Tenancy deposit protection rules

Find out what your landlord or their letting agent must do to comply with tenancy deposit protection rules

Who tenancy deposit protection rules help

Landlords who rent a property to tenants with an assured shorthold tenancy have to follow tenancy deposit protection rules. Most private tenants have this type of tenancy. 

If you pay your tenancy deposit to a letting agent, your landlord may ask them to protect it on their behalf. Letting agents have to follow the same rules as landlords. 

Your deposit does not have to be protected with a tenancy deposit protection scheme if you:

How landlords must protect your tenancy deposit

Tenancy deposit protection rules say your landlord must both:

  • protect your deposit with a tenancy deposit protection scheme
  • provide you with information about the scheme used

There are 3 scheme providers:

Deposit Protection Service (DPS)

Dispute service (TDS)

mydeposits

Your landlord can choose to:

  • pay your money into a custodial scheme, or 
  • hold on to your money and pay an insurance scheme to protect it

Your landlord has to protect your deposit for the whole time you remain a tenant at the same property. 

If your landlord uses a tenancy deposit protection insurance scheme, they'll have to renew the insurance if you stay on after the end of your tenancy's fixed term. This applies even if you don't sign a new tenancy agreement.

If your landlord pays your deposit into a tenancy deposit custodial scheme, the deposit continues to be protected while it remains in the scheme.

What information must be provided

Your landlord or agent must give you the following written information:

  • amount of deposit paid and the property address it relates to
  • contact details of your landlord or agent and deposit protection scheme used
  • scheme leaflet explaining the rules  
  • how to get your deposit back and when deductions can be made
  • what happens if you can't agree about how much should be refunded or if your landlord or agent doesn't respond

This information must be signed by the landlord or agent that you paid your deposit to.

The deposit scheme provider might give you a repayment ID. Keep this safe and do not share it with anyone. You'll need it to get your deposit back when you leave.

Time limits for tenancy deposits to be protected

Your landlord will have broken tenancy deposit protection rules if they fail to both protect your deposit in a tenancy deposit protection scheme and provide you with prescribed information within these time-limits.

Deposits paid on or after 6 April 2012

Your landlord has 30 days to protect your deposit after it's paid. 

Deposits paid from 6 April 2007 to 5 April 2012

Your landlord had until 6 May 2012 to protect your deposit if you paid it on or after 6 April 2007 but before 6 April 2012.

Deposits paid before 6 April 2007 - if your tenancy was renewed

Your landlord had until 6 May 2012 to protect your tenancy deposit if you paid it before 6 April 2007 and your tenancy was first renewed before 6 April 2012.

Your landlord had 30 days from the date your tenancy was renewed to protect your tenancy deposit if:

  • you paid it before 6 April 2007 and 
  • your tenancy was first renewed on or after 6 April 2012

Deposits paid before 6 April 2007 - if your tenancy wasn't renewed

Your landlord had until 23 June 2015 to protect your deposit if all these apply:

  • you paid a tenancy deposit before 6 April 2007
  • your tenancy had a fixed term that ended on or after 6 April 2007
  • you haven't signed up to a new fixed term agreement since

Your landlord doesn't have to protect your tenancy deposit if all these apply:

  • you paid a tenancy deposit before 6 April 2007
  • your tenancy had a fixed term that ended before 6 April 2007
  • you have not signed a new contact since and your tenancy has been rolling on (eg from month to month) 

Penalties if your landlord breaks tenancy deposit rules

Your landlord faces penalties if they don't protect your tenancy deposit as required by tenancy deposit protection rules. 

Compensation

A court can order your landlord to pay you compensation of between 1 and 3 times the amount of your deposit.

Refund of deposit before eviction

Tenancy deposit breaches can make a section 21 notice invalid.

Your landlord may have to refund your deposit in full before they can use a section 21 notice to start the eviction process.

Your landlord may be unable to get a court order to evict you using the section 21 notice procedure.


Last updated 31 Oct 2017 | © Shelter

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