Deposit protection schemes

Landlord must put tenant deposits in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if the home is rented on an assured short hold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007.


In England and Wales a deposit can be registered with;

Deposit Protection Service
Insured (landlord/agent holds the deposit) 
0300 037 1000
Custodial (TDS holds the deposit) 
0300 037 1001

Telephone: 0844 980 0290

Tenancy Deposit Scheme
Telephone: 0845 226 7837

Contact MyDeposits if the deposit was held by Capita.

The landlord can accept valuable items (e.g. a car or watch) as a deposit instead of money, but they won't be protected by a scheme.

The landlord or letting agent must put your deposit in the scheme within 30 days of getting it.

Information the landlord must give the tenant

Once the landlord has received the deposit, they have 30 days to tell the tenant:

  • the address of the rented property
  • how much deposit was paid
  • how much deposit is protected
  • the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme and its dispute resolution service
  • their (or the letting agency's) name and contact details
  • the name and contact details of any third party that's paid the deposit
  • why they would keep some or all of the deposit
  • how to apply to get the deposit back
  • what to do if the tenant can't get hold of the landlord at the end of the tenancy

At the end of the tenancy

The landlord must return the deposit within 10 days of you both agreeing how much the tenant will get back.

If you're in a dispute then your deposit will be protected in the TDP scheme until the issue is sorted out.

Getting the deposit back

The TDP scheme makes sure the deposit is returned if the tenant;

  • meet the terms of your tenancy agreement
  • doesn't damage the property
  • pays rent and bills

Tenants can apply to their local county court if they think their landlord hasn't used a TDP scheme when they should have.

Tenants can get legal advice before applying to court.

If the court finds the landlord hasn't protected the deposit, it can order the person holding the deposit to either:

  • repay it 
  • pay it into a custodial TDP scheme's bank account within 14 days

The court may also order the landlord to pay up to 3 times the deposit within 14 days of making the order.

The court may decide that the tenant won't have to leave the property when the tenancy ends if the landlord hasn't used a TDP scheme when they should have.

Holding deposits

Your landlord doesn't have to protect a holding deposit (money the tenant pays to 'hold' a property before an agreement is signed). Once you become a tenant, the holding deposit becomes a deposit, which they must protect.

Deposits made by a third party 

The landlord must use a TDP scheme even if the tenant's deposit is paid by someone else, e.g. a rent deposit scheme or from parents.

There are separate TDP schemes in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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