See if your tenancy deposit is protected

Find out if your tenancy deposit is protected

Your deposit is your money. Your landlord should protect your deposit in one of the schemes below within 30 days of receiving it. If not, you could be due compensation of 1 to 3 times the value of the deposit.

You automatically have an assured shorthold tenancy if:

  • you moved in on or after 28 February 1997 and
  • you pay rent to a private landlord and
  • you have control over your home so that your landlord and other people cannot come in whenever they want to and
  • your landlord does not live in the same building as you and
  • you are not living in university or college accommodation or business premises.

1 What you’ll need

Your postcode
Tenancy start date
Deposit amount

2 How to check your deposit is protected

Is your tenancy deposit protected? Check online to see if your deposit is protected in a government-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme.

This applies if you have an assured shorthold tenancy that was started or renewed after 6 April 2007.

If you do not have an assured shorthold tenancy you will have a different process.


My deposit
is not protected

Find out what to do

My deposit
is protected

Find out what to do

Good news! As you’ve found the scheme your deposit is registered with, your money should be secure until you move out.

If you keep up with the rent, and leave the place in good condition, your landlord should return your deposit at the end of your tenancy.

Find out more about deducations from tenancy deposits and how to get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy.

Sign our Rogue Landlords petition

The action you take will depend on whether your tenancy is current or if your tenancy has ended:

3. Ask your landlord if your deposit is protected

Your landlord has 30 days from receiving your deposit to tell you in writing which scheme has been used to protect your deposit.

If you have not heard from your landlord in this time, you can write to your landlord and ask for this information.

Use our sample letter to ask your landlord which tenancy deposit scheme is protecting your money

4. Ask your landlord to protect your deposit

If it has been 30 days or more since you paid you tenancy deposit to your landlord (or the landlord's agent), you could write to your landlord and ask for your deposit to be protected.

Use our sample letter to ask your landlord to protect your tenancy deposit.

NOTE: There may be risks involved in taking further action at this stage. You could take court action to recover your deposit with compensation at the end of your tenancy instead.

7. Share your story

If you've had trouble getting your deposit protected, we want to hear about it. Please share your story and help us fight for better rights for tenants.

Share your story

If your landlord should have protected your deposit but hasn't, the law says that you are entitled to have your tenancy deposit returned to you. A court can order your landlord to return your deposit and pay you compensation of between 1 and 3 times its value.

1. Gather your information

It's important to collect and check any relevant evidence to back up your case, for example:

  • your tenancy agreement
  • evidence you paid your rent in full
  • evidence showing you paid a tenancy deposit
  • confirmation the deposit was against damage and loss (rather than rent in advance)
  • copies of any letters to and from your landlord
  • evidence that the deposit was not protected in a scheme
  • your inventory and photos of the property at the end of the tenancy
  • anything else that may be relevant.

Having all this information will help when you take further action.

2. Send a letter threatening court action

If your landlord has not returned your deposit within 10 days of your tenancy ending you can write to your landlord threatening court action.

Use our sample letter before action Before court action to make a tenancy deposit claim if your tenancy has ended.

Clearly showing a landlord that you can prove they didn't comply with their obligations under the law – and that you know you can take court action – may convince your landlord that you are serious about recovering your deposit. Your landlord may prefer to return your deposit to you rather than face court action.

3. Consider if taking court action is your best option

Taking court action may not always be in your best interest. It is only worth getting a county court judgement against someone who has the means to pay it.

Consider carefully if your landlord has any reason to make any deduction from your deposit. If you take your landlord to court, your landlord will have an opportunity to defend the claims you make and may wish to raise issues in defence such as:

  • the property has not been left clean enough
  • there is damage to the carpets or furniture
  • the rent has not been paid in full.

Landlords may try to compensate for the penalty part of your claim by exaggerating their counterclaim so that it is for more than the deposit.

4. Asking a court to order the return of your deposit

Providing you have sent a 'letter before action' to your landlord and the time limit for a response has expired, if your landlord failed to protect your deposit – or protected your deposit late – you can apply to the county court to order your landlord to refund your deposit to you and pay you compensation.

Court procedures for these types of claim have been set up to be used by people who attend court themselves, so you won't be able to claim the costs of having someone represent you in court. You will have to pay court fees when you apply to the court. It is important to ask the court to treat your case as a 'small claim' to avoid the risk of liability for your landlord's solicitors costs.

The amount you ask for will depend on whether you accept your landlord is entitled to make a deduction from your deposit - for example, for unpaid rent.  Mention this in the claim form, say how much you think the landlord is entitled to deduct and limit your claim to the balance.

Apply to the court using Form N208. You'll find guidance notes for tenants on Form 208A. You can also get the court forms from your local county court.

7. Share your story

If you've had trouble getting your deposit protected, we want to hear about it. Please share your story and help us fight for better rights for tenants.

Share your story


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