My ex-landlord hasn't returned my bond, what can I do?

Tash asks:
(updated on Thursday, June 19th 2008)

Was renting from friends for 2 years, but moved out 2 weeks ago. Gave them almost 2 months notice I was moving out and moved out during my last 2 weeks of rent (where I had paid in advance). They have now gone away on holiday without completing the bond refund form. I have now been out of the flat for 3 weeks, and handed my keys over at the start of the week as that was to where my rent was paid up for. They are also claiming they will deduct some money from the bond for cleaning a stain on the carpet, and replacing the curtains in one of the rooms. I wasn't going to contest this as I needed the bond money for my new place, but now I want to know is this correct? The curtains were ratty at the edge, they are muslin curtains. I'm pretty sure they weren't in perfect condition when I moved in. Also is there a time frame that my landlords need to come back to me with the bond refund.

Our Experts Answer:

A tenant is obliged to leave the property reasonably clean and reasonably tidy. They may be held responsible for any damage they or their guests carelessly or intentionally caused the property. A tenant is not responsible for fair wear and tear. Your landlord may be able to claim the costs of stain removal and curtain replacement from the bond, if this work is needed due to your careless or intentional actions. There is no time-frame that a landlord has to agree to a bond refund.

If you are not able to get a signed Bond Refund form within a time-frame you are satisfied with, then you can submit a ‘One Party Claim’. A One Party Claim is where you complete the Bond Refund form and send it to the Department of Building and Housing without the landlord’s signature. The Department will write to your landlord about the bond refund, and give them 15 working days to respond. If your landlord agrees with the information on the Bond Refund form, it will be processed. If your landlord disagrees with the information on the form then the bond will be placed in dispute and you will be advised of your options.

Please ensure you provide sufficient contact details and an address for service on the Bond Refund form. If your landlord does not respond at all, the Department will be able to process the refund after the 15 working day period expires. If you and your landlord can’t agree on the amount of money each of you should receive from the bond, or if you submit a One Party Claim and your landlord disputes your claim, then you may need to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for help. You can call the Department of Building and Housing on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262) for advice and information about making a Tenancy Tribunal application.

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.


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