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)


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 deposit protection

Your landlord has 30 days to protect your deposit and provide written information about the scheme.

Different time limits apply to deposits paid before 6 April 2012:

6 April 2007 to 5 April 2012

Your landlord must have protected your deposit by 6 May 2012.

Before 6 April 2007 

Your landlord doesn't have to protect your deposit if you've had a periodic (rolling) assured shorthold tenancy since before 6 April 2007.

But if they want to give you a section 21 notice to end your tenancy they must protect or return your deposit.

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

  • your fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy ended after 5 April 2007 
  • you haven't renewed your tenancy since

Your landlord had until 6 May 2012 to protect your deposit if you renewed your tenancy between 6 April 2007 and 5 April 2012.

Your landlord had 30 days to protect your deposit if you renewed your tenancy on or after 6 April 2012.

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. 


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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