Tenancy deposit protection rules

Your landlord must protect your deposit if you have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST)

Most private renters have this type of tenancy.

Time limits

Your landlord or agent has 30 days from when they receive your deposit to:

  • protect it with an authorised scheme

  • give you certain written information about the scheme 

The deposit must stay protected for your whole tenancy. Find out what should happen if your landlord or agent changes during the tenancy

Pet deposits

Landlords can ask for a deposit for having pets, but only if:

  • any deposit money you pay is protected in one of the approved schemes

  • the total you pay in deposits does not go over the limit landlords can charge. This is generally 5 weeks' rent

Landlords often treat any separate deposits you pay as one deposit.

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 if they want to end your tenancy with a section 21 eviction 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

Information your landlord must give you

Your landlord or agent must give you their contact details and those for the deposit protection scheme.

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

  • the deposit amount and address of the tenancy 

  • returning 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 when the tenancy ends

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

When your fixed term ends

Your landlord or agent must give you updated written information within 30 days if you stay after the fixed term ends and any details change, for example:

  • there is a new joint tenant

  • your deposit is protected in a different scheme

Your landlord must give you the updated information even if you stay and do not sign a new fixed term.

If your landlord breaks deposit protection rules

There are penalties for landlords who do not protect your deposit in the time limits.

Compensation 

You can consider a compensation claim against a landlord or agent who did not 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 after your tenancy ends.

Section 21 eviction 

Your landlord cannot usually give you a valid section 21 eviction 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 can sometimes use 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.

If your section 8 is because of rent arrears, you can make a counterclaim for compensation if your landlord did not follow the deposit protection rules.

The compensation could make up your rent shortfall and stop the section 8 process.


Last updated: 12 July 2022

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