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Deposit protection schemes

Tenancy deposit protection (TDP) schemes ensure that money paid by tenants (as deposits) is kept safe.

The schemes guarantee that tenants will get their deposits back at the end of the tenancy, if they meet the terms of the tenancy agreement and do not damage the property. Landlords must protect their tenants’ deposits using a TDP scheme if they have let the property on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) which started after 6 April 2007.

If these conditions don’t apply – for example, because your landlord lives in the property with you – your landlord does not have to protect your deposits. However, it is still good practice to do so.

Landlords or agents must use one of the three approved TDP schemes to protect tenants’ deposits where these conditions apply. If any other scheme is used, deposits are not protected in law. The three approved schemes are:

  • Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
  • MyDeposits
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

If your landlord does not protect your deposits when required to, you can take them to court and they may have to repay the deposit plus three times the amount of the deposit. Your landlord will also not be able to seek possession of your property in certain circumstances.

The schemes:

  • encourage landlords and tenants to draw up clear tenancy agreements
  • provide a free service to resolve disputes.

TDP schemes do not cover holding deposits. Tenants can pay holding deposits before they have signed a rental agreement. Your landlord is not required to protect a holding deposit with a scheme before you become a tenant. However, once you are a tenant the holding deposit becomes a deposit which must be protected with a scheme.

Contact information

For further information please visit the GOV.UK website.

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