Refunding security deposit

Hi, my tenants who have been in my flat for the last 14months and looked after it well have given their notice. They have asked if they can have their security deposit back as soon as possible so as they can use it for the deposit on their next flat. I have compassion for their situation however I had planned to inspect the property properly on the day they vacate the property so I can be sure it truly has been left in a good state.

Is this reasonable? How long does it take for the tenant to receive their deposit back once I have agreed the refund?

They have been my first lot of tenants so this is a new process to me.

Many thanks

You are totally reasonable in your view Dont be tempted to give them the deposit out of your own pocket and then hope that you can get the deposit yourself. Play it by the book.

Hi Catherine,

Yes it’s totally reasonable to take a new schedule of the property’s condition on move out before returning the deposit. How can you know if any damage has occured without inspecting at the end?

When you’re satisfied and have agreed any deductions, you can initiate a deposit repayment in a few minutes using the deposit scheme’s website. The tenants will be notified immediately and can confirm, and then the scheme will pay them the depost within its own timeframe, but I think usually within five working days.


Hi Sam,

That’s really helpful thank you. It has reassured me of my decision and I can go back to the tenant with confidence.

Best Wishes

I believe my option is both legally compliant ,and, helpful to BOTH sides
I am required to give TWO months notice minimally
Therefore at least two months before tenancy ends I contact tenant requesting their intention

Where they intend to give notice I advise (having put this into their tenancy agreement) I will carry out a penultimate inspection ONE month BEFORE there tenancy comes to an end
Indicating that any of my concerns can therefore be addressed within the last 30 days-thereby avoiding deposit delays

On checkout day I again carry out the required inspection,take meter readings etc, make sure Lead tenant signs both documents

If there are unanswered issues I point them out advising I will send them a copy (making sure I have new address!) having established a ,fair, level of deduction -for their approval

If they agree to the material deductions I get them to sign a statement to that effect

I then release the balance
Where they dispute I refer them to the deposit documentation I am legally obliged to give with tenancy agreement
I then send deposit to relevant scheme for arbitration

Time factors are explained within documentation

I am not required to pay deposit promptly,nor keep them waiting unfairly

It would be foolish to release deposit before a thorough inspection,top quality pictures-time dated

Leaving only costings to the arbitrator

Anyone who thinks tenants are “nice” people and how unfair to keep them waiting are destined for heartbreak sadly

Dr David Noble

ALWAYS arrange your choice of deposit protection YOURSELF-never allow any agency to “include” it in their premium!

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You have 10 days after they vacate to return the deposit (says so in deposit protection scheme). Its not just checking everything is as per the inventory and there is no damage, but ensuring its clean and ready for the next renters and more importantly that all the bills have been paid. You don’t want to return the deposit and be left with unpaid bills to pay out of pocket.

I think it’s 10 days for the repayment to be initiated. If there’s a dispute, then it will take well in excess of 10 days for the desposit to be returned :slight_smile:



Wait until you have checked the property. The deposit can be returned almost immediately afterwards by BACS. Don’t risk being duped into paying it early.

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Thank you everyone for your advice this is helpful. The tenants are still asking for an inspection before they move out despite being clear in a letter why it has to happen following their departure. This advice helps me be clear that I am not doing anything which isn’t usual practice.

Many thanks

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