Information for Tenants

Anti-Fraud Warning

Please be aware that we understand criminals are placing fake property adverts on property portals, demanding money to be transferred as a deposit to make a viewing of a property available for rent. If you have been asked to transfer money into a bank account to secure a viewing, please be vigilant as it could be a potential scam.

If you feel you have been affected by one of these scams, please contact RLA on 03330 142 998 and report the issue immediately to the property portal you found the advert and to Action Fraud.

What is a tenancy deposit scheme?

Most landlords and letting agents ask tenants for a deposit as security against damage or non-payment of rent. If you've paid a deposit on or after 6 April 2007, your landlord/agent must use a tenancy deposit protection scheme to safeguard it.

A tenancy deposit protection scheme safeguards your deposit.

This means you can be sure that you will get your deposit back at the end of the tenancy, as long as you are entitled to it. For example, your landlord may be entitled to some of the deposit if there is any damage or if you haven't paid all your rent. The scheme also provides a service to sort out disagreements about the deposit without going to court.

There are two types of schemes and it is up to your landlord to choose which one they want to join. One type of scheme is a custodial scheme and the other is insurance-based. The main difference is that:

At the start of the tenancy

The landlord/agent must protect your deposit within 30 days of receipt.

Your landlord must also give you details of the scheme they are using to protect it. Landlords/Agents by law have to give you the Prescribed Information, a scheme leaflet, any terms and conditions and a receipt/certificate of protection. (please note each scheme has different rules on what a landlord should give a tenant after deposit protection)

It is also important that you and your landlord agree, in writing, what condition the place is in when you start renting it, including a list of the furniture and fittings (known as an inventory). This should help prevent disagreements at the end of the tenancy.

How do I know if my deposit is protected?

First of all, you should ask your landlord which scheme your deposit is protected under. Each scheme has its own rules and method of deposit protection. If you wish to know the status of your deposit, it is advised to directly contact the deposit scheme your deposit is protected with for this information.

If your deposit was protected by DepositGuard, a service provided by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, you can check the status of your deposits by using the schemes 'Is my Deposit Registered' tool

At the end of the tenancy

If there is no dispute between you and your Landlord or agent the deposit will be divided as per your agreement. The new regulations state that this must be done within 10 days of the tenancy ending.

If a dispute arises

If you cannot agree with your Landlord as to how much of your deposit should be withheld then the two parties have the right to go to alternative dispute resolution. This service is provided free by the scheme protecting your deposit.

Further Information

For further information on tenancy deposits, visit the RLA's website for Tenant FAQs for general queries or visit The Tenancy Deposit Scheme's Information for Tenants page for specific information on DepositGuard/TDS.