How to get your tenancy deposit protected

Steps you can take to make sure money you paid to cover missed rent or damage is protected.

1. Ask your landlord to protect your deposit

You pay a tenancy deposit to a landlord in case you damage the property you are renting or leave without paying all the rent.

Your landlord has a legal duty to protect your tenancy deposit if you have an assured shorthold tenancy. Most renters have this tenancy type. 

Your landlord has 30 days from when you pay your deposit to protect it with a tenancy deposit protection scheme and to provide you with information about the scheme used. Different time limits apply to tenancy deposits paid before 6 April 2012.

You can ask your landlord if they've done this and which scheme they are using. Ask your landlord's letting agent instead if they're dealing with tenancy deposit issues on behalf of your landlord. You can email, call or ask in person.

Your landlord doesn't have to protect your deposit if you are a lodger.

2. Send a letter

You can ask your landlord to protect your deposit even if they have missed the deadline for doing this. It's better for your landlord to protect your deposit late than not at all. Most landlords will protect a tenancy deposit when they're asked. 

Your landlord doesn't have to protect your deposit if you are a lodger.

Send a letter or email asking your landlord to protect your tenancy deposit: 

Use Shelter's template letter to ask your landlord to protect your tenancy deposit.

Send a polite reminder if you think it will help your negotiations:

Use Shelter's template letter to ask your landlord again to protect your tenancy deposit.

You can send the letter or email your landlord's letting agent if they are dealing with tenancy deposit issues on behalf of your landlord.

3. Check if it's been protected 

Have these details ready: your postcode, tenancy start date, tenancy deposit amount, tenant's name.

There are 3 tenancy deposit scheme providers. 

Use their websites to check if your deposit is protected by them:

The Dispute Service (TDS)

The Deposit Protection Service (TDPS)

mydeposits.co.uk

Tenancy deposits paid to Capita Tenancy Deposit Service are protected by mydeposits.

Your landlord must provide you with information saying which tenancy deposit protection scheme they've used. Your landlord's letting agent may provide this information instead.

4. Threaten court action 

The court can order your landlord to protect your tenancy deposit and pay you compensation if your landlord missed the 30 day deadline for protecting your deposit.

You can threaten court action if your landlord ignores your requests to protect your tenancy deposit. To do this, you'll have to send your landlord a legal letter called a letter before action. 

After receiving your letter before action, your landlord may decide to protect your deposit. Your landlord may offer to settle the case and pay you compensation.

Your letter before action should:

  • give the landlord a deadline to respond – allow at least 14 days
  • set out the legal arguments you would use in court
  • include details of any claim for compensation
  • provide evidence to back up your case such as copies of letters and emails

Use Shelter's template letter before action to get your deposit protected.

Send this letter by recorded delivery or get proof of posting.

5. Take your landlord to court

You can take court action to get your deposit returned or protected.

If you start court action while you are still living in the property, the court can order your landlord to protect your tenancy deposit and pay you compensation.

If you wait until after your tenancy has ended and you've left, the court can order your landlord return your tenancy deposit and pay you compensation.

Tenancy deposit compensation will be between 1 and 3 times the amount of your deposit.


Last updated 31 Oct 2017 | © Shelter

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