Private rented housing
Deposit protection schemes
When you are looking for a rental property, make sure your landlord is signed up to a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) schemes that ensures the money paid by tenants (as deposits) is kept safe and 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. This should be detailed in your tenancy agreement.
Landlords/agents must protect tenants’ deposits using a TDP scheme if they let a property on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) which started after 6 April 2007. Landlords or agents must use one of the three approved TDP schemes. If any other scheme is used, deposits are not protected in law. The three approved schemes are:
- Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
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.
If your landlord does not protect your deposit, 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.
Tenant deposit protection schemes do not cover holding deposits that landlords may ask you to pay to secure a rental property. However, once you become a tenant the holding deposit you may have paid will be protected with a TDP scheme.