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A guide to tenancy deposit schemes

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If you are about to move into new rented accommodation, make sure that your deposit is properly protected.

Until the Housing Act 2004 came into force many deposits were wrongly retained by landlords, a state of affairs which necessarily gave rise to injustice. 

To ensure that landlords would safeguard their tenants’ money, tenancy deposit schemes were introduced. The schemes apply to all tenancies beginning on or after 6 April 2007 and provide greater protection for tenants at the end of their tenancy. 

Tony Irving of Hancock Quins Solicitors in Watford explains: “Deposits for all assured shorthold tenancies in England and Wales are covered by the legislation.  A particular procedure must be followed.”

Within 30 calendar days of receiving the deposit the landlord must do a number of things:

1.   Place the deposit in a government backed Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDP) scheme. Three organisations provide the schemes: 

  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS);
  • My Deposits; and 
  • The Deposit Protection Service.

2.    Provide the tenant with the following information:

  • the property address;
  • the deposit amount;
  • how the deposit is protected;
  • the name and contact details of the TDP Scheme and its dispute resolution service and their (or the letting agency’s) name and contact details;
  • the name and contact details of any third party that has paid the deposit;
  • why they might keep some or all of the deposit;
  • how to apply to get the deposit back;
  • what the tenant must do if they can’t get hold of the landlord at the end of the tenancy;
  • what the tenant needs to do if there is a dispute over the deposit.

Once the deposit is protected by the scheme it will not be released until the landlord and tenant have agreed the amount that is to be returned.  If the landlord and tenant are in agreement the landlord must return the deposit to the tenant within 10 days of establishing as much.

If you need legal advice about these issues or landlord and tenant law generally please contact Tony Irving on 01923 650850 or to discuss how Hancock Quins can help you.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.