If you are about to privately rent from a landlord on an assured shorthold tenancy (the most common type) or are already a assured shorthold tenant where your tenancy started after 6th April 2007, your deposit must be put into a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme.
Your landlord must put your deposit in a scheme within 30 days of getting it and give you the tenancy deposit paperwork.
There are three schemes in England:
- Deposit Protection Service
- My Deposits
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme
They are all government-baked schemes and ensure you will get your deposit back if you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement, don’t damage the property, and pay the rent and bills.
Much less common, a valuable item can be given instead of money, such as a car or watch. This doesn’t have to be put in a scheme.
If you don’t know if your deposit is protected, you can ask your landlord/agent or use the deposit checker on each of the above schemes websites to find if your deposit is protected.
If you think that your deposit hasn’t been protected when it should have been, then you can apply to your local county court.
If there is a dispute over the deposit, such as the amount of deposit being returned at the end of your tenancy, then you should use the dispute resolution service for your scheme your deposit is protected under.