Tenancy deposit protection rules

Find out when your deposit must be protected and what happens if your landlord or agent break the rules.

When your deposit must be protected

Your deposit must be protected if you have an assured shorthold tenancy

Most private renters have this type of tenancy.

If your landlord or letting agent changes during your tenancy your deposit still needs to be protected. 

Time limits

Your landlord or agent has 30 days from when you pay your deposit to:

  • protect it with an authorised scheme

  • give you certain written information about the scheme 

The deposit must remain protected throughout the tenancy.

Deposits paid before 6 April 2012

Different time limits applied before this date.

Your landlord does not have to protect your deposit if you paid it before 6 April 2007 and either:

  • you never had a fixed term tenancy

  • the fixed term ended before that date

But they must protect or return your deposit first if they want to take steps to end your tenancy with a section 21 notice.

In all other cases, your deposit must have been protected by a certain date: 

Date you paid your depositLatest date for protection
Between 6 April 2007 and 5 April 20126 May 2012
Before 6 April 2007 - if you signed a new contract after this date6 May 2012
Before 6 April 2007 - if your fixed term ended after this date and you have not signed a new contract since23 June 2015

What information must be provided

Your landlord or agent must give you their own contact details and those of the protection scheme they use.

They must also give you a scheme leaflet and written information about: 

  • the deposit amount and address of the tenancy 

  • return of your deposit and when deductions can be made

  • how to use the scheme's dispute resolution service if you cannot agree  

  • what happens if you get no response from your landlord at the end of the tenancy

Your landlord or agent must sign a certificate to confirm the information is accurate.

If your fixed term ends but you stay on, your landlord or agent must give you updated written information within 30 days if any of the details have changed.

If your landlord breaks deposit protection rules

There are penalties for landlords who fail to protect your deposit within the time limits.


You could consider a compensation claim against a landlord or agent who failed to protect your deposit or protected it late.

Check the time limits in place when you paid the deposit to see if you can claim.

You have 6 years to make a claim so it's usually best to wait until your tenancy has ended and you've moved on.

Section 21 eviction 

Your landlord cannot usually give you a valid section 21 notice if:

  • your deposit is unprotected or protected late

  • you did not get written information about your deposit

It will not count as late protection if your deposit was protected within 30 days of your most recent fixed term starting or your last fixed term ending.

Your landlord may be able to give you a section 21 notice if they return your deposit or give you the written information first.

Section 8 eviction

Your landlord can give you a valid section 8 even if they have not protected your deposit. However, you can make a counterclaim for compensation because they have not protected it. 

If your section 8 has been given because of rent arrears, the compensation may make up your rent shortfall. This may stop the section 8 process.

Last updated: 21 August 2019

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