If you're a letting agent a landlord or a tenant you need to know about deposit protection law and how it affects you.
Why do deposits need to be protected?
Tenancy deposit protection was introduced on 6 April 2007 as part of the Housing Act 2004. It applies to all assured shorthold tenancies in England and Wales where a deposit is taken. Once they've received a deposit, landlords and letting agents have 30 calendar days to protect it. If they don’t, they could be liable to repay the full deposit plus, up to three times the deposit amount to the tenant. If the deposit isn't protected and the landlord or letting agent wants to evict a tenant, they may not be able to.
What are the different types of deposit protection?
Most of our customers use our free Custodial service. In this scheme, we hold the tenant’s deposit throughout the period of the tenancy, and administer the repayment when they leave. Create your account — it only takes a couple of minutes.
With our Insured scheme, you keep the tenant’s deposit during the tenancy and pay us a small fee to protect it. You manage the deposit repayment at the end of the tenancy. Find out more about using our Insured scheme, including how to create your Insured scheme account.
Who does Tenancy Deposit Protection affect?
The regulations cover the majority of deposits for new assured shorthold tenancy contracts in England and Wales.
There are some exceptions, and in the following scenarios you won't need to register a deposit with one of our schemes:
- If you're a resident landlord (i.e. you live in the property)
- If the tenancy has a rental value of over £100,000 a year
- Company lets
- Student accommodation let directly by universities or colleges
The Deregulation Act 2015
For deposits taken before the 6 April 2007, there are different regulations. You can find these in The Deregulation Act 2015.
Here are the main changes which you should be aware of:
- If a tenancy has finished and moved on to a monthly or weekly periodic tenancy, on or after 6 April 2007 - the deposit needs to be protected.
- If a tenancy has finished and moved on to a monthly or weekly periodic tenancy, before 6 April 2007 - the deposit doesn't need to be protected. The landlord won’t be able to serve a section 21 notice to regain possession of a property until the deposit is protected.
- If a tenancy is renewed or moves on to a monthly or weekly periodic tenancy, landlords don’t need to reissue Prescribed Information. This is only true if the deposit remains with the same authorised scheme, and the parties and premises remain the same.
- Wherever the term 'the landlord' appears in Prescribed Information, this includes anyone acting on behalf of the landlord, such as letting agents.
If there are multiple tenants in a tenancy, when it’s time for the deposit to be repaid, one of them will need to accept the role of nominated tenant. They’ll manage the claim and perform any actions required on behalf of all the other tenants.
Landlords or letting agents may wish to make a claim against the deposit for losses as a result of the tenant’s actions. The claim is the total amount the landlord or letting agent wants to keep, and can be made up of one or several deductions.
A periodic tenancy is simply one that runs until either the landlord or the tenant advises the other (in writing) that they'd like to end it.