By law, landlords are required to place a tenant’s deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme within 30 days.
If you fail to do so, you may be ordered by the court to place it in a scheme, pay it back to the tenant, or pay the tenant up to three times the deposit. So, you should make sure you take care of this as soon as possible. Here’s what you need to do to stay in line with the deposit rights for tenants:
Choose a Scheme
There are a few protection providers you can choose from if your property is in England or Wales:
Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate TDP schemes. Fees and fee structures for each of these vary, so be sure to research each provider before you make your choice. For each of these providers you can register online.
Choose the Type of Protection
There are two main types of protection available, custodial and insured. The main difference is that with custodial protection the scheme provider holds onto your deposit, while with insured protection you hold onto the deposit, but the scheme protects it. Both options are secure. Most landlords opt for custodial protection as it is free. The provider may also pay the deposit back to the tenants directly at the end of the tenancy. For insured protection, you’ll pay a fee determined by the provider. This is usually competitively-priced and, in some cases, available on a ‘fee per deposit’ basis.
Give the Tenant the Relevant Information
You are also required to provide a tenant with information pertaining to their deposit within 30 days. This information includes the following:
- The rented property’s address
- The amount of the deposit
- How the deposit is protected
- Name and contact details for the tenancy deposit protection scheme and their dispute resolution service
- Your name and contact details
- Name and contact details for any third party that has paid the deposit
- How they can keep their deposit
- How to apply to get their deposit back
- What to do if they can’t contact you at the end of the tenancy
- What to do if a dispute arises.
Return the Deposit at the End of the Tenancy or Begin Dispute Proceedings
At the end of the tenancy you must return the amount agreed upon (some or all of the deposit) within ten days. The TDP scheme may do this for you if you have chosen custodial protection. In some cases, a tenant might disagree with the amount they are getting back. If you can’t come to an agreement, then you must raise a deposit dispute with your TDP scheme. You will submit your evidence and an impartial adjudicator decides how the deposit will be apportioned within 28 days. TDP schemes can be helpful for the landlord and the tenant. But as you can see, there’s a lot of admin involved, even more so in the case of a dispute.
For landlords with property in Brixton, Battersea and the surrounding areas, our property management team can take care of deposit protection on your behalf and make sure that you fulfil your legal obligations.
Alternatively, for more information, get in touch with us today.