Your Rental Deposit Rights Explained
As a tenant, you have the right to have your full deposit returned to you, minus any fair deductions.
In this article we will:
- discuss what your landlord should do with your deposit,
- list the names of the Tenancy Deposit Schemes,
- discuss the roles of the Tenancy Deposit Schemes,
- detail how quickly your landlord should deposit your deposit,
- detail how quickly your landlord should return your deposit,
- what you need to do to get your deposit back.
What’s the deal with tenancy deposits?
Your landlord must put your deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. In England and Wales your deposit can be registered with:
What can I use as a tenancy deposit if I don't have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST)?
If you don’t rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy, your landlord can accept valuable items (for example a car or watch) as a deposit instead of money.
These items won’t be protected by a scheme like the DPS, MyDeposits, or TDS.
Are there different deposit schemes in Scotland and Northern Ireland?
Yes, there are separate Tenancy Deposit Scheme schemes in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
SafeDeposits Scotland calls themselves ‘Scotland's leading tenancy deposit scheme’, and for deposits in Northern Ireland, TDS Northern Ireland is a not-for-profit company authorised by the Department for Communities to operate custodial and insurance based tenancy deposit protection schemes in Northern Ireland.
The Tenancy Deposit Schemes should 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.
How quickly should my landlord or letting agent return my deposit at the end of the tenancy?
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 I have a dispute with my landlord, what happens to the deposit while the dispute is being worked out?
If you’re in a dispute with your landlord, then your deposit will be protected in the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDP) scheme until the issue is sorted out.
Deposits made by a third party
Your landlord must use a TDP scheme even if your deposit is paid by someone else, such as a rent deposit scheme or your parents.