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You may have to pay a deposit before you move in. A landlord under an occupation contract may not take a deposit from you unless it is the form of money or a guarantee. 

If you cannot afford the deposit

Contact your local council if you need help paying the deposit. The council can tell you if you’re eligible for:

  • rent or deposit guarantee schemes
  • discretionary housing payment, if you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
  • local schemes to prevent homelessness

If you’re on certain benefits you may also be able to get a Budgeting Loan, or a Budgeting Advance if you’re on Universal Credit.

Deposit protection

In Wales, your landlord must put your deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme if both of the following apply:

Your landlord may still have had to protect your deposit if you sent the deposit earlier. It will depend on whether you have a fixed term tenancy and if you’ve renewed it since 6 April 2007. Find out about tenancy protection rules.

A landlord has up to 30 days to comply with the requirements of the deposit scheme and provide you with the information related to the protection of the deposit. This will include the name of the scheme where the deposit is protected and information on the repayment of the deposit. Your occupation contract will contain further details on deposit protection. 

Getting your deposit back

You can get your deposit back at the end of the tenancy if you:

  • meet the terms of your occupation contract
  • do not damage the property
  • pay your rent and bills

If you do not, your landlord can keep some or all of the deposit to pay for these things. For example, they could keep the amount of rent you owe or the cost of any repairs.

It usually takes 5 to 10 days for your landlord to return your deposit.

If you cannot get your deposit back

Contact the tenancy deposit protection scheme your landlord used if you have trouble getting your deposit back.

For example, if:

  • your landlord will not give your deposit back 
  • you cannot get in touch with your landlord to get your deposit
  • you disagree with your landlord about how much of your deposit they’ll pay back

A court can order the return of the deposit and award compensation if a landlord does not correctly protect the deposit. You can get free advice on getting back your deposit from Citizens Advice or Shelter Cymru.