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Tenancy deposit protection rules

This content applies to England

Rules for protecting a deposit received on or after 6 April 2007 in a tenancy deposit protection scheme, including when a tenancy is renewed on or after that date.

Obligations on the landlord

On receiving a deposit on or after 6 April 2007 in relation to an assured shorthold tenancy, a landlord, or any agent acting on her/his behalf,[1] must:[2]

  • protect the deposit by complying with the initial requirements of an authorised scheme, and
  • serve the prescribed information on the tenant(s) and any other 'relevant person' (ie any person who, in accordance with arrangements made with the tenant, paid the deposit on behalf of the tenant).

Tenancy deposit protection schemes

Landlords and their agents can choose to use either a custodial or insurance-backed scheme. Each scheme has its own rules about what initial requirements must be fulfilled in order to protect the deposit. For more information about the various schemes available, the rules to be followed to fulfill their initial requirements, and the organisations that administer them see Approved schemes.

A tenant can request confirmation from the scheme administrator that the deposit is being held in accordance with the scheme. The scheme administrator should respond to such a request as soon as practicable.[3]

Prescribed information

In addition to fulfilling the initial requirements to protect the deposit using one of the authorised scheme, the landlord (or her/his agent) must provide the tenant and any other 'relevant person' with the prescribed information as set out in the Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed Information) Order 2007.[4]

For further information and the full list, see Prescribed information.

Service of documents

Each approved scheme may make provision as to the methods used for the service of notices, directions, or other documents on the landlord or tenant.[5]

Documents served upon a tenant or landlord may be treated as having been received by the other party on the second day after they are sent by first class post.[6]

The landlord's address will be the address s/he last provided to the scheme administrator. The tenant's address will be the address at which the tenancy is held or, if the tenant has already left that address, the last address provided to the scheme by the tenant or, where relevant, the last known address of the tenant as provided by the landlord in her/his statutory declaration.[7]

Before sending the notice to the addresses detailed above, the scheme may, where it deems it appropriate, send documents to another address, or attempt to contact the landlord or tenant by any other means.[8]

Time limits for compliance

Currently, the landlord/agent must fulfil her/his obligations within 30 days of receiving the deposit. However, different time limits have applied since the legislation was first introduced in 2007. For details see Time limits for compliance.

Penalties for non-compliance

Non-compliant landlords/agents are liable to:[9]

  • financial sanctions
  • restrictions on the use of a section 21 notice

For details see Penalties for non-compliance.

Renewal of tenancies and deemed compliance

When the tenant's deposit was protected and the prescribed information served during the initial/original tenancy (whether fixed-term, contractual or statutory periodic), and the deposit remains protected with the same authorised scheme, there is no requirement on the landlord/agent to re-serve the prescribed information each time the tenancy is replaced by a new tenancy or becomes statutory periodic.

This is referred to as 'directly or indirectly' renewing the tenancy in the legislation and refers to the situation where there is a series of tenancies one after another. This applies regardless of whether the landlord/agent complied with the requirements within 30 days of receiving the deposit or not.[10]

For this purpose, both the landlord(s) and tenant(s) must be the same at the start of the replacement/statutory periodic tenancy, and the premises let must be the same or substantially the same.[11]

The law with regard to the renewal of tenancies and deemed compliance with the tenancy deposit protection rules was changed on 26 March 2015 and it applies retrospectively, ie it is treated as being in effect since 6 April 2007.[12]

Sharing of information with local authorities

With effect from 6 April 2017, an authorised scheme must provide a local authority with certain information when requested. They can charge a fee for this service.[13]

The local authority can only request information in connection with its functions, or investigations into whether an offence has been committed, under Parts 1 to 4 of the Housing Act 2004 (this includes the Housing Health and Safety Rating System and licensing of houses in multiple occupation).

Wales

The legislative references and the footnotes on this page reflect the law in England. In Wales, very similar rules made under Welsh legislation apply, but the references may be different. Visit Shelter Cymru for more details about the law in Wales.

[1] s.212(9)(a) Housing Act 2004.

[2] s.213 Housing Act 2004, as amended by s.184 Localism Act 2011.

[3] para 9, Sch.10, Housing Act 2004.

[4] ss.213(5) and 213(6) Housing Act 2004, as amended by s.184 Localism Act 2011; the prescribed information are listed in art.2 Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed Information) Order 2007 SI 2007/797, as amended  by s.30 Deregulation Act 2015.

[5] para 10A, Sch.10 Housing Act 2004, as inserted by art.9 Housing (Tenancy Deposit Schemes) Order 2007 SI 2007/796.

[6] paras 10B(1) and 10C(1), Sch.10 Housing Act 2004, as inserted by art.9 Housing (Tenancy Deposit Schemes) Order 2007 SI 2007/796.

[7] para 10C(2)-(3), Sch.10 Housing Act 2004, as inserted by art.9 Housing (Tenancy Deposit Schemes) Order 2007 SI 2007/796.

[8] paras 10B(3) and 10C(4), Sch.10 Housing Act 2004, as inserted by art.7 Housing (Tenancy Deposit Schemes) Order 2007 SI 2007/796.

[9] ss.214 and 215 Housing Act 2004, as amended by s.184 Localism Act 2011 and s.31 Deregulation Act 2015.

[10] s.215B Housing Act 2004, as inserted by s.32 Deregulation Act 2015.

[11] s.215B(4) Housing Act 2004, as inserted by s.32 Deregulation Act 2015.

[12] s.215C(1) Housing Act 2004, as inserted by s.32 Deregulation Act 2015, read in conjunction with s.115(1)(a) Deregulation Act 2015.

[13] s.212A Housing Act 2004, as inserted by s.128 Housing and Planning Act 2016; reg 4(g) Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Commencement No. 5, Transitional Provisions and Savings) Regulations 2017 SI 2017/281.

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