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Paying your tenancy deposit

A tenancy deposit is a sum of money that you pay to your landlord or letting agent before you move in. 

The deposit is your money.

You should get it back when your tenancy ends, but your landlord could keep some or all of it for things like:

  • missed rent payments

  • damage to the property

How much is a deposit?

A tenancy deposit cannot usually be more than 5 weeks' rent.

This limit is for assured shorthold tenants, students in halls of residence, and lodgers, as long as your rent is less than £4,167 a month.

Calculate a maximum tenancy deposit

Monthly rent x 12 ÷ 52 x 5 = maximum tenancy deposit

If your landlord or agent charges more

You can complain to:

Your landlord has to repay any overcharged money if they want to use a section 21 notice to evict you.

What is deposit protection?

Deposit protection is only for assured shorthold tenants.

Your landlord or agent must:

  • register your deposit with a deposit protection scheme within 30 days

  • give you certain written information about the scheme they use

  • keep your deposit protected during the tenancy

Find out what to do if your landlord breaks deposit protection rules.

Deposit protection schemes

Check your deposit is protected with one of the 3 deposit protection schemes. 

All 3 providers have:

  • an insurance scheme - where the landlord or agent holds the deposit

  • a custodial scheme - where the scheme keeps the deposit during the tenancy

They all have a free dispute resolution service if you cannot agree about deductions or the return of your deposit when your tenancy ends.

Find out about refunds when your deposit is protected.

Zero deposit companies

A landlord or agent might suggest you use a 'zero deposit' company. This is sometimes called deposit replacement insurance. Letting agents often get commission from these companies.

You do not pay a tenancy deposit if you use these companies. But there are other costs and you do not get the money back when you leave.

Your landlord or agent cannot make you use a zero deposit company. They can only say it is an option for a tenancy deposit.

Find out more about:

Last updated: 10 September 2023

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