Landlords - tenancy deposit protection schemes
As a landlord, you can ask a tenant to pay a deposit before they move in. You can then keep all or part of this deposit if:
- they leave the property owing rent
- they cause damage to the property
- they don't pay their bills
- there are items missing
- the property requires cleaning
The tenancy agreement should clearly state the circumstances when a deposit can be fully or partly withheld.
All deposits are covered by the tenancy deposit protection scheme, and you must put the deposit into one of three Government authorised tenancy deposit schemes.
Within 14 days of the date the deposit is paid to you, you must tell the tenant:
- the contact details for you or your agent
- which tenancy deposit scheme you are using and the contact details for the scheme
- what the purpose of the deposit is
- how they can apply to get the deposit back at the end of their tenancy
- what they can do if there is a dispute about the deposit
Tenancy deposit schemes
An insurance based scheme where the landlord or agent keeps the deposit and pays a fee to the scheme to insure against their failure to repay money due to the tenant.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (The Dispute Service)
A custodial scheme where the money is held in the scheme until the end of the tenancy.
This is a custodial based scheme.
If you don't put the deposit in a scheme, then your tenant can apply to your local county court. The court can order you to either repay the deposit to the tenant or protect it in a scheme. If you do not protect the deposit within 14 days, you will have to pay the tenant three times the amount of the deposit.
If the deposit hasn't been correctly protected, you won't be able to serve a Notice Seeking Possession.
End of a tenancy
At the end of a tenancy, check the condition and contents of your property. Fair wear and tear has to be allowed for, and can't be taken out of the deposit. If you have lost out financially due to the actions of your tenant, you need to produce a breakdown of specific costs that you intend to take out of the deposit, and agree them with your tenant.
If you can't come to an agreement, the tenancy deposit protection scheme will offer a free service to resolve your dispute. Both you and your tenant must agree to use the dispute service and accept its decision. If you don't agree, then you will have to use the County Court.