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Tenancy deposit

As a landlord you must put the deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if you let your property on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007.

In England and Wales deposits can be registered with:

You can accept valuable items (eg a car or watch) as a deposit instead of money, but these need not be protected by a scheme.

You should put the tenant's deposit in a scheme within 30 days of getting it.

At the end of your tenancy

You must return the tenant's deposit within 10 days of you both agreeing how much you'll get back.

If you're in a dispute with your tenant, then your deposit will be protected in the TDP scheme until the issue is sorted out.

Holding deposits

You do not have to protect a holding deposit (money you pay to 'hold' a property before an agreement is signed). Once you have a tenant, the holding deposit becomes a deposit, which you must protect.

Deposits made by a third party

Your must use a TDP scheme even if your deposit is paid by someone else, eg a rent deposit scheme or the tenant's parents.

Information landlords must give tenants

Once you have received the deposit, they have 30 days to inform your tenant of the following:

  • the address of the rented property
  • how much deposit you've received
  • how the deposit is protected
  • the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme and its dispute resolution service
  • your (or your letting agency's) name and contact details
  • the name and contact details of any third party that's paid the deposit
  • why you would keep some or all of the deposit
  • how the tenant can apply to get the deposit back
  • what to do if the tenant can't get hold of you at the end of the tenancy
  • what to do if there's a dispute over the deposit

If you fail to protect your deposit

Your tenant can apply to the counct court. 

If the court finds you haven't protected the deposit, it can order you to either:

  • repay it
  • pay it into a custodial TDP scheme's bank account within 14 days

The court may also order the landlord to pay you up to 3 times the deposit within 14 days of making the order.

At the end of the tenancy

The court may decide that you won't have to leave the property when the tenancy ends if your landlord hasn't used a TDP scheme when they should have.

Disputes and problems

If there's a dispute over a deposit

Your tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme offers a free dispute resolution service if you disagree with your tenant about how much deposit should be returned.

You don't have to use the service but if you do, both you and thetenant have to agree to it. You'll both be asked to provide evidence, and the decision made about your deposit will be final.