What penalties are there for landlords who do not return your deposit?

Hi again,

Does anyone know what penalties ( if any) there are for lanlords who do not return deposits within the required two months period after the end of the tenancy?

My landlord told me via email that she was going to return half of my deposit ( which I dispute, I beleive am I owed the full amount) but hasn't returned any. I left the property in July 2013.

Any advice would be appreciated

No problem Sarah - would be great to hear how it goes....... good luck

Kate, I'm not able to reply to your post for some reason. However, just wanted to thank you for the info you posted on 23rd January. The rate is currently 0.04pc which is better than nothing and the most important thing is that I get my money back. There is also a principle to uphold here, deposits are for damages, loss and cleaning, not for landlords to steal! It will take a very long time but I will let everyone know how it went

Go girl! Good on you. Don't let them get away with it - we always return deposit usually on the day we receive the keys as long as there's no damage to calculate and these bad landlords need to be held to account for their actions.

Here's the link to the interest % question - not much of a threat really, as bit of a joke I think but it all helps I suppose......


I've posted below another section in case others are interested:

Recours en cas de non restitution

Si le dépôt de garantie n'est pas restitué dans le délai de 2 mois après la remise des clés, le locataire doit, de préférence par lettre recommandée avec avis de réception, mettre en demeure le propriétaire de restituer le dépôt de garantie dans un délai raisonnable.

Si le propriétaire refuse de rembourser le dépôt de garantie malgré cette démarche, le locataire peut saisir une commission départementale de conciliation où est situé le logement concerné.

En cas d'échec de conciliation, le litiges relatifs aux dépôt de garantie doivent être portés devant le juge de proximité jusqu'à 4 000 € (au-delà de ce montant, le tribunal d'instance est compétent).

À savoir : à défaut de restitution dans le délai prévu, le montant du dépôt de garantie produit des intérêts au taux légal au profit du locataire.


Actually, I've found the link. Here is the link I found to take the matter to the local court and the form you need to fill in to get started. thought I'd post here in case it's of interest to anyone else:



Apparently, it used to be free but there's a fee of 35 euros from 1st January 2014 onwards.

Thank you for all replies so far. Can anyone tell me what rate of interest you can claim for if the landlord doesn't pay the deposit back after 2 months? Also, can anyone point me in the right direction on how to get started with a small claims? I'm determined not to give up! The apartment I rented was left in a better state than when I took it on and I don;t want them to get away with stealing from me which is what not giving back the deposit is!

Hi Kate, thank you for your reply.

Since my original post, I have sent a LRAR letter threatening legal action but the landlord is still refusing to pay back the money owed to me. Does anyone has a link / more info on getting started with a small claims?

Also, does anyone know the rate of interest payable by the landlord for not returning a deposit after 2 month?

Thank you

Thank you for your reply Tracy. Unfortunately, I never bothered to take out house insurance. What a shame, as I it would be useful now to have legal cover. I have house insurance for my new rental flat but I guess they wouldn't cover me for a dispute which occured before the start of my new inusrance.

Firstly, thank you everyone for your replies. I've been offline for a while.

In brief, the landlord has been difficult and unreasonable for a long time. I'm a landlord myself ( in France and the UK). I feel that I am a very reasonable tenant.

If would take a long time to even summarise the hassle, harassment, illegal notices to leave and ridiculous behaviour from our landlords so I will resist the urge to rant here!

In brief, we left owing no rent. The landlord is holding back some of the deposit for cleaning and gardening charges. We did infact leave both the garden and house in a cleaner / better state than it had been at the start of our tenancy.

proper inventory was never made ( just a word doc wich was never signed by either party ) We complained (via email) about the state of the garden and cleanilness of the apartment at the start of the tenancy but didn't pursue it at that time because we wanted to have a good relationship with our landlord. Sadly, we never took any photos.

The landlord is trying to charge 1500 euros for cleaning and gardening which is completely unreasonable .

Yep, Marie Frances soooo glad we sold but made quite a big loss. Just have to put it down to experience and bad luck I guess :-(

Sorry Sarah, not helping you much here. Hope you can sort it out.

OMG! That's terrible, i mean you use an agency to prevent all that! I bet your so relived you finally sold eh? We took a sore loss in the market crash 30 grand, but what can you do?and i'm just so glad we sold and that we started small as there properties with huge terrains that are still for sale in our old village four years later and half the original price.

Hi Marie Frances. Yes we were in a similar situation. However, they also wrecked the place, stole the furniture, then we couldnt re-rent because of all the damage and no furniture. Took two years to sell too. Lots of stress. Plus this was all via an agency, who werent much better and didnt help us at all. :-(

Hi Rachael, We where put off renting out our first house while we where waiting to sell, the old lady next door had a tenant that refused to pay the rent and it took her a year to get rid of them and our parents warned us it was a money drain and could end up costing us far more than saving. Thank goodness it finally sold but took 2 years !

Having been a landlady myself, I would love to know what this particular landlady's reasons are. We were treated very very very badly by our french tenants. It has totally put me off for life. I'm not saying, of course, that this is the case here, but you have to look at both sides of the story, and we do not know the facts here. If she is just not giving back the deposit to be nasty that is of course awful. I do think if the landylady has not got a reason she should be sued if possible.

The small claims court doesn't cost much at all but it does take your time.....don't let these people get away with it...

My daughter had this experience in her year out while at university when she worked in Toulouse for 6 months. The landlady seemed very helpful and kind at first until the time came when my tidy, conscientious, honest daughter gave notice then left and the landlady refused to give her back her deposit. I even sent a letter to the women to appeal to her character but no response and obviously it was no worth going through the courts. It was an experience I felt my daughter was a bit young to have though I guess it did her no harm. I suspect this happens a lot in France and unlike in the UK there is no Deposit Protection Scheme.

You are entitiled to interest on the money owed after a 2 months delay. If you have a valid dispute you can take them to small claims court - usually a letter (AR) to this effect will provoke some action. If you want details, let me know....

Once again the same answer to many questions that come up here. The last resort is to sue, and to sue not only for the deposit, but for interests since your departure date as well.

If you have an Insurance 'juridique' - not expensive - use that......You may have one included even in your car insurance - ask!

This can take some time, but you should be able, finally, to get somewere!

http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/particuliers/F3049.xhtml The Postbanque have a good and simple, inexpensive one.

Contact your 'assistance juridique' usually included in your house insurance. We had the same problem, very common and the insurance dealt with it all. They eventually returned the deposit less 100€, we asked the insurers what to do about the 100€ and they said 'nothing' Apparently they can not intervene for less than 120€ and they said the agency obviously know that. We were with an agency so its no guarantee of honesty.

Hello Sarah, Unfortunately i think this might be one situation you'll just have to 'chalk down' as a bad experience and move on, I assume that you are renting from a private landlord? even then as we have found out it makes no difference if you use an agency to rent from if 'they' decide to keep your deposit they can come up with the most ridiculous excuses. We have rented 4 times apartments and houses in different regions in France and had no problems until the last house (through an agency) they decide to keep our deposit even though they knew damage had been done by previous tenants (they kept there deposit as well) Too late we where told this particular agency had a very bad reputation in town, even if there was some sort of recourse we could take we decided it was not worth all the stress and and the hassle as we where in the process of buying again. I think most landlords play fair but occasionally you'll fall across a rotter.