Your tenancy deposit
A tenancy deposit is money which your landlord may ask you to pay when you start to rent a house, as protection against damages to the property or for unpaid rent. Deposits taken on or after 1 April 2013, must be protected in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Paying rent up front does not count as a deposit. However, a rent deposit which your landlord holds as security against your failure to pay the rent has to be treated as a tenancy deposit and must be protected in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Tenants do not need to pay anything to have their deposit protected regardless of which scheme their landlord chooses to use.
What your landlord or agent must do
Your landlord must protect your deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 14 days of receipt and make sure it remains protected in an approved scheme for the length of your tenancy.
Your landlord must also provide you with a written tenancy statement and with specific written information about your tenancy which will set out any reasons why your deposit may not be fully repaid at the end of your tenancy.
This written information must be given to you within 28 days of you paying your deposit.
It must include:
- details of the amount of the deposit protected in an approved scheme and your full tenancy address
- the landlord’s and any agent’s name, address and contact details
- the name and contact details of the scheme protecting your deposit including how you can let the scheme know about a disagreement over the return of your deposit
- the reasons why part or all of your deposit might be withheld at the end of the tenancy
- what happens when you cannot be contacted at the end of the tenancy
Protecting your deposit
Once your landlord receives your deposit, they must make sure that the deposit is protected in an approved scheme. If your landlord uses an agent it is the agent’s responsibility to make sure the deposit is protected within 14 days and to give you the written tenancy statement and the specific written information within 28 days.
All deposits must be held by scheme administrators in special bank accounts, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, to make sure your money is safe and in case their scheme fails.