In England and Wales, if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007, your landlord must place your deposit in one of the following tenancy deposit protection (TDP) schemes:
- Deposit Protection Service (Custodial and Insured)
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme
- Capita Tenancy Deposit Protection
These government-backed schemes ensure you’ll get your deposit back if you:
- meet the terms of your tenancy agreement
- don’t damage the property
- pay your rent and bills
Your landlord or letting agent must put your deposit in the scheme within 30 days of getting it.
At the end of your tenancy
If you and your landlord agree how much deposit you’ll get back, it must be returned to you within 10 days of the tenancy ending.
If you’re in a dispute with your landlord, then your deposit is protected in the TDP until the issue is sorted.
Your landlord doesn’t have to protect a holding deposit (money you pay to ‘hold’ a property before an agreement is signed). However, once you become a tenant, the holding deposit becomes a deposit, which they must protect.
Deposits made by a third party
Your landlord must use a TDP scheme even if your deposit is paid by someone else, like a rent deposit scheme or your parents.
Overview of Tenancy Deposit Protection
Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) adds to measures, set out in the Housing Act 2004, to raise standards in the private rented sector. Those measures include licensing multiple-occupancy homes and new safety rules.
TDP applies to all assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales where a deposit is taken. Virtually all new contracts to let a property are ASTs. TDP started on 6 April 2007 and applies to all new ASTs from that date onwards.
There are two main aims:
- To ensure good practice in deposit handling so that when a tenant pays a deposit, and is entitled to get it back, they can be assured that this will happen.
- To assist with the resolution of disputes by having an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service. It will also encourage tenants and landlords to agree the condition and contents of the property at the start of the tenancy.
Summary of TDP
Landlords and agents are required to protect their tenants’ deposits under a statutory tenancy deposit scheme. This means that deposits are safeguarded.
If tenants have kept the property in good condition and paid the rent, and made sure that any other charges due under the tenancy are up to date, they will be fully entitled to get their deposit back.
The schemes offer a free service to assist in resolving disputes.
For further information on the various deposit schemes please visit the Government website.