A deposit is a sum of money paid by a tenant to a landlord or agent before moving into a rental property, serving as security against potential damages or unpaid rent during the tenancy.

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Guide to tenancy deposits

My landlord has kept some of my deposit, are they allowed to do this?

Your landlord must protect your deposit if you have an assured shorthold tenancy (AST)

Your landlord is legally obliged to secure your deposit within 30 days of receiving it. Your landlord should also provide you with specific information about the scheme that they have used:

  • The contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme
  • The landlord or agent's contact details
  • 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

There are 3 government backed Tenancy Deposit Schemes:

  • The Tenancy Deposit Scheme
  • My Deposits
  • Deposit Protection Service

If there is a dispute about your deposit and your landlord won't come to an agreement with you the schemes offer a free service which can help to resolve the dispute called the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service.

If you and the landlord both agree to use the service to resolve the dispute, then you're both bound by its decision. However, both parties need to co-operate with the service. The onus is on the landlord to prove why they are deducting the money.

This doesn't prevent you from taking the matter to the small claims court instead of using ADR, but the judge at court may want to know why you refused to engage with the dispute service.

If your deposit has not been protected

If your deposit isn't in a scheme, the action you take will depend on whether your tenancy is still current or if your tenancy has ended.

Current tenancy

If you are still in the tenancy then you should ask your landlord to protect your deposit and give you the prescribed information.

If it has been 30 days or more since you paid your tenancy deposit to your landlord (or the landlord's agent), write to your landlord and ask for your deposit to be protected.

If your tenancy has ended

If your tenancy has ended and your landlord hasn't protected your deposit, the law says that you're entitled to have your tenancy deposit returned to you. A court can order your landlord to return your deposit and pay you compensation of between one and three times its value.

If you need further help with this process, please contact us.


Find out how to check if your tenancy deposit is protected.