As of 2007 all deposits taken by landlords and letting agents for Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England and Wales, must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme. This is a legal obligation which landlords and agents MUST comply with.
What is a tenancy deposit scheme?
The scheme allows tenants to get all or part of their deposit back when they are entitled to it and encourage tenants and landlords to make a clear agreement from the start on the condition of the property.
Tenancy Deposit Protection is designed to ensure:
- 1. you get all or part of your deposit back, when you are entitled to it
- 2. any disputes between you and your landlord or agent will be easier to resolve
- 3. landlords and letting agents who do not protect tenancy deposits will have to pay their tenant back three times the deposit
How does a tenancy deposit scheme work?
At the beginning of a new tenancy agreement, pay your deposit to your landlord or agent as usual.
Within 14 days, the landlord or agent is required to give you details about how your deposit is protected including: the contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme, the contact details of the landlord or agent, how to apply for the release of the deposit, information explaining the purpose of the deposit, what to do if there is a dispute about the deposit
If you don’t get this information, ask your landlord or agent the simple question – ‘how is my deposit protected?’
You have a responsibility to return the property in the same condition that it was let to you, allowing for fair wear and tear.
NUS and UNIPOL have produced an information pack to help students understand scheme and recover their deposits back at the end of a dispute which can be found here.
More information on tenancy deposit schemes is available on the ‘directgov’ website