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Tenancy deposit protection schemes

When you pay a tenancy deposit for an assured shorthold tenancy, the landlord or letting agent must protect your deposit through a Government-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme.

This rule applies to all assured shorthold tenancies that started, or were renewed, on or after 6 April 2007. Virtually all new contracts to let a property with a private landlord are assured shorthold tenancies.

What must a landlord do with my deposit?

Within 30 days of receiving your deposit your landlord should:

  • protect your deposit with a government backed scheme, and
  • provide you with certain information (known as ‘prescribed information), including contact details of the scheme.

For lots more information see our page on tenancy deposit protection schemes and take a look at our short YouTube video explaining what should happen :

How does tenancy deposit protection affect students?

Are students covered by the tenancy deposit protection schemes?
Where student accommodation is let under an assured shorthold tenancy, the deposit must be protected in a deposit scheme. Halls of residence are not to be let on an assured shorthold tenancy if they are controlled by the university. However, some universities lease their halls of residence to private companies. These companies may let the accommodation on an assured shorthold tenancy. Always check your tenancy agreement and if in doubt, get advice.

What happens where a parent pays the deposit on a student tenant’s behalf?
Where the deposit is paid for an assured shorthold tenancy, it still needs to be safeguarded in a scheme regardless of who paid it.

How would the deposit be repaid once an overseas student returns home?
Schemes are able to return deposits into foreign bank accounts. There may be a charge for this that would need to be paid by the tenant.

When must deposits be paid back?
If the landlord agrees that the deposit should be returned, in full or in part, it must be paid back within 10 days.

Can’t it be paid back before then – i.e. on the last day of the tenancy?
Yes. Ten days is the maximum. In practice, many landlords currently pay the deposit back on the last day of the tenancy.

What happens if a deposit has not been protected?
If the landlord or agent hasn’t protected the deposit and provided the required information within 30 days, they can be fined and it can be more difficult for them to end your tenancy. Click here to find out more about what you can do if you do not think your deposit is protected.

What if a tenant moves out of their home before realising that their deposit has not been protected?
The tenant will need to apply for a court order and the court can order the landlord to repay the deposit amount to the tenant. Click here to find out more about what you can do it this applies to you.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

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This page was last updated on: September 24, 2019

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.

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