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Deposits

DepositA deposit is normally paid to the landlord or agency before you move into the property. Although there is no legal limit on the amount of a deposit, the most common amount is one or two months’ rent.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

A Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme (TDPS) was introduced in April 2007 along with subsequent regulations which significantly improves tenants’ rights and ensures that their deposits are not unfairly withheld.

Student tenants, like any other tenant should: 

  • Before agreeing to pay a deposit, ask the landlord to confirm in writing exactly what is covered by the deposit and when the money will be returned
  • Always ask for a receipt for any deposit paid and the landlord should tell them which Tenancy Deposit Scheme their deposit has been paid into. There are three government approved schemes – MyDeposits, Deposit Protection Service (DPS) and Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
  • Try to ensure that the landlord provides you with an inventory (a list of the contents and conditions of the property) before moving in. This should be checked carefully to make sure it is accurate and that everything is in working order. Then, if possible, it should be jointly agreed by signing the inventory with the landlord
  • If you don’t get an inventory, write one up between the tenants and get it witnessed by an independent person, such as a friend. Ask the witness to sign and date the inventory as a true record of the condition of the property. It may even be helpful to take photographs to record the condition of the property. Then send a copy to the landlord/agent
  • Make a careful note of the state of decoration in the property, and the condition of any furniture and appliances supplied. If anything is worn, broken, or damaged report this in writing to the landlord and keep a copy
  • A landlord cannot withhold all, or even part, of a deposit because of general ‘wear and tear’. Landlords are expected to redecorate and replace (as appropriate) carpets and furnishings every few years – perhaps even more frequently if there is a high turnover of tenants. A tenant should only be liable for damage which creates extra costs
  • A landlord can hold a deposit for unpaid rent/bills and any cleaning above and beyond wear and tear. Any money withheld needs to be agreed jointly and if you can’t agree mutually, you or the landlord can utilise the dispute resolution service for that deposit scheme

The scheme only applies to assured shorthold tenancies and not, for example, to assured tenancies or licenses.

Page last updated on Friday 19 February 2016 at 3.34pm.

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