Business and Agent FAQs about deposit protection
A handy resource containing answers to your questions about deposit protection and how the scheme works.
What is tenancy deposit protection?
The law was introduced to protect the tenant’s interests in their deposit and to ensure that they are able to retrieve this money, less any amount the landlord is entitled to deduct, at the end of the their tenancy.
Under the legislation, the deposit must be protected with a government approved tenancy deposit protection scheme (such as mydeposits) and the Prescribed Information issued to the tenant within 30 calendar days of receiving the deposit money.
What are the different types of tenancy deposit protection schemes?
Insurance deposit protection
The business member keeps the deposit money in their segregated bank account for the duration of the tenancy. A deposit protection fee is paid to mydeposits to legally protect the deposit.
Should a tenant raise a dispute with the scheme, the disputed deposit money must be lodged with the scheme.
Custodial deposit protection
The business member must lodge the deposit with mydeposits for the duration of the tenancy. Both member and tenant must authorise the deposit release before mydeposits returns the deposit.
Both our insurance and custodial schemes offer a free Alternative Dispute Resolution service if the member and tenant cannot agree on the amount of deposit to be returned.
Who is mydeposits?
- mydeposits provides both insurance and custodial based tenancy deposit protection in England & Wales.
- In April 2007 the Government appointed mydeposits to operate an insurance-based scheme and in April 2016, mydeposits custodial scheme.
- mydeposits is jointly owned by the Hamilton Fraser Insurance (HFIS plc) and the National Landlords Association (NLA).
How do mydeposits protect deposits?
- Provide you with the facilities to protect each deposit you take from your tenant in your online member account, by phone or post.
- Provide you with the majority of the Prescribed Information to pass onto your tenant.
At the end of the tenancy you are free to negotiate the return of the deposit (and propose necessary deductions) with your tenant.
Who can join mydeposits?
Corporate landlords can also join mydeposits custodial based as a business member.
To join our insurance based scheme, you must be able to satisfy the following criteria:
- Successfully pass the Credit Score check
- Be free of any petition to wind up, liquidation , receivership or insolvency orders
- Provide us with a bank letter proving the ownership of a Ring-Fenced / Segregated Client Money account.
Upon accepting your application, we will confirm both by email and by post confirmation of your mydeposits business insurance membership along with instructions on how to set your password and details regarding your exact pricing structure.
What are the penalties for failing to protect a deposit?
- Be forced to return the depositin full to the tenant(s) or lodge the monies with a custodial scheme within 14 days of the order being issued.
- Be fined between one and three times the deposit amount, made payable to the tenant as compensation.
- Be unableto serve the Section 21 notice to their tenant(s) in order to regain possesson of the property.
How does a business join mydeposits?
Our insurance based scheme is also open to all letting agents but you must meet certain criteria if you do not hold client money protection insurance. You can apply to join online and we may need to see proof a segregated client money account that you will hold deposits in.
What are the two main pieces of criteria a business needs to meet in order to join mydeposits insurance?
- Client Money Account. Agents must hold all tenant deposits in a segregated Client Money Account. The Client Money Account must not be subject to any right of set off, lien or charges by the issuing bank, guarantor or any other creditors and must be set up purely for the purpose of holding client money only. You will be required to provide proof of the Client Money Account by producing bank statements detailing regular deposit money transactions
- Risk Assessment. You must ‘pass’ a mydeposits risk assessment which includes an independent credit score and financial risk report from credit referencing companies such as Experian. We may also undertake a visit to your main office by one of our Business Development Executives to discuss deposit protection and your deposit taking practices in general.
How can I obtain reduced insurance-based protection fees with mydeposits?
The groups that qualify for the reduced fees are as follows:
- LAW SOCIETY
Why have you made a distinction between members of a trade association and all other Agents?
I am currently applying for an accreditation with a trade organisation, but have not yet received confirmation; can I apply to mydeposits insurance membership as an accredited agent?
You would be unable to register as an accredited agent until confirmation of membership has been received.
You can however join mydeposits insurance as a non-accredited member, and once you receive your accreditation you forward us the proof.
We will amend your mydeposits account with immediate effect, bringing in your reduced pricing structure for deposit protections and change of account type.
Or you can join our free to use mydeposits custodial scheme and then transfer your membership type to mydeposits business insurance.
Why do you need to see the latest bank statement for my Client Money Account for my mydeposits Insurance membership application?
Failure to provide us with proof of a segregated client money account or provide us with a statement upon request will result in membership suspension and then cancellation.
We may request confirmation in writing from your bank that you hold and control a ring-fenced client money account.
What happens to my insurance based protection mydeposits membership if I refuse to maintain a segregated Client Money Account and/or provide evidence of the existence of such an account?
What payment methods can I use to protect deposits with mydeposits?
What is the Membership joining fee to join mydeposits?
If you want to use our insurance scheme then there’s a one-off joining fee to set up your membership, then an annual renewal fee to keep your account open.
How will I know if my application to join mydeposits has been successful?
With our insurance based scheme, we will review your application and email you confirmation, including the cost of the deposit protection fee. This normally takes 4 days.
I have forgotten my password to log into my online account, what do I do?
The password you used originally to access your account will be emailed to the email address noted on your account. Or you can contact our call centre.
What is the deposit protection fee for insurance based protection?
With our insurance based scheme, a deposit protection fee is payable for each deposit you protect. The fee is set at the start of your membership, or on your membership renewal.
The deposit protection fee protects the deposit for the duration of the tenancy agreement as stated on the AST Agreement.
If you renew, extend, amend or reissue the AST Agreement (by whatever means) you will need to purchase a further deposit protection from us.
The only exception to this rule is if you allow the original AST Agreement to run into a Statutory Periodic Tenancy (SPT), then no further protection fee is payable, however you must inform us of the extension. An SPT enables both you and the tenant to continue on the original terms and conditions (with the exception of rent revisions) of the letting where no new tenancy agreement or amendment is issued.
Fees start from just £10 per protection with discounts available. Contact our business team on 0333 321 9404.
What is the time period in which to protect a tenant’s deposit?
What happens if I take the deposits in instalments?
What is the Prescribed Information?
mydeposits assists members with the provision of the prescribed information in the following ways:
- Proof of protection – You will receive a template or certificate when you have successfully protected your tenant’s deposit with us. You must sign this document.
- Mydeposits Information for Tenants’ Leaflet – This leaflet must be passed to the tenant in conjunction with the proof of protection. It explains how mydeposits works, getting the deposit back and our contact details.
You must provide information about deductions you can make from the deposit with reference to the relevant term in your Tenancy Agreement. A way of doing this is to simply cut and paste the deposit clause and put it in a separate document.
Can I make changes to the prescribed information template during the tenancy?
Any mid-term amendments to the can only be made by mydeposits, please get in touch with our team.
Why do you need an alternative address for my tenant?
- Close Friend
Does the deposit need protecting if a parent or third party pays it on behalf of the tenant?
What is a ‘Relevant Person’?
“Any person who, in accordance with arrangements made with the tenant, paid the Deposit on behalf of the Tenant”.
The name of the Relevant Person must be stated on the Deposit Protection Certificate. They are entitled to raise a dispute on behalf of the tenant and we are entitled to award any disputed amount of the deposit to the Relevant Person. Examples include a Local Authority, parent, guardian, friend etc.
How does mydeposits protect deposits for agents who rent to tenants on Housing Benefit?
If more than one Relevant Person has paid all or part of the tenant’s deposit how do I record the names on the Certificate?
What happens if I decided not to renew mydeposits membership or my account is cancelled?
We will write to all of the landlords and tenants to which active protections on your account relate to, informing them that you are no longer a member of our scheme and making them aware of that their deposit protection will end in three months – please note that if you have protected the deposits elsewhere, we will not offer this “three month extended cover” Tenants are able to raise a dispute in the usual manor within these 3 months.
Why is my insurance based member online account ‘Read-Only’?
- Failure to renew your membership or
- Start of suspension process for breaching our Scheme Rules (we will write to you for further explanation)
I am returning overseas immediately after my tenancy ends. Can I still raise a dispute with mydeposits?
- Yes. You will need to give us your full contact details, and preferably an e-mail address.
Can you make payments into my foreign bank account?
- Yes, however any charges involved in doing this will be your responsibility.
My Landlord intends to make a deduction from part of my deposit but I have not received the remaining amount, what happens now?
- The Landlord has 10 days to return all or part of your deposit. If you do not receive any of your deposit then you may raise a dispute for the full amount. We will request the Landlord sends all of the deposit to us. If the Landlord makes payment of any undisputed amount after 10 days but before lodging it with us, we will ask for proof that this has been done i.e. bank transfer receipt or written confirmation from you.
I am on housing benefit and my Landlord has refused to return my deposit until after my last housing benefit payment has been paid. What can I do?
- Just like outstanding rent, outstanding housing benefit has to be received by the Landlord in order to fulfil the terms of the AST. The Landlord must return your deposit 10 days after the receipt of the benefit money. Any deposit dispute will be dealt with after this period.If you need the deposit money for a further letting, please ask for advice from your local Social Security Office.
What evidence should be provided?
- Signed AST Agreement – and everything connected to this agreement
- Check in / check out reports
- Schedule of condition
- Photos / video – must be date stamped for authenticity
- Invoices / receipts to prove work has been done – cleaning, dry cleaning, gardening etc.
- Any other relevant supporting evidence
Make sure the evidence you provide is relevant and your written submissions are clear, easy to understand and properly presented.
The Adjudicator will analyse all evidence and submissions but may not refer to every piece of evidence submitted in the Adjudication Report.
How long does it take for an ADR decision to be reached once all the paperwork is sent to the Adjudicator?
- A decision is normally reached within 28 days and both parties notified within 10 days of the Adjudicators decision.
Can an Adjudicator award an amount greater than the disputed amount?
- The Adjudicator does have authority to award an amount greater than the disputed sum but it is unlikely this will happen. The Adjudicator is not able to award an amount that is greater than the deposit amount.If the ADR decision exceeds the disputed amount, we will notify the parties and pay the difference between the lodged sum and the final decision. The landlord will then be required to pay the remaining amount to mydeposits within 10 days of the decision.
How much evidence should I supply for my dispute case?
- The onus is on both the landlord and tenant to submit any evidence that they feel may be useful to support the case. You need to arrange all of your evidence at the start. You must not hold back relevant paperwork as this could be fatal to your case.
Can I take legal action following the dispute resolution outcome?
- When both parties agree to use ADR, they also agree to be bound by the decision of the Adjudicator. A detailed explanation of the reasons for the decision is always provided to both parties.You may wish to challenge the decision through the Courts but on very limited grounds.