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.
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 doesn't 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 deposit||Latest date for protection|
|Between 6 April 2007 and 5 April 2012||6 May 2012|
|Before 6 April 2007 - if you signed a new contract after this date||6 May 2012|
|Before 6 April 2007 - if your fixed term ended after this date and you have not signed a new contract since||23 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 can't 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 can't usually give you a valid section 21 notice if:
- your deposit is unprotected or protected late
- you didn't get written information about your deposit
It won't 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 haven't protected your deposit. However, you can make a counterclaim for compensation because they haven't 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 22 August 2019 | © Shelter
If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help