Has Your Landlord Protected Your Deposit?

Did you know that if you live in an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (most students do), your landlord has a legal obligation to put your security deposit into a government-protected scheme? 

They have to do this within 30 days of receiving deposits from all tentants, and must send you a deposit protection certificate to prove it. If they fail to do this, you could sue them for one to three times the value of your deposit.

Not sure what type of contract you have?

Feel free to email our Advice Centre with your contract and they will send you feedback with all your rights and obligations, including how to get your deposit back! Simply email advice@su.rhul.ac.uk with the subject ‘contract check request’.

What’s the point of deposit protection?

Deposit protection stops landlords and agents from making unfair deductions from your security deposit without your consent. It was introduced by the government in 2007 as too many landlords were making unfair deductions from tenants’ deposits. Unfortunately, this problem still persists today as most people don’t know about deposit protection, so please share this article and spread the word!

How do I know if my deposit is protected?

At least one tenant in your house should have received a deposit protection certificate by email, so you can start by searching for 'deposit protection' in your inbox. There are only three schemes they can use: My Deposits, TDS and DPS. The websites for these three schemes have checkers that you can use to find out if you have a deposit protection scheme with them.

If you can’t find it, then text or email your landlord and ask if they have protected your deposit, and if they have then ask for the certificate. You should ask the Advice Centre for guidance if:

  • You find out that your deposit isn’t protected
  • You find out your deposit was protected later than 30 days after the final tenant paid
  • You don't get a response

At the Advice Centre, our advisors will be able to: 

  • Tell you how to make your landlord protect your deposit
  • Refer you for free legal advice so you can claim compensation
  • Have a meeting to answer any outstanding worries you have
  • Help you with the above if you feel overwhelmed

Whose deposits don’t have to be protected?

  • Halls tenants (not including private Halls, like Hox Park and Pad & Podium)
  • Lodgers (living in the same property as the landlord)

Is it worth all the fuss?

Considering that in 2018, research from NUS found that 90% of students were being charged unfair deposit deductions and that the average deposit for RHUL is around £1000 per student, we’d say yes, it’s worth the fuss! 

Also, by challenging landlords, you’re helping to raise the standards for everybody. Check out the case of this landmark case our legal advisors at University of London Housing Services won, putting over £12000 back into students pockets, as well as setting standards for future landlords.

More questions?

The Advice Centre is a free and independent service for all students here at Royal Holloway, based on the first floor of the Students' Union building. Our friendly, experienced and professional staff will provide a listening ear and offer general and specialist advice. We’re here to support you with a whole range of issues, big and small, and if we’re not the best people to help you with a particular issue, we’ll ensure we point you in the right direction of the relevant support.

What can we help you with?

Our advisors are trained to support you in many areas of advice, covering a lot of the issues that students may face during their time at Royal Holloway. We're happy to offer general wellbeing advice, but it’s probably more useful to know that in particular we specialise in private sector housing and academic advice (i.e. academic appeals and disciplinaries).

How do I get help from the Advice Centre?

If you've already looked through our web pages and you can't find the information you're after, or if you'd prefer to discuss something face-to-face, it's easy to book an appointment. 

  • Email us at advice@su.rhul.ac.uk
  • Pop along to the Union Helpdesk on the first floor of the Students' Union
  • Alternatively, you can call the Helpdesk on 01784 276700