When your landlord protects your deposit with us there are some vital documents you should receive in the early stages of your tenancy.
Your landlord will need to purchase a protection with my|deposits, then download and sign a deposit protection certificate (DPC). You should then be sent a copy of the DPC (to check and sign) and also the my|deposits ‘Information for Tenants’ leaflet within 30 days of receiving the deposit.
By law, landlords have to protect their tenant’s deposit and we realise that for the tenant it’s important to know that the money handed over is safe. As a tenant, you can still check you are protected in the ways listed below.
If your deposit is not with my|deposits, or if you haven’t received either of the above documents, then follow our advice below to check the status of your deposit.
If you know which deposit protection scheme your money has been placed in, then you can easily check online to see if you are protected.
We have a deposit checker on our website, available here. If you’ve been told your money is being protected by mydeposits, then that is a good place to start.
Your landlord has 30 days to protect your deposit, so if you’ve only just handed the money over to your landlord or are at the start of your tenancy period, then your landlord may not have gotten round to it yet.
That doesn’t mean you should stop checking though, check again once the 30 day period is up.
Can’t Find Your Deposit?
If nothing comes up, or if you are unsure which scheme you are protected by, then try the deposit checker at Shelter.
If you’ve checked all the deposit protection schemes, and 30 days have passed since you paid your deposit, then it’s possible your deposit is unprotected.
What To Do
The first step in this situation is to talk to your landlord. We always say that communication between you and your landlord is vital to having a good relationship and a happy tenancy. Talk to your landlord if you’re unsure about anything and avoid being making accusations – it could be an honest mistake, or a simple delay in records being updated.
Ask a question such as ‘which scheme did you protect the deposit with’ or ‘when do you need me to counter-sign the deposit protection certificate.’
This will serve to remind your landlord of their obligation or, if they are intentionally avoiding deposit protection for whatever reason, demonstrate to your landlord that you are aware of what is required by law.
If your landlord either doesn’t seem to be aware of their legal obligations, or seem unaware/unconcerned by the ramifications of ignoring them, then forwarding them our Tenancy Deposit Protection Overview will mean you can be sure they are at least aware of the law and the penalties for failing to follow it.
Along with making sure your deposit is protected and that you receive all the important documents, make sure you thoroughly read through your tenancy agreement and discuss with your landlord anything you don’t understand.
Your landlord needs to put in writing reasons for possibly withholding some/all of your money at the end of the tenancy.
For example, if you lose your keys during your tenancy and your landlord wishes to deduct the cost of replacing them from your deposit, it must state in the tenancy agreement that a deduction will be made in this situation. A deduction can’t just be made when and if it feels appropriate.
If you go through a letting agent to let your property then a lot of the information above remains correct. The agent is there to act on behalf of the landlord, so in theory you shouldn’t ever see or speak to the owner of the property you’re letting.
Once everything is finalised, you pay the agent your deposit and the process of signing the DPC and receiving the ‘Information for Tenants’ leaflet is the same as with a landlord, you just receive it from your agent. It’s the agent’s responsibility to provide you with all this, again within the 30 day period.
If you still find yourself in a situation where you are renting a property and your deposit is unprotected, then there are other options available to you.
Shelter have compiled advice on your position at the end of the tenancy if you are having issues withrecovering your deposit.