A deposit is a sum of money paid by the tenant to be held by the landlord as security in case of damage to the property or rent arrears. In June 2019, the new Tenant Fees Act was introduced. This act outlines the maximum amounts that can be charged for a deposit for any agreemnt created after 01 June 2019. For most student tenancies, this will be limited to the equivalent of 5 weeks rent. Please contact SU Advice for further advice.

When can a landlord/letting agency withold my deposit?

The deposit (or part of the deposit) can be kept by the Landlord if the tenant:

  • Leaves the property owing rent
  • Causes damage to the property or its contents
  • Does not pay their bills


The landlord should not with-hold the deposit because you did something they didn’t approve of or to pay for general wear and tear. The landlord should only keep the amount of deposit that they can prove they have lost. For example, if you paid a £300 deposit and at the end of the tenancy you had left a broken chair that cost £80 to replace, your landlord should only keep back £80 of your deposit and the rest should be returned to you. The landlord should be able to provide receipts as proof of what they have kept your deposit for and any replacements purchased should be like for like (i.e. they should not purchase a chair worth £100 if the original chair was only £80)

What is a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme and when should it be used?

For all Assured Shorthold tenancy agreements started on or after the 6th April 2007, when you pay a deposit, your Landlord or Agent must protect it using a government authorised tenancy deposit scheme (see Tenancy Agreements section below for further details about the different types of tenancies). These schemes have been set up to ensure your deposit will be protected so that you will get all or part of your deposit back (when you are entitled to it) and to help resolve any disputes between you and your Landlord or Agent.


If you live in the property with your landlord, or your tenancy is not an Assured Shorthold tenancy, then your deposit does not have to be protected by law. However, it is still good practice to do so and you could ask your landlord about this.


Once your deposit has been paid to the Landlord or Agent they are required to give you details about how your deposit is being protected within 14 days. They should inform you of the contact details of the deposit scheme, the contact details of the Landlord or Agent, how to apply for the release of the deposit, the purpose of the deposit and what to do if there is a dispute over the deposit. If none of these details is supplied contact the Landlord or Agent and ask for details about how your deposit is being protected.


The three Tenancy Deposit schemes are:

I have paid my deposit, but I don't know if it has been protected

Within 14 days of paying your deposit you should receive information about where your deposit is being protected.


If your landlord has not protected your deposit, you will have more protection from being evicted – a court should not allow your landlord to evict you using the Section 21 procedure as this won’t be valid if your deposit has not been protected. However, there are other routes landlords can use to evict you if you are in breach of your tenancy agreement or behind on your rent.


If your deposit has not been protected or your landlord or agent has not followed the rules to protect your deposit you can take court action, during or after your tenancy. You may be able to make a claim for compensation of between 1 and 3 times the value of your deposit. You can also claim for your deposit to be protected or to claim a refund of your deposit.


A court can order your landlord to pay compensation if they:

  • Fail to protect the deposit
  • take longer than 30 days to protect your deposit
  • fail to give you details of the scheme used within 30 days


If you would like to take action against your landlord or letting agency then please contact the Advice Centre to discuss your options.


You can check if your deposit has been protected by checking on the websites of each of the protection schemes: