Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) schemes were introduced in April 2007 to make sure that tenants’ deposits would be kept safe for the duration of their tenancies and would be returned to them in full within 10 days of the end of their tenancies, unless there were legitimate reasons for withholding some or all of the deposit. If a disagreement between a landlord and tenant should arise over deductions, an alternative dispute resolution service can investigate. Advisors at the Students’ Union can help you with these matters if you need advice.
Since the introduction of TDP schemes all landlords and agents have had a legal obligation to ensure that any deposit paid to them for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) is protected by TDP. If your tenancy has a rental income of £100,000 or less per year you are likely to have an AST.
The first type of TDP is a custodial scheme, whereby the deposit is held by the scheme during the tenancy and during any legal dispute; the second is an insurance-based scheme where the landlord or agent keeps the deposit, but the deposit is insured in case of any dispute and thus protected for the tenant.
If you have an AST, your landlord must ensure that your deposit is put in a TDP scheme and notify you of the details of the scheme within 30 days of you handing the money to them. If they don’t, you can take your case to a county court where a judge can order your landlord to return the deposit to you or protect it in a scheme. You could also be awarded compensation amounting to between one and three times the amount of your deposit.
As a young student, you will normally be asked to name a guarantor (someone who will pay if you don’t) who is a UK resident. This is usually one of your parents. Those without a guarantor, including international/EU students, are usually asked to pay three to six months' rent in advance instead. If you can’t afford this, the Advice Centre can help you find a solution.
You can get more information about Tenancy Deposit Schemes here and here.
Learn more about how to protect yourself and get your deposit back:
A holding deposit is essentially a bond that might be requested by a landlord or agent to reserve a property while the tenancy agreement is arranged. It is seldom returned if you withdraw your interest, but usually forms part of your security deposit if you proceed with the tenancy. So check before you pay it and ask for a receipt.
N.B. Some landlords and agents are avoiding using deposits completely, so in order to secure interest in a property they are demanding a payment of a month’s rent instead. Students are asked to sign an agreement to say that they understand that it is non-refundable if they decide not to rent the property.
If you're asked to pay a holding deposit it will be important to ask the following:
Security/damage deposits cannot exceed five weeks' rent. They are intended to give landlords some financial security for any financial loss they might suffer as a result of any damage that you and your housemates might cause to the property while you are living there.
If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) your deposit should be protected in a Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme. You should find this information in your tenancy agreement or you could ask your landlord for written confirmation.
N.B. If you have a joint tenancy, it is likely that one housemate will be appointed as Lead Tenant and will receive the whole household’s deposit at the end of the tenancy. Make sure you have arrangements in place with this person to ensure that you get back your share of that money.
Make sure that you obtain receipts for any money paid for the initial deposit and any further payments you make to replace any of the deposit that the landlord spends on repairing damage caused during your tenancy.
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