When your landlord's not returning your deposit

It happens an awful lot. We move out of our flats and then we don’t get our deposit back, or not in any timely fashion.

Our consultants prepared a step-by-step manual for what to do next. You can download the templates of letters to send, and learn how to threaten with a lawsuit effectively. Every situation is slightly different, but you can follow the recommendations in this article if your landlord keeps silent, or if they falsely claim they used all your deposit on repairs.

Step 1] Send an official request

You can download a template of the letter here. This request can be sent by email, and it is an official but still polite reminder. Solving things amicably should always be tried first, before any threats.

It is not a pre-lawsuit letter yet, although it can be later used in court as evidence of your goodwill, that you have tried to solve the problem amicably.

Step 2] Send a pre-lawsuit request

If option n.1 doesn’t work, you might need to start threatening with a lawsuit. In order to do so, send a pre-lawsuit request. You can download our template here, fill it up and send it to your landlord as a registered letter. Read how to post registered letters here. Save the receipt you receive at the post office! It will serve as your proof that you have tried to request the deposit outside of court, first.

This letter is a warning that should the landlord not send the deposit in time, you will take them to court without any further delay.  It is also your obligation to send this warning before you file a  lawsuit against them.

You can also hire a lawyer to send this letter for you. The attorney will send the request with an official-looking header of the law firm. This might add more seriousness to your request and better convince the landlord to return what’s due. You will be charged for your lawyer’s services. You can contact one of our well-tested English-speaking lawyers for their price.

Step 3] File a lawsuit

Very often, the pre-lawsuit request works its magic and landlords return the deposit rather than being taken to court. It’s not always the case, though. Often, landlords refuse to refund the deposit, stating it was used for repairs.

If you have sent both letters (1] official request and 2] pre-lawsuit request) and received no deposit, you can take your landlord to court. If you do end up standing in front of a judge, the landlord has the burden of proof: they are the ones who must prove that any deductions from your deposit were rightful and reasonable. If they fail (they are not able to provide the receipts, for example; or prove that the damages were done during your stay in the flat), they must return the deposit plus pay for all your legal costs.

You can start by contacting one of our English-speaking lawyers to represent you in court.


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