Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
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Loughborough University

Student Advice and Support Service

Housing

Deposits

It is a legal requirement for your landlord to protect your deposit by registering it in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 30 days of receiving it. Even if you rent a house very early on the deposit still has to be protected within 30 days. The agent/landlord is also obliged to give you detailed information about where your deposit is protected, this is called the prescribed information.

Tenancy Deposit Protection only applies if you are on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST). Your deposit does not have to be protected if you are:

  • are a lodger- living in a property with the landlord or a member of their family.
  • are a student in (University) halls of residence

Different types of deposit

Holding deposits

Some letting agents/landlords ask you to pay a holding deposit to reserve a particular property while they check references and prepare the tenancy agreement. By paying a holding deposit you are committing to take up the tenancy so that it is not let to someone else.

Letting agents must provide you with information about holding deposits. This must be clear, accurate and not misleading. Agents should display their charges on their website. See our section on Letting agent fees and redress schemes.

The letting agent should make clear if:

  • the holding deposit will be returned once you move in
  • it will later be used as part of your tenancy deposit or rent in advance
  • any costs or fees will be taken out of the holding deposit
  • there are any reasons that could mean the deposit won't be refunded

Ask for written details of refund rules for a holding deposit. Don't pay unless you are given written confirmation about how a holding deposit will be used.

Normally, the holding deposit is returned to you if the landlord decides not to let the property to you after the agency has carried out credit checks or looked into your references. But if you gave inaccurate information about yourself you could lose the money.

Don't pay a holding deposit unless you are certain you want that particular property. If you decide not to move in, the holding deposit might not be returned to you.

(Taken from Shelter website.)

Damages deposit

This is usually taken when the contract is signed and is to protect the landlord from unpaid rent or damges to the property and its fixtures and fittings.

See our section on deposits.

Damages deposit

It is a legal requirement for your landlord to protect your deposit by registering it in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 30 days of receiving it. Even if you rent a house very early on the deposit still has to be protected within 30 days. The agent/landlord is also obliged to give you detailed information about where your deposit is protected, this is called the prescribed information.

Tenancy Deposit Protection only applies if you are on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST). Your deposit does not have to be protected if you are:

  • are a lodger- living in a property with the landlord or a member of their family.
  • are a student in (University) halls of residence

The schemes are there to ensure that your deposit is kept safe and that you have a means of redress should your landlord want to make deductions from it and you do not agree with his claim. This short sound cloud explains about your deposit.

How to check if your deposit is protected:

1.  You will need the postcode of the property, tenancy start date and amount of deposit protected (this might be the amount paid by the whole house, not just you).

2. Using the links or phone numbers below visit each scheme in turn to find out if they have your deposit listed:

1. The Deposit Protection Service (DPS)

Tel: 0844 4727 000

   ‌                                      

2. My Deposits

0844 980 0290

    ‌                                              

3. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

Tel: 0845 226 7837

     ‌                                                             

If none of the schemes can find your deposit come and see an adviser for further help.

Prescribed information

Within 30 days of getting their deposit, you must be given the folowing prescribed information:

  • the address of the rented property
  • how much deposit you've paid
  • how the deposit is protected
  • the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme and its dispute resolution service
  • landlord's (or letting agent's) name and contact details
  • the name and contact details of any third party who paid the deposit
  • why the landlord would keep some or all of the deposit - eg because the tenants damaged the property , or have unpaid rent
  • how to apply to get the deposit back at the end of the tenancy
  • what to do if you can’t get hold of the landlord at the end of the tenancy
  • what to do if there’s a dispute over the amount of deposit to be returned at the end of the tenancy

The Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed Information) Order 2007.

If the deposit is not protected

Your landlord is legally obliged to protect your deposit if you have an assured shorthold tenancy. If you have not been given information of the scheme your landlord/agent is using then you can check by going to all three of the websites of the tenancy deposit schemes. They all have an online facility to help you determine if your deposit has been protected.

If it has not been protected there are some measures you can take but this is a complex area of law and we would advise you to come and talk to an adviser if you suspect your deposit has not been protected when it should have been.

You can apply to the court if your landlord:

  • fails to protect your deposit
  • fails to give you the prescribed information within 30 days
  • only protects your deposit after 30 days

For more information see the GOV.UK website.

 A court can order landlords to:

  • make a compensation payment of between 1 to 3 times the value of the deposit ; and
  • protect a deposit in a scheme; or
  • return the deposit

Before considering court action, we would advise you to:

1. Check online to see whether your deposit has been protected.

2. If you cannot find details online, then write to your landlord to confirm whether your deposit has been protected or not (we can check a draft of your letter for you)

3. If your deposit has not been protected, consider court action (we can talk to you about this in more detail).