In England and Wales your deposit can be registered with:
- Deposit Protection Service (Custodial and Insured)
- MyDeposits - including deposits that were held by Capita
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme
Your landlord can accept valuable items (eg a car or watch) as a deposit instead of money, but they won't be protected by a scheme.
They make sure you'll get your deposit back if you:
- meet the terms of your tenancy agreement
- don't damage the property
- pay your rent and bills
Your landlord or letting agent must put your deposit in the scheme within 30 days of getting it.
At the end of your tenancy
Your landlord must return your deposit within 10 days of you both agreeing how much you'll get back.
If you're in a dispute with your landlord, then your deposit will be protected in the TDP scheme until the issue is sorted out.
Your landlord doesn't have to protect a holding deposit (money you pay to 'hold' a property before an agreement is signed). Once you become a tenant, the holding deposit becomes a deposit, which they must protect.
Deposits made by a third party
Your landlord must use a TDP scheme even if your deposit is paid by someone else, eg a rent deposit scheme or your parents.
Information landlords must give tenants
Once your landlord has received your deposit, they have 30 days to tell you:
- the address of the rented property
- how much deposit you've paid
- how the deposit is protected
- the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme and its dispute resolution service
- their (or the letting agency's) name and contact details
- the name and contact details of any third party that's paid the deposit
- why they would keep some or all of the deposit
- how to apply to get the deposit back
- what to do if you can't get hold of the landlord at the end of the tenancy
- what to do if there's a dispute over the deposit
If your landlord doesn't protect your deposit
Contact a tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if you're not sure whether your deposit has been protected.
Deposit Protection Service (Custodial and Insured)
Telephone: 0330 303 0030
Getting your deposit back
You can apply to your local county court if you think your landlord hasn't used a TDP scheme when they should have.
Get legal advice before applying to court.
If the court finds your landlord hasn't protected your deposit, it can order the person holding the deposit to either:
- repay it to you
- 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 landlord about how much deposit should be returned.
You don't have to use the service but if you do, both you and the landlord have to agree to it. You'll both be asked to provide evidence, and the decision made about your deposit will be final.
If you can't contact the landlord
You can 'raise a dispute' to get your deposit back if you can't contact your landlord and your deposit is held by one of the approved TDP schemes:
The TDP scheme will refund your deposit if the dispute resolution service agrees.
There may be a limit on the time you have to raise a dispute. Contact the TDP scheme as soon as possible.