposits with one of these schemes under laws designed to protect renters, and there can be stiff penalties if they don't.

A refund on some of your deposit isn't the only money renters could be owed.

As a renter you have many rights – and could claim compensation if a landlord or letting agent ignored them.

How to check if you are owed money

How much you'll get back depends on the deposit you put down and how much your weekly rent is.

You'll only get the refund if you stay on at the property.

That's because if you choose to move elsewhere then you'll be due your entire deposit back – assuming that you don't need to pay for any repairs out of it.

If you have renewed your contract since June 1, 2019,  and your deposit was more than the cap of five weeks' rent – then your landlord should have automatically refunded you the difference.

Equally if you're due to renew in the future you should automatically get that cash back.

If your landlord doesn't proactively give you your cash back when you sign your new contract you're allowed to ask for it.

If your deposit is held in a government-approved scheme it should be returned within 10 days.

If the deposit isn't protected by a government-backed scheme, for instance if you are a lodger, a student in university halls or if you have an assured tenancy, then there's no set timescale on when you should see the money.

If a landlord doesn't pay up, you can report them to Trading Standards or go to court to get your money back.

Trading Standards can force landlords and estate agents to pay back cash within seven to 14 days and it's free.

Court action can you cost you money, but you may be able to get help with fees if you're on certain benefits.

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