Protection for tenants

Most landlords and letting agents ask tenants for a deposit as security against damage or

non-payment of rent. From 6 April 2007 your landlord must use a tenancy deposit

protection scheme to safeguard it.


What is a tenancy deposit protection scheme?

A tenancy deposit protection scheme safeguards your deposit. This means you can be sure

that you will get your deposit back at the end of the tenancy, as long as you’re entitled to it.

For example, your landlord may be entitled to some of the deposit if there is any damage or

if you haven’t paid all your rent. The scheme also provides a service to sort out

disagreements about the deposit without going to court.

There are two types of scheme and it is up to your landlord to choose which one they want

to join. One type of scheme is a custodial scheme and the other is insurance-based. The

main difference is that:

? in the custodial scheme, your landlord pays the deposit into the scheme and the

scheme looks after it

? in an insurance-based scheme, your landlord keeps the deposit, but has to pay

insurance to the scheme


What happens at the end of the tenancy?

You should get your deposit back within ten days if you and your landlord agree about how

much you should get back. The way this works, and what happens if there is a

disagreement, depends on the type of scheme your landlord is using. If there is a

disagreement, make sure the landlord and the scheme have your contact details such as a

forwarding or email address or a telephone number.

It is reasonable for your landlord to take money off the deposit to cover, for example,

outstanding rent owed, damage to the property or furniture, or missing items which were

listed in the inventory. But they should not take money off the deposit to pay for fair wear

and tear, in other words, damage which has taken place over time through normal use.


Custodial scheme

If your deposit is being held in the custodial scheme and you and your landlord agree how

much you should get back, you both need to let the scheme know by completing a specific

form. The scheme will then pay you the agreed amount within ten days.

If there is a disagreement about how much of the deposit you should get back, the scheme

will hold on to the disputed amount until the disagreement has been sorted out and pay the

rest to you.

Insurance-based schemes

In an insurance-based scheme, your landlord will have kept your deposit. They must return

it to you within ten days of you asking for it, as long as you both agree how much you

should get back.