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FAQs on tenant deposits


What is a tenant deposit?

A tenant deposit is often called a ‘bond’. It is an amount of money that a landlord asks a tenant to pay when they move into a property. The deposit is usually calculated as a number of weeks of rent, typically around four or six weeks.

When can a landlord ask for a deposit?

A landlord can ask a tenant for a deposit when the tenant signs a lease or moves into the property. The deposit must be requested before the tenant has agreed to sign the lease or move in. Tenants who cannot afford to pay the deposit in full may be eligible for a deposit guarantee scheme through their local council.

What does the law say on tenancy deposits?

The UK has a scheme to ensure that tenants’ deposits are protected. This is called the tenancy deposit protection (TDP) schemes. Landlords who have rented out their property on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST), which started after 6 April 2007, must protect their tenants' deposits using a TDP scheme.

In certain limited circumstances, landlords have limited rights to keep all or part of their tenant’s deposit. This may be the case where, for example, there are rent arrears or damage to the property.

However, if a landlord unlawfully retains a tenant’s deposit, or fails to put it in a protection scheme, the tenant can take the landlord to court and may be entitled to repayment of their deposit plus three times the amount of the deposit.

What tenancy deposit protection schemes are there?

There are three authorised TDP schemes. Landlords or agents must use one of the three approved TDP schemes. These are:

  • The Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
  • MyDeposits
  • The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

Can a solicitor help with unreturned tenant’s deposits?

If a tenant has difficulty getting their deposit back from their landlord, or has concerns that their deposit has not been properly deposited, a solicitor can advise on what action to take. For instance, the solicitor may negotiate with the landlord on behalf of the tenant. If negotiations are unsuccessful, the solicitor may advise the tenant to commence legal action.

For expert legal advice, please call us at 0808 129 5759 and let us put you in contact with an experienced solicitor who understands your case. Our service is free.

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