As a landlord you must put your deposit in a government-backed Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDP) if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. In England and Wales the deposit can be registered with:
- Deposit Protection Service (Custodial and Insured)
- MyDeposits- including deposits that were held by Capita
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme
You can accept valuable items (eg a car or watch) as a deposit instead of money, but they won't be protected by a scheme.
They make sure your tenants get the deposit back if they:
- meet the terms of the tenancy agreement
- don't damage the property
- pay the rent and bills
You must put the deposit in the scheme within 30 days of getting it.
At the end of a tenancy you must return the deposit within 10 days of you both agreeing how much will be returned.
If you're in a dispute with your tenant, then the deposit will be protected in the TDP scheme until the issue is sorted out.
You don't have to protect a holding deposit (money paid to 'hold' a property before an agreement is signed). Once the tenancy is agreed, the holding deposit becomes a deposit, which must be protected.
Deposits made by a third party
You must use a TDP scheme even if the deposit is paid by someone else, eg a rent deposit scheme or your tenants' parents.