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Tenancy deposit protection

Safeguards for rent deposits

Tenancy deposit law was introduced on 6th April 2007 and provides protection for tenants by preventing landlords and letting agents from unfairly withholding a deposit. The scheme protects all Assured Shorthold tenancies in England and Wales ( covering most tenancies since 1997).

What is it?

Tenancy deposit protection is designed to ensure:

  • you get all or part of your deposit back when you are entitled to it
  • any disputes between you and your landlord or agent will be easier to resolve
  • landlords and letting agents who do not protect tenancy deposits will have to pay back their tenant three times the deposit 

How does it work?

At the beginning of a new tenancy agreement, pay your deposit to your landlord or agent as usual. Within 14 days, the landlord or agent is required to give you details about how your deposit is protected including:

  • the contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme
  • the contact details of the landlord or agent
  • how to apply for the release of the deposit
  • information explaining the purpose of the deposit
  • what to do if there is a dispute about the deposit

If you don't get this information, ask your landlord or agent the simple question - 'how is my deposit protected?'

You have a responsibility to return the property in the same condition that it was let to you, allowing for fair wear and tear.

What if your landlord isn't protecting your deposit?

You can apply to your local county court.  The court can order the landlord or agent to either repay the deposit to you or protect it in a scheme.  If your landlord or agent has not protected your deposit, they will be ordered to repay three times the amount of the deposit to you.

More on resolving disputes

At the end of the tenancy, check whether you are leaving the property and its contents in the condition in which it was let to you - allowing for fair wear and tear-  and check that you have paid your rent and any other expenses. Then agree with your landlord or agent how much of the deposit should be returned to you.

Within 10 days - you should have received the agreed amount of the deposit

For more information go to the directgov website

date last reviewed 25/11/2010