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Residential tenancy deposits – are you protected?

Landlords and Tenants should take heed of the importance of complying with the legal requirements centring around the protection of tenancy deposits.

As most Landlords will be aware, any deposit paid in connection with an Assured Short-hold Tenancy since 6th April 2007 must be registered with an authorised Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The Tenant must be provided with prescribed information within 30 days of receipt of the deposit. Landlords are required to register the deposit within 30 days of receipt.

What if the deposit requirements have not been complied with?

If Landlords fail to comply with these legal requirements, there are two possible sanctions.

  1. The Landlord cannot end the tenancy under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 until the deposit has been repaid or a Court case has ended. If the deposit is returned, the Landlord needs to ensure that the Tenant has received the deposit before a Section 21 Notice has been served.
  2. The Tenant can also apply to a County Court to receive compensation between one and three times their deposit’s value if they think their deposit is not protected, or they’ve not received prescribed information about the scheme.

At the end of a tenancy

If a deposit has been paid, the scheme will make sure the Tenant gets their deposit back, as long as they meet the terms of the tenancy agreement, don’t cause damage to the property and pay the rent and bills.

The Landlord must return the deposit within ten days following the decision of how much the Tenant will receive has been agreed. If the Tenant is in a dispute with a Landlord, the deposit will be protected in the scheme until the issue is rectified.

There are significant consequences which can arise from the failure to properly protect the deposit on time. It is also important to ensure that the Section 21 Notice itself is valid and that other requirements relating to provision of energy performance and gas certificates have been compiled with.

If you are a residential Landlord or Tenant and require specialist property advice, please do not hesitate to contact Paul Magee, Lead Property Litigation Solicitor, on 01244 408317 or email

Find out more about our Dispute Resolution team
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