Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Page updated on: 15/12/2023

As a landlord you must put your tenant’s deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme (TDP) within 30 days of receiving it. In England and Wales the deposit can be registered with:

Providing your tenant meets the terms of the tenancy agreement, leaves your property in a good condition, and pays the rent and bills, you must return their deposit within 10 days of you both agreeing how much they’ll get back. If there is a dispute, the deposit will be held in the deposit scheme until the issue is resolved.

You don’t have to protect a holding deposit (money a prospective tenant may pay to ‘hold’ a property before an agreement is signed with you), but once they become a tenant, the holding deposit becomes a deposit, which you must protect.

You must use a tenancy deposit protection scheme even if the deposit is paid by someone other than the tenant, for example, by their parents. Once you have received your deposit, you must - within 30 days – give your tenant the following information:

  • The address of the rented property
  • Confirmation of how much deposit they’ve paid
  • How the deposit is being protected
  • The name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection scheme and its dispute resolution service
  • Your (or the letting agency’s) name and contact details
  • Confirmation of the name and contact details of any third party that’s paid the deposit
  • Any reasons why you would keep some or all of the deposit
  • How your tenant can apply to get the deposit back
  • What your tenant should do if they can’t get hold of you at the end of the tenancy
  • What to do if there’s a dispute over the deposit

Your tenant can apply to the County Court if they think you haven’t used a TDP scheme when you should have. If the court finds you haven’t protected your tenant’s deposit, it can order that you:

  • Repay it to the tenant
  • Pay it into a custodial TDP scheme’s bank account within 14 days

The court may also order you to pay you up to three times the deposit within 14 days of making the order. It may also decide that your tenant doesn’t have to leave the property when the tenancy ends if you haven’t used a TDP scheme when you should have. 

Settling a dispute

The TDP scheme you use will offer a free dispute resolution service if you and your tenant disagree about how much deposit should be returned.

You don’t have to use the service but if you do, both you and the tenant have to agree to it. You’ll both be asked to provide evidence, and the decision made about the deposit will be final. The TDP scheme will refund the deposit if the dispute resolution service agrees. Your tenant can ‘raise a dispute’ to get their deposit back if they can’t contact you.