Rental deposits not protected by the Deposit Protection Scheme (MyDeposits Jersey)
If your deposit is held by MyDeposits, please see MyDeposits.
What is a rental deposit?
A rental deposit is an amount of money that acts as a security against the damage a tenant or lodger may do to the property, non-payment of rent and any bills that are left unpaid. Make sure you get a written receipt for your deposit. The terms of repayment of the deposit should be clearly set out in your tenancy or lodging agreement.
What should I get back?
When you leave, the deposit that you paid to the private landlord or letting agent is returnable, although deductions may be made for any damage to the property, missing items, unpaid rent or bills. Ensure that a condition report is undertaken if there is a tenancy.
What can I do to make sure I get my deposit back?
When you move in:
- Inspect the property thoroughly.
- Ensure the condition report process is followed.
When you move out
- Make sure the accommodation is left clean. It can be useful to have photographic proof that the accommodation has been left clean.
- If you did an inventory when you moved in, do another one now with an independent witness, noting down anything that is broken or damaged since you moved in so that it can be checked against the original. Your landlord may do this too. Keep a copy.
When can a landlord keep part or all of the deposit?
Where there is accidental damage, it would be reasonable for a landlord to keep some of the deposit to pay for cleaning or a replacement. If you leave without giving enough notice or before an agreed date, you may lose your deposit. If professional cleaning when you leave is part of your agreement, it would be reasonable for a landlord to keep money for cleaning.
Your landlord should not deduct money from the deposit to cover costs for re-letting the property or for paying agency fees unless there was an agreement to do so.
Fair wear and tear, routine replacement and maintenance should not be deducted from your deposit.
The service is intended to offer assistance in resolving small scale disputes such as rental deposits. An application form is available here.
Taking action in the Petty Debts Court
This is not as daunting as it sounds. You don’t need to be represented by a lawyer but you should get advice before you start from Citizens Advice Jersey or the Petty Debts Court Greffier.
The most you can claim in the Petty Debts Court is £30,000. You’ll have to pay a court fee depending on the amount of your claim. This should be included in your claim and will be paid back to you if you win.
If the landlord contests the claim, the Magistrate may direct that the proceedings be adjourned to a Mediation and Directions Hearing or may send the Action of Proof (En Preuve), i.e. you are required to prove the case. The hearing ends at this point and you are given fourteen days to file a claim. The defendant then has fourteen days to file a reply. Full procedures will be explained and guidelines provided to you when a case is sent to En Preuve if you call at the Petty Debts Court Greffier.
Please bear in mind that it is not necessary to be represented by an advocate or solicitor, but should the defendant use one and win the appeal, costs may be awarded and include the legal charges.