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Fact check - tenancy deposit schemes

If you rent a property through an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) then your landlord MUST place it in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme. There are 3 approved providers in England and Wales. They are:-

- https://www.depositprotection.com

- https://www.mydeposits.co.uk

- https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com

These schemes make sure that you will get your deposit back if you:

  • comply with the terms of your tenancy agreement
  • don’t damage the property
  • pay your rent and bills on time and in full

Your landlord or letting agent must put your deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of receiving it.

At the end of the tenancy

Your landlord must return your deposit within 10 days of you both agreeing how much you’ll receive.

If you’re in a dispute with your landlord, your deposit will be protected in the scheme until the dispute is resolved. The dispute can be referred to the scheme for an outcome.

Holding deposits

Your landlord doesn’t have to protect a holding deposit (money you pay to ‘hold’ a property before an agreement is signed). Once you become a tenant, the holding deposit becomes a deposit, which they must protect.

Deposits made by a third party

Your landlord must use a TDP scheme even if your deposit is paid by someone else, such as a rent deposit scheme or your parents.

Information landlords must give tenants

Once your landlord has received your deposit, they have 30 days to tell you:

  • the address of the rented property
  • how much deposit you’ve paid
  • how the deposit is protected
  • the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme and its dispute resolution service
  • their (or the letting agency’s) name and contact details
  • the name and contact details of any third party that’s paid the deposit
  • why they would keep some or all of the deposit
  • how to apply to get the deposit back
  • what to do if you can’t get hold of the landlord at the end of the tenancy
  • what to do if there’s a dispute over the deposit

If you aren't sure whether your landlord protected your deposit

Contact a tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) to find out whether it was protected and with which provider.

Deposit Protection Service 
Telephone: 0330 303 0030

MyDeposits
Telephone: 0333 321 9401

Tenancy Deposit Scheme
Telephone: 0300 037 1000

If the landlord hasn't protected your deposit

You can commence legal proceedings against your landlord to recover your deposit, and that court might order the landlord to pay you up to 3 times the deposit amount.
 
Failing to protect your deposit can serve as a temporary defence to an attempt by a landlord to evict you via the s.21 notice procedure.
 

If the deposit is protected but the amount to be repaid is disputed

The tenancy deposit scheme provider which holds your eposit will offer a free dispute resolution service if you disagree with your landlord about how much deposit should be returned.

The service is voluntary, and both you and the landlord have to agree to it. You’ll both be asked to provide evidence, and the decision made about your deposit will be final.

You can also raise a dispute with the tenancy deposit scheme provider to recover your deposit if you can't contact your landlord.

Seek legal advice if you believe that your deposit hasn't been placed into a tenancy deposit scheme.

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