Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Student Advice and Support Service



Before you sign the contract and move in, most landlords will ask you for a deposit. There are two main types of deposits:

1. Holding deposit or reservation fee

2. Damage or security deposit

It is very important to establish what the payment is for and whether it is refundable.

Holding deposit

The landlord/letting agent may ask for a holding deposit to hold the property whilst you negotiate the terms of the tenancy. A holding deposit is capped at one week’s rent. This may or may not be refundable, depending on what is agreed. Make sure you are given proof of payment (e.g. a receipt) and have written confirmation about any terms of repayment. A holding deposit may then be converted into a damage/security deposit.

Damage Deposit

A damage/security deposit is intended to protect the landlord against any loss they might suffer arising out of a breach of contract by you.

Commonly, the tenancy agreement will refer to the deposit being intended to cover unpaid rent, cleaning costs and any damage caused to the house or its contents by the tenant or their guests. It is advisable to check your tenancy agreement as this may outline specifically what it is intended to cover.

A landlord will normally ask for a deposit equivalent to a month’s rent. They cannot ask for more than 5 weeks rent. If you are not happy with the amount, you can try to negotiate.

Tenancy deposit protection

Most landlords/letting agents who take a deposit are required to safeguard it within a tenancy deposit protection scheme. There are three companies that offer deposit protection schemes:

Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
T: 0844 4727 000
The Dispute Service (TDS)
T: 0845 226 7837
My Deposits
T: 0844 980 0290

The landlord/letting agent must sign up to one of the available schemes within 30 days of receiving the deposit. The landlord must also notify you within the same 30 days which scheme they have chosen, with contact details and certain other information prescribed by law. The scheme provider will independently confirm to all parties once the deposit has been protected.

What if your landlord fails to protect your deposit?

1. Check on all the deposit schemes’ websites 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.

3. If your deposit has not been protected, consider court action.

If your landlord fails to comply with the requirements you can apply to the County Court for an order that the deposit be returned or that it is paid into one of the protection schemes. Also, the court must order that a penalty is paid by the landlord to the tenant of between one and three times the amount of the deposit as the court sees fit. If you suspect your landlord or agent has failed to  protect your deposit and/or failed to provide you with the ‘prescribed information’ within the  permitted 30 days, seek advice from the Student Advice and Support Service.

Overview of deposits

Click on the image below to see our “overview of deposits” flow chart


You can read more about deposits in the following extract from our “Guide to living off campus” (click on the image below).

 You’ll also be able to view our “overview of deposits” flow chart.