If you are a Landlord and rent your home or property on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement that started after 6th April 2007 then you must put any deposit you accept in a government backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP).
If a Tenant offers you a valuable item (such as a car or watch) as a deposit you can still accept this if you wish and they are not required to be protected by such scheme.
Protecting the Deposit
As a Landlord you (or your letting agent) must protect the deposit within one of these schemes within 30 days of accepting it.
Once a Landlord has protected the deposit they must provide the Tenant with the following information;
- the address of the rented property
- how much deposit the Tenant has paid
- how the deposit is protected
- the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme and its dispute resolution service
- Landlord’s (or the letting agency’s) name and contact details
- the name and contact details of any third party that’s paid the deposit
- why a Landlord would keep some or all of the deposit
- how to apply to get the deposit back
- what to do if you can’t get hold of the landlord at the end of the tenancy
- what to do if there’s a dispute over the deposit
This information is usually provided to the Landlord in a receipt by the TDP scheme they chose to protect the deposit with.
End of Tenancy
At the end of a tenancy you must return a Tenant’s deposit within 10 days of you both agreeing how much the Tenant gets back.
If you are unable to agree with your Tenant then the deposit will be protected in the TDP scheme until the issue is sorted out.
The tenancy deposit protection scheme offers a free dispute resolution service if you and your Tenant disagree about how much deposit should be returned. If you and your Tenant agree to use the service, then you’ll be both required to provide evidence and the decision made about your deposit will be final.
If you accept a holding deposit (money paid by a Tenant to “hold” a property before an agreement is signed) you are not required to protect this in a TDP scheme. However, once the Tenant signs an agreement and the holding deposit becomes the deposit then you must protect this within a scheme within 30 days.
Information contained in this article may have changed since it was first published. Ezylet strongly advises you to seek legal advice from a qualified professional.