28 Aug 18

What is a security deposit? Here’s all you need to know

Moving into your new home can be a scary experience; especially when you see all the money you have to pay upfront💰💰

Most likely, the most significant expense will be the security deposit. However, there is a shroud of mystery around what a security deposit is and what it’s for. But most especially, in what circumstances you may not be given it back at the end of your tenancy 😕🤔

If you feel unsure about the topic of security deposits, don’t fear, this article will give you the required information to ensure you get your deposit back 🏆
First things first, let’s talk definitions. A security deposit is money taken by a landlord or agent and serves as protection for the landlord in case the tenant breaks the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.

In layman’s terms, this means that if you do anything that is not allowed in your rental contract you can expect to have some of your security deposit withheld at the end of your tenancy. This can include:

🔨 Damage to the furniture or the accommodation

💸 Missing a rent payment

🚪 Leaving the contract early

💩 Leaving the property dirty

A legal contract creates duties and rights on both sides, and the aim of a security deposit is merely to protect one of these rights, not to give the landlord an extra revenue stream 👩‍⚖️


What should your landlord do with your deposit?

Standard practice is for the security deposit to be one or two months rent for the property, and should be paid before you move in. After this:

  • Landlords have a legal obligation to protect your deposit and so must place it into a tenancy deposit scheme
  • They must inform you of how they are protecting it

Deposit schemes are to ensure that the landlord cannot disappear with your money and that it will still be there to settle any disputes at the end of your tenancy period.

Getting your full deposit back

So, imagine… you’re at the end of your tenancy, some of your security deposit has been withheld for reasons you do not agree with. What do you do? 🤔💭

You actually have a number of options. This article by Shelter goes into a lot of depth on the topic, but in short, you can:

✍️ Talk to your landlord

⚖️ Consider court action (this is for severe cases as it can be very expensive!)

💵 Check if you are owed compensation – find out how to here

London renting knowledge is pushed into someone's head

Now you know the basics of security deposits and deposit protection you can feel assured putting the money to one side. If you ever have any questions, you should be able to ask the rental agency to clarify things for you. Or discover how helpful, informed experts can help you find your next home.

Remember to look after the property and stick to the terms of the rental agreement, and you can expect to get the full deposit back  💰🔙 😁


Next on the Homie blog, we take a look at the best places to live if you’re living with a dog 🐶🏠

Hit us up in the chat if you have any questions or visit our help centre for tons of useful info!



John is a Marketing Executive at Homie. He is passionate about copywriting and, equipped with his skateboard wants to make renting in London a roll in the park.

John Cooper, homie.rent Marketing Executive is the author of this article.