I moved out of the property I rented at the end of June. Same day I asked for my deposit back. Letting agency returned with the End Of Tenancy Report listing all defects they found on the 7th of July. I was in the process of moving abroad at that time (to say Covid complicated things a bit would be an understatement of epic proportions), so I missed their reply. I also forgot about it: my sickness, my wife's pregnancy, stresses with moving and Covid etc - i remembered about it in November. So i checked my emails and found the reply. I contested their findings (they attached quote for renovation of the whole property to the tune of GBP 5000, nearly quadruple of the deposit of GBP 1500, and I could not make out what exactly it said), made my offer of what I would pay to cover the costs and I waited for reply. They came back today and they said that I forfeited the deposit as I failed to reply within the statutory period of 3 months.

I can't find that requirement anywhere in the online resources I could find. I mean - nowhere it says there is a time limit for negotiations. No matter wher I look. No page, including .gov site, has a link to the law, so maybe it's in some obscure section of some act or something? I seem to fail to find it in the actual law that pertains to (The Housing Act??? Not sure of even that).

Is this time limit the actual case or am I being scammed out of my deposit? They tried already - I ended the rent agreement early because they failed to maintain property and they tried to condition their agreement to early termination on my forfeiting the deposit. I refused, and later found out their demand was flat out illegal. So I would not be surprised.

Deposit was held under the TDS scheme and I have the relevant paperwork.

  • Have you considered asking them to name the regulations they are relying on?
    – user35069
    Jan 8, 2021 at 20:10
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    @RickApe - Of course I asked. But with them having history of trying to swindle me out of it already - illegally, which I mention in question - I am covering my bases. I also am an EU citizen not currently residing in UK so I can't avail myself of the usual help channels that I could otherwise do.
    – AcePL
    Jan 9, 2021 at 9:48

2 Answers 2


Presumably, the landlord is referring to the TDS rules, which include this at para 3.20:

No application for ADR [alternative dispute resolution] may be submitted to TDS later than 3 months after the end of the tenancy. If no claim for ADR has been submitted within 3 months after the end of the tenancy, the parties will need to negotiate a settlement or use some other means of resolving their dispute (for example, court proceedings). https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/TDS-Rules-for-the-Independent-Resolution-of-Tenancy-Deposit-Disputes.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjrtPDCso_uAhUFSxoKHVpVBXEQFjAMegQIHxAB&usg=AOvVaw0KdTwWi6CJerHVQSvCMmJ2

However, it depends on which of the two schemes your deposit is in as the TDS website includes this:

How long do I have to raise a dispute?

In TDS Insured, you must raise your dispute within 3 months from the lawful end of the tenancy. Disputes received after this time will be rejected unless there are very good reasons.

In TDS Custodial, there is no time limit after the end of the tenancy to start the repayment process, but once it has been started by either party there are strict deadlines which each party must meet. https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/learn-more/information-tds-lounge/faqs/?q=How+long+do+I+have+to+raise+a+dispute%3F

The TSD website also has this information:

If there is a dispute, what happens to the deposit?

If all parties do not agree to how the deposit should be divided, our dispute resolution team will try to help both parties come to an agreement. If an agreement can still not be reached, an adjudicator will decide how the deposit should be split. All parties must provide evidence to support their claim of how the deposit should be divided. The adjudicator will issue a decision based on the evidence received within 28 days after the deadline for submitting evidence. https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/how-do-i-get-my-deposit-back/

  • I went back and re-read their response. No, they do allude to TDS rules, but it clearly states that there's 3-month limit on response time DURING negotiations for return of the deposit. NEXT sentence is sending me to TDS if I'm disputing it.
    – AcePL
    Jan 12, 2021 at 12:43
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    @AcePL TDS is an obligation placed on landlords by the UK government - the rules are government based and the landlord cannot override them, including the deadlines. You simply missed the deadlines and the landlord won by default. Your situation is exactly why there are strict deadlines - you didn't respond for 5 months, the landlord shouldn't be out of pocket for that time simply because you failed to respond, the deadlines are there to protect both the tenant and the landlord from this exact scenario.
    – user28517
    Jun 8, 2021 at 21:27
  • @Moo - But there must be any sort of a safeguard, else landlords will fake communications with tenants and then just pocket the deposit. As far as I know, landlord must sign an affidavit to the TDS stating that tenant cannot be reached for communications. They just sent a report on the condition of the property WITHOUT any counteroffer and they had my both mobile number AND email and I have no records of them asking for anything...
    – AcePL
    Jun 21, 2021 at 7:40
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    @AcePL beyond telling you about the scheme your deposit was placed into, along with the reference number, the landlord doesnt have to deal with the TDS on your behalf - you have to request for the deposit to be returned. You are placing too much onus on the landlord here - they put their claim in for the money, its your responsibility to handle your side. Ive done this from both sides now.
    – user28517
    Jun 21, 2021 at 7:56

There is something called a statutory declaration which is used by some of the schemes in case one or another party is, fur whatever reason, unresponsive to the other party's engagement with the scheme following the tenancy. If I had to guess it is rooted in provisions of the housing act 2004.

It is my understanding however that once one misses this deadline it is not simply that the matter is settled. However, one has permanently misses out on the benefit and protection provided by the protection scheme.

If the claimed deductions were in fact improper however, one still remains entirely entitled to recover those improperly withheld monies in county court for 6 years following the deductions. When these six years start counting from I cannot say for sure.

It may also be worth looking into whether or not you are eligible to make an s214 protection claim on the basis of breach of s213b as it seems like s213a was likely complied with.

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