Since 6th April 2007, any damage deposit taken in relation to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) must be protected in one of the three Government authorised schemes. Following the introduction of the Localism Act 2011 which came into effect on 6 April 2012, this must be done within 30 days.
As well as protecting a tenant's deposit, you must also provide the tenant with certain information about how the tenancy is protected; this is known as the prescribed information and can be included in the tenancy agreement. This includes:
- the landlord's name and contact details
- the amount of deposit paid and the address of the tenancy
- details of the tenancy deposit protection scheme you are using
- a signed copy of the deposit protection certificate
- information about the purpose of the tenancy deposit protection scheme
- details of how the tenant/s deposit will be returned at the end of the tenancy
- what the tenant can do if there is a dispute about the deposit.
The process of protecting your tenants' deposits is a straightforward one and can be done online. The custodial scheme is also free of charge.
Deposit protection is a legal requirement and there are penalties for non compliance.
More information on Deposit Protection can be found on the Directgov website.
Below are the links to each of the three deposit protection schemes.
From 1 April 2013, Capita Tenancy Deposit Service provided a scheme, but stopped accepting new deposits from 14 September 2013.