How can I get my landlord to protect my security deposit?

Your landlord should protect your security deposit without you having to ask, but if they don’t, you can take some steps to try and ensure that they do.

Use our sample letters below to help you.

Step 1 : Write to your landlord

Firstly, write to your landlord.

Ask if your security deposit is protected and if so, which scheme they have used. If it’s not protected, ask that they  place your deposit in one of the approved deposit protection schemes.

Use our sample letter D1.

Remember, your landlord has 30 days to protect your deposit.

Step 2 : Write again

If you don’t get a reply from your landlord, try writing to your landlord again.

Use our sample letter D2.

Step 3 : Threaten court action

If you still don’t get a response, you could consider court action.

A county court can order :

  • that your landlord either protects your deposit or returns it to you
  • that you should be awarded compensation between 1 and 3 times the amount of the deposit.

Before you start any court action you must send the landlord a ‘letter before action’.  This warns the landlord that you plan to go court, but gives them the opportunity to respond to you and avoid this.

Your letter before action must give the landlord a deadline to respond. Allow at least 14 days.

The letter before action should set out the legal arguments you would use in court, including details of a claim for compensation and any evidence you will be relying on to back up your case. See our page on Considering court action for more advice and, if you decide to proceed, use our sample letter before action D3.

Are there any risks of taking action against my landlord?

There is a risk your landlord might try to evict you if you take action to get your security deposit protected or claim compensation. However, remember that if your deposit isn’t protected your landlord won’t be able to use the ‘no fault’ eviction procedure to end your contract unless:

  • the deposit is returned to you (minus any agreed deductions)
  • you have made a claim in the court because your landlord hasn’t followed the deposit protection scheme rules and either: the court has made a decision about what should happen to your deposit, you’ve withdrawn your claim, or you and your landlord have settled the matter out of court.

Your landlord may be able to evict you if you are in rent arrears of 2 months or more. However, if your landlord has not followed the deposit protection rules, you will probably be able to defend against a rent arrears eviction notice in court by making a counterclaim. This is because the compensation you would be entitled to could reduce your arrears to less than 2 months. Get help if you receive a notice from your landlord.

If your landlord tries to evict you without following the proper legal procedure they are acting unlawfully. For more information, see our page on illegal eviction.

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This page was last updated on: May 18, 2023

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.