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Joint tenancies

Paying a deposit

Usually you all pay a single deposit to the landlord or letting agent before you move in.

The money is treated as one deposit for the whole tenancy.

You can ask the landlord or agent to record your individual shares on the tenancy agreement.

The landlord can make deductions from the whole deposit at the end of the tenancy even if only one of you has caused damage or did not pay rent.

A tenancy deposit is different from a holding deposit which you pay to reserve a property.

Ask for an inventory

Get an inventory which shows the condition of each room and shared areas at the start. This can help if you have problems with getting your deposit back.

Take photos and videos that clearly show the date. Label them with the room they show.

Deposit protection schemes

Your landlord or agent must protect your deposit with a scheme if you have an assured shorthold tenancy. Most private renters have this type of tenancy.

A deposit paid by joint tenants is usually protected as a single deposit. The scheme can ask you to choose a lead tenant as a named contact when this happens.

The lead tenant is the person who the scheme will contact when the tenancy ends.

Your landlord may agree to protect each share of the deposit separately.

Choosing a lead tenant

All joint tenants should be told where the deposit is protected.

The deposit schemes often ask for one person to be responsible for:

  • communicating with the deposit protection scheme

  • raising disputes about deductions from the deposit

Some schemes return the whole deposit to the lead tenant who then repays other tenants.

You can choose a lead tenant between yourselves when you pay the deposit. Ask the landlord or agent to protect the deposit in that person's name.

If you do not decide on a lead tenant, your landlord might choose one or the scheme might only deal with the first tenant to contact them.

Keep the lead tenant's contact details as the deposit will not be returned until after the tenancy ends.

If you join an existing tenancy

Find out how to protect your rights if you're replacing someone who is leaving a joint tenancy.

Getting your deposit back

Last updated: 29 September 2022

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