When can I keep the security deposit to cover damages?

When can I keep the security deposit to cover damages?


This is the area that causes most disputes between landlords and tenants.

A deposit (or a portion of it) can only be retained if the tenant breached the terms of the lease agreement that results in loss or damage to the property that exceeds ‘normal wear and tear’.
Tenants are entitled to a refund of the deposit amount paid at the commencement of the tenancy, where there is no rent outstanding and there is no damage to the dwelling beyond normal wear and tear at the end of the tenancy.

Landlords are required to refund the deposit promptly less any deductions in respect of outstanding rent and damage in excess of normal wear and tear.

If the landlord retains a deposit, the tenant must be provided with a written and itemised explanation of the reasons why.  It is important to keep receipts for repairs to damages or items replaced. These will be required if the tenant complains to the PRTB.

Note: It is not possible to claim for your own time e.g. if you re-paint a room yourself. You cannot put a value on this time and deduct it from the tenant’s deposit.

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