Private tenants handbook

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3. Deposits

Since April 2007 any deposit taken from a tenant on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be protected in one of the three deposit protection schemes.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme
Deposit Protection Service

Your landlord could face penalties if they don't protect your deposit or give you the Prescribed Information within the required time. It could also mean it is more difficult for the landlord to end your tenancy.

Deductions your landlord could make from your deposit

Your landlord could make deductions from your deposit for:

  • Damaged to and/or missing property
  • Cleaning costs
  • Unpaid rent

Your tenancy agreement should state what your landlord could make deductions for at the end of the tenancy.

Damaged or missing items

You should have a detailed inventory at the start of the tenancy which lists all the fixtures and fittings within the property and their condition. This should include photographs so that if you do have a dispute with your landlord these can be used as evidence.

When you leave a property it should be in the same condition as when you moved in allowing for wear and tear.


It is always recommended that if you clean the property at the end of a tenancy and that you take photos so that you can prove the condition of the property when you left.

Unpaid rent

If you have rent arrears are more than the value of your deposit the landlord could take you to court for the rest of the money.

Dispute resolution service

Each of the deposit protection schemes have an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service that you can use if you have a dispute with your landlord about how much deposit is being returned to you.

Court action

If have an assured shorthold tenancy and your landlord refuses to return all or some of your deposit you can choose to take court action. This should always be a last resort and you should always attempt to settle the issue with the landlord directly.

Further information on these topics and more can be found here: