THOUSANDS of renters could be owed refunds on deposits thanks to a new rule introduced earlier this year.On average, the Tenancy Deposit Schemes says that people are getting £320.27 back under the new legislation.
The important bit of the rule is a cap on deposits at a maximum of five weeks' rent if annual rent is less than £50,000 and six weeks' rent if it is more.
Before the rule, many landlords were charging bigger deposits so lots of renters tied up substantial amounts of cash when they moved.
Now anyone who renews their tenancy – for instance if they continue to rent the property after the original contract is up – will get a refund on any deposit they paid that was more than the cap.
Debbie Davies, at the TDS, said: " [Since the new legislation came into force] we have made 2,550 repayments totalling £817,031.33.
"From delving deeper into the figures we identified the average payment was £320.27 and the highest repayment to a tenant was £3,384.62."
How to check if you are owed money
If you paid a deposit that cost more than five weeks' rent you might be owed a refund.
If your annual rent is more than £50,000 then you need to have paid more than six weeks' up front to be in with a chance of getting some of your money back early.
How much you'll get back depends on the deposit you put down and how much your weekly rent is.
On average, the refunds have come in at £320.
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.
A new watchdog has been set up to make sure rogue letting agents don't rip-off tenants.
And the Tenancy Deposit Scheme has launched a new calculator so you can make sure your agents charge the correct amount.
Tenants could be allowed to transfer rental deposits between landlords when they move.
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