Getting a deposit back
Updated 22 August 2019
Words you may need to know
Accommodation - this covers any rooms or property where you are living
Deposit - is a sum of money that is paid when you move into accommodation to cover any unpaid bills or damage when you leave
Landlord - is the person who owns the property and who you pay rent to
Dispute - not agree with
Receipt - a piece of paper with the amount that has been paid and signed by the person taking the money from you
Terms of repayment - how and when the money is going to be paid back
Tenancy or lodging agreement - this is a statement about what you can and can't do in the accommodation, what bills are due etc
Condition report - this lists everything in the accommodation and states what condition each item is in. It may say door which is in fair condition but with chipped paint or desk in poor condition with staining on the right hand surface
Photographic proof - take photographs of each room and items of furniture for your records in case after you leave, the landlord says you did not leave it clean or in good condition
Inventory - this is a list of everything in the property. You have to agree that it is correct when you move in and the list is checked when you move out to make sure that nothing is missing or damaged. If it is, you have to replace it or a sum of money is taken out of your deposit to replace it.
Accidental - not deliberate
Contests - does not agree with / disputes
Adjourned - temporarily stopped, halted
1. This item tells you about getting your rental deposit back when you leave your accommodation.
Your landlord may refuse to return some or all of the deposit. You may dispute the amount being kept back to cover damages and breakages. Read this item to find out your rights.
What is a rental deposit
2. A rental deposit is an amount of money which acts as a security against damage a tenant or lodger may do to the property, non-payment of rent and any bills that are left unpaid. Make sure you get written receipt for your deposit. The terms of repayment of the deposit should be clearly set out in your tenancy or lodging agreement.
What should I get back
3. When you leave, the deposit that you paid to the private landlord or letting agent is returnable, although deductions may be made for any damage to the property, missing items, unpaid rent or bills. Ensure that a condition report is undertaken if there is a tenancy.
What can I do to make sure I get my deposit back
4. When you move in:
Inspect the property thoroughly
Ensure process is adhered to re condition reports. See link: http://www.gov.je/home/rentingbuying/housinglaws/pages/conditionreports.aspx
When you move out
Make sure the accommodation is left clean. It can be useful to have photographic proof that the accommodation has been left clean.
If you had done an inventory when you moved in, do another one now with an independent witness (a friend will do), noting down anything that is broken or damaged since you moved in so that it can be checked against the original. Your landlord may do this - keep a copy.
When can a landlord keep part or all of the deposit
5. Where there is accidental damage it would be reasonable for a landlord to keep some of the deposit to pay for cleaning or a replacement. If you leave without giving enough notice or before an agreed date you may lose your deposit. If professional cleaning when you leave is part of your agreement then it would be reasonable for a landlord / agent to keep money for steam cleaning curtains or carpets.
Your landlord should not deduct money from the deposit to cover costs for re-letting the property or for paying agency fees unless there was an agreement to do so or you leave the property early.
Fair wear and tear, routine replacement and maintenance should not be deducted from your deposit.
What can I do if the landlord / agent refuses to return my deposit
6. if a deposit is wholly or partially withheld at the end of a tenancy for reasons not sent out in your tenancy agreement you can start a claim against the landlord in the Petty Debts Court.
Community Mediation is a service arranged by Jersey Legal Information Board with Administrative support being provided by Citizens Advice.Jersey
The service is intended to offer assistance in resolving small scale disputes between neighbors and friends and between those doing business together and can be used to settle disputes associated with rental deposits. An application form is available here.
Taking action in the Petty Debts Court
7. This is not as daunting as it sounds. You don't need to be represented by a lawyer but you should get advice before you start from Citizens Advice Jersey or Petty Debts Court Greffier.
The most you can claim the Petty Debts Court is £10.000. You'll have to pay a court fee depending on the amount of your claim. This should be included in your claim therefore will be paid back to you if you win.
If the landlord / agent contests the claim, the magistrate may direct that the proceedings be adjourned to a Mediation and Directions Hearing or may send the Action to proof (En Preuve), ie you are required to prove the case. The hearing ends at this point and you are given fourteen days to file a claim. The defendant then has fourteen days to file a reply. Full procedures will be explained and guidelines provided to you when a case is sent to En Preuve if you call at the Petty Debts Court Greffier's office.
Please bear in mind that it is not necessary to be represented by an advocate or solicitor, but should the defendant use one and win the appeal, then it may well be that costs are awarded in include the legal charges.