Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Alternative Dispute Resolution Service (ADR)?

  • What is the ADR Service?
    The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service is an independent service and a free alternative to going to court. It includes collating and summarising the evidence and submissions from the parties, and provides adjudication by an independent legally qualified and suitably trained independent Adjudicator appointed by The DPS who has considered and analysed the evidence submitted by both parties.
  • How do I use the ADR service?

    The tenant will raise a dispute and agree to use our ADR service. We will then write to the landlord giving them 10 days to confirm whether they agree to settle the dispute through ADR.

    If we do not receive a response from the landlord then it will be deemed that they have accepted that the dispute will be settled through ADR.

    If either party does not wish to use our ADR service they should advise us within 10 days to confirm.

  • How long does it take?

    The letting agent/landlord will be given 14 days to submit their evidence in line with our Terms and Conditions. A summary of the letting agents/ landlords evidence will then be sent to the tenant with a Tenant Evidence form. The tenant will then be given 14 days to submit their evidence.

    On receipt of the Tenants Evidence form we will summarise the tenants evidence and give the landlord a further 7 days to submit any final comments.

    Please note that any further comments can be submitted by both parties after the initial request and will be considered at the adjudicators discretion.

    The case file will then be passed to an independent adjudicator who will make a decision within 28 calendar days. Once a decision is received, it will be issued to both parties within 2 business days, either by email or by post.

    It should be noted that we have 4 business days of receipt to process any forms and therefore the above timescales are variable.

  • How much does it cost?
    The service is free.
  • How long does it take to receive the deposit once the adjudication has been made?
    Any payment to either party will be made by The DPS within 10 calendar days of the date of the decision.
  • What happens if one party does not agree to use the ADR service?
    The ADR service can only be used where both parties agree to resolve the dispute through it, and to be bound by the decision. If one party states that they do not wish to use the ADR service, then resolution of the dispute will have to be taken through the County Courts or resolved by way of an agreement.
  • Who will The DPS communicate with in respect of a dispute?
    We will only communicate with the named agent/landlord and the sole/lead tenant about evidence submissions and dispute resolution.
  • Will the Adjudicator contact me directly?
    Only in very exceptional circumstances. The Adjudicator may raise a query regarding the evidence or make a request for further information or documentation which they consider is necessary in order to settle the dispute in a fair and reasonable way, in line with the law. The query will be passed to the relevant party by one of our Case Handlers. Any such additional information must be provided within the time limits set by the Adjudicator. If either party does not provide the additional information or documents within the time set, the Adjudicator will continue the adjudication as they consider appropriate, which may include providing a decision based only on the information and documents already provided.

    The Adjudicator is not obliged to raise such queries or contact the parties, and therefore the evidence supplied to us must include all the relevant supporting documentation that is to be relied upon.

    If it appears that a key part of the evidence is missing (e.g. there are pages omitted from the tenancy agreement submitted), the Adjudicator is likely to request the missing evidence. Likewise, if a party’s correspondence to us states that a particular document (such as a check-in inventory) is submitted but it cannot be found within the papers by the Adjudicator, it is likely that the Adjudicator will request this document. However, if there is no indication that the party intended to submit such documentation for the Adjudicator’s consideration, the Adjudicator will not request it. Likewise, if it is apparent from the submissions made that such documentation exists but the parties have not submitted it to the Adjudicator, the Adjudicator is likely to complete the decision based solely upon the evidence presented to them.

  • Who makes the adjudication decision?
    The adjudication will be undertaken by a legally qualified and suitably trained independent Adjudicator appointed by The DPS.
  • Can the adjudication be appealed?
    No. The Adjudicator’s decision is binding and cannot be appealed via the ADR procedure.

    If you still have a questions on this matter please email us using the Online Form.

  • Will the Adjudicator consider my claim if I do not have an independent third party inventory?
    It is possible for any party to provide an inventory, and any such evidence will be considered by the Adjudicator. However, the inventory documentation may be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the dispute between the parties. Whilst there is no reason why a landlord cannot provide a fair and accurate inventory, it is best practice for the inventory to be provided by a third party, in order to avoid any argument regarding bias.
  • What do I need to submit if I am asked to provide additional evidence before my case is submitted for adjudication?
    If you are asked to provide additional evidence before the case is submitted to the Adjudicator, you may submit supplementary evidence to support your initial evidence submissions. This can include documentary evidence, photographs or video clips. If you are a landlord/agent, please do not raise any new claims against the deposit at this stage. The Dispute Resolution Team will review your submissions and, if new claims become apparent, this will extend the ADR process.

    If you still have questions on this matter please contact us using our Online Form.

  • How do I submit evidence?

    Evidence can only be submitted on request by The DPS. If evidence is sent to us when a deposit is not in dispute resolution, it will be returned to the sender.

    In accordance with the ADR procedure, we will make a request to each party for their evidence by sending them an Evidence form.

    Evidence submissions may be made by post or by email to If you are sending your evidence submissions by post, we advise that you do so by recorded delivery to ensure safe receipt within the relevant period. If you are sending your evidence by email, please note that we may not receive your email if your attachments are larger than 20Mb.

    If you have problems submitting your evidence within the relevant period you should contact us at the earliest opportunity. Failure to do so will invalidate your claim via the ADR service.

  • What evidence should be supplied?
    It is advisable to set out the precise details of the issues which are in dispute as well as the reasons for the amount of any deposit claimed by the agent/landlord.

    It is essential for an agent/landlord that the valid written tenancy agreement for the tenancy to which the deposit relates is submitted, in order for a claim to be considered by the Adjudicator under the ADR service.

    It is strongly suggested that the following evidence is submitted, where appropriate:

    1. The signed and dated check-in inventory and schedule of condition.
    2. Vacating instructions.
    3. The signed and dated check-out inventory and schedule of condition.
    4. If a letting agent is acting on the landlord’s behalf, a copy of their terms of business/management.
    5. A schedule of the cost of any works sought from the deposit together with estimates, invoices and receipts (produced by an independent or third party) and photographs.
    6. A statement of the rent account, if relevant.
    7. Where housing benefit has been paid, a letter from the Housing Benefit Department stating when it will stop, or that it has stopped.
    8. Any other relevant information including photographs, DVDs, correspondence or receipts. Any photographs or digital evidence must be signed or a statement should be attached signed by the party providing them, showing clearly the date on which they were taken.
    9. Confirmation of contact between the tenant and the agent/landlord and copies of any correspondence between them or details of their discussions.

    Adjudication decisions can only be reached on the basis of the evidence received by The DPS from both parties. The DPS will not chase either party for evidence. It is the sole responsibility of each party to ensure that all supporting evidence is received by The DPS within the timescales allotted to them. Any evidence received after a dispute has been sent to the Adjudicator may not be taken into account.

    If you still have questions on this matter please contact us using our Online Form.

  • Will The DPS return my evidence after a decision has been made?
    At any stage of the ADR process whereby you are asked to provide evidence or supporting documentation, clear and legible photocopies/scans should be provided rather than the original documents. The DPS is unable to return any documentation once it has been submitted to us. Therefore, to avoid the loss of any original documents, we ask that you only submit copies.
  • I have an enquiry relating to my deposit which is currently in Alternative Dispute Resolution - how should I contact you?
    To ask a question about a particular case, please email
  • Is it worth submitting a claim of low value?

    Although there’s no minimum value for claims entering our dispute resolution process, we recommend you consider the value of your claim against what you’ll need to expend in terms of your time and effort to prepare your evidence, plus any costs you might incur such as postage or other kinds of outlay. The adjudicator can’t make any award for costs incurred through the dispute resolution process, so you will have to cover these yourself.

    It’s also worth noting that adjudicators can reject claims they consider to be without good grounds, or deliberately raised to cause annoyance to the tenant, and they may view claims for small amounts in this way.

Contact Us

The Deposit Protection Service
The Pavilions
Bridgwater Road
BS99 6AA

Or call our dedicated help line on 0330 303 0030.

Our customer service centre operates Monday to Friday from 08:00 – 18:30.

Copyright © 2011 Deposit Protection Service, a trading name of Computershare Investor Services Plc. All rights reserved. Registered address: The DPS, The Pavilions, Bridgwater Road, Bristol, BS99 6AA.