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Deposit protection schemes aim to support both the tenant and the landlord when it comes to disputes. There are three schemes available to landlords in England and Wales, and these are:

  • Deposit Protection Scheme
  • MyDeposits
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own deposit protection scheme providers.

Landlords have the option to secure the deposit in a scheme for no charge, or they may pay the scheme to insure the deposit. It is a requirement for landlords to place any deposits into a deposit protection scheme within 30 days of receiving it. When returning a deposit, it must be paid back to the tenants within ten days of agreeing on how much is to be returned to them. When a dispute arises, the deposit protection scheme will retain the deposit until an agreement has been reached.

Landlords are legally required to inform tenants of the scheme in which their deposit is being held and under what circumstances the deposit may not be returned to them, such as damage to the property or non-payment of rent. Landlords who do not place deposits in a deposit protection scheme can face legal action from tenants. If a landlord wishes to dispute how much deposit should be returned to their tenant, they can use the dispute resolution service provided by the scheme they have chosen.

In recent years, there has been a rise in the popularity of deposit replacement schemes. Under these schemes, tenants can pay a non-refundable fee as opposed to a refundable deposit but are liable to pay for any costs related to damage or unpaid rent at the end of the tenancy. These schemes are beneficial to tenants who are struggling to fork out high upfront deposit costs of four to six weeks’ rent, however, they face the risk of paying high costs at the end of their tenancy if they do violate any terms of their agreement. The landlord can calculate how much the tenant owes them based on damage to the property or the amount of rent left unpaid at the end of the agreement.