Your tenancy deposit must be protected in a government-backed scheme if you are an assured shorthold tenant.
Whose deposits must be protected?
All tenancy deposits paid by an assured shorthold tenant have to be protected by the landlord in a government-backed scheme.
Not all tenancy deposits have to be protected. If you live in the same house as your landlord or stay in student halls of residence your deposit does not have to be protected in a tenancy deposit protection scheme.
Landlord tenancy deposit responsibilities
Your landlord must:
- protect your deposit with a government-backed scheme
- provide you with information about the scheme used
They must do this within 30 days of receiving your deposit.
How your deposit is protected
Tenancy deposit protection schemes make sure that your deposit is kept safe and you get back what you are entitled to at the end of your tenancy.
You do not have to pay any money to have your deposit protected.
Your landlord can choose which of the following schemes to use:
Capita Tenancy Deposit Service also provided a scheme for a short period, but stopped accepting new deposits in September 2013. Any deposits held by Capita have been moved to MyDeposits.
How long your deposit is protected
Your deposit is protected for as long as you remain a tenant at the same property with the same landlord.
Your deposit will still be protected when your tenancy is renewed or if you stay beyond any initial fixed-term in your contract.
How to check if your deposit is protected
All the tenancy deposit protection schemes allow you to check online if your tenancy deposit is protected in their scheme.
Alternatively, you can contact the schemes direct and ask.
The tenancy deposit protection schemes are:
Penalties if a tenancy deposit is not protected
Penalties apply if your landlord doesn't:
- protect your deposit when they should
- give you the required information when they should
Your landlord can be fined and it can be more difficult for them to end your tenancy.
Read more about tenancy deposit scheme penalties.
How disputes are dealt with
Each tenancy deposit protection scheme has an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service. This is free and aims to resolve any disputes between you and your landlord without going to court.
You should have been provided with information on what to do if there is a dispute about the return of your deposit when your tenancy ends.
Both you and your landlord must agree to use ADR and you have to accept any decision made as part of the process.
If you or your landlord don't agree to use ADR you may need to go to court to get your tenancy deposit back.
Your landlord had until 23 June 2015 to protect your deposit if you paid your tenancy deposit before 6 April 2007, your fixed-term tenancy expired after this date and your tenancy hasn't been renewed since.
Information your landlord must give you
Your landlord must provide you with certain information about the protection of your deposit. This is called prescribed information.
Your landlord must inform you in writing about:
- details of the tenancy deposit scheme used
- how to get your deposit back when you leave
- what to do if there is a dispute about its return
- your landlord's name, address and contact details or the contact details of the letting agent that set up your tenancy
You must also be given a copy of a deposit protection certificate, signed by the landlord.
In some cases you are also provided with a repayment ID number. This is given to you by the organisation that runs the scheme, not the landlord. Keep this safe. You will need it to get your deposit back when you leave.