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Guest post: 10 things every property professional should know about tenancy deposit protection

In this guest blog by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, they share 10 vital tips you need to know if you’re letting a property – whether you’re a private landlord or letting agent. 

It always pays to know the latest guidelines and tips on tenancy deposit protection. That way, you can avoid compliance issues and sticky deposit disputes at the end of tenancy.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) has been supporting agents and landlords for nearly 20 years and we know all too well when and where the common deposit pitfalls occur.

To help you avoid time-consuming and costly issues from happening, we’ve created this essential checklist for new and established landlords alike.

  1. When should a tenancy deposit be protected?

Deposits on assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) must be protected with a Government-approved scheme like TDS within 30 days of receiving the deposit.

It’s important to note that a holding deposit is not a tenancy deposit for the purposes of section 212 of the Housing Act 2004, and does not need to be protected.

  1. What if the deposit is paid by someone else on the tenant’s behalf?

The person paying the deposit on the tenant’s behalf will be considered a “relevant person”.

This is a person, company or organisation who, by arrangements made with the tenant, paid the deposit on behalf of the tenant, for example, a local authority, employer, parent or guarantor.

  1. Serve your Prescribed Information on time (and not too early)

The landlord or agent must issue Prescribed Information to the tenant (and any ‘relevant person’) along with the Scheme Leaflet within 30 days of receiving the deposit.

Since the time limit runs from when part or all of the deposit is deemed to have been received, serving Prescribed Information before this may not be sufficient to comply with the legislation.

Good practice is to maintain a record to show when the documents were served in compliance with the legislation and that they were clearly provided within the designated time.

  1. Conduct thorough inventory reports for evidence

If there is a dispute at the end of tenancy, an adjudicator will consider the evidence put forward by both parties regarding the changing condition of the property.

Without a comprehensive inventory check-in and detailed check-out report, it can be extremely difficult to persuade an adjudicator that deductions from the deposit are justified as they can’t compare the differences from the start to the end of the tenancy.

  1. Comply with the Tenant Fees Act

The Tenant Fees Act prohibits landlords and letting agents from charging certain fees and excessive deposits.

It is therefore vital that you check your deposit amount against the Deposit Cap legislation and review permissible tenant fees.

Rules do differ on fees throughout the UK so don’t assume the same applies in England and Wales, or you may get caught out.

You can find out more about this on TDS’ suite of online tools at, which includes a handy deposit cap calculator and a Tenant Fees Matrix.

  1. Keep an auditable record of communications during tenancy

Communication often helps to avoid disputes. If tenants make you aware of issues with the property during tenancy (as they should), you should respond and act as soon as possible – and you should keep a record of that action too.

Keeping tenant’s contact details up to date is also important as this will make communication at the end of the tenancy far easier, helping you avoid unwanted disputes.

  1. Follow the correct end-of-tenancy process for the scheme

In the TDS Insured scheme, we will send you an email reminder when the fixed term tenancy ends. When the tenancy ends without a dispute you must login to your TDS account and end protection of the deposit.

In TDS Custodial, you should speak to the tenant in the first instance about any deductions you are seeking from the deposit and then enter a repayment request through your online account.

  1. Do you have a legitimate dispute?

We can only deal with a dispute if both the tenant and landlord agree they want us to and have tried to reach an agreement in the first instance.

Like the courts, we are impartial, authoritative and our decision is binding, however, while we can deal with proposed deductions from a deposit, we cannot consider counterclaims or matters unrelated to the deposit.

  1. Understand the deposit dispute procedure

An adjudicator can only adjudicate based on the information they are provided with, by the parties involved. They will not contact the parties for follow-up information or supporting evidence.

When an adjudicator considers a case, they need to know what the claim is about and how much is being claimed for.

They find this information in the ‘Dispute Application’ and the ‘Dispute Response’ the landlord and tenant send to TDS.

It is worth taking time to complete these properly so that the adjudicator is not in any doubt over what the claim is for.

  1. What evidence can you use in a dispute? 

In the case of a dispute, you must collate all the evidence you want the adjudicator to consider in support of your claim. Make sure you include the check-in inventory and schedule of condition report and the check-out report.

If you are claiming for rent arrears, send us a schedule of what’s been paid and what hasn’t – along with dates for when the rent was due. Without these documents, you may not be able to show that any property damage or rent arrears are the tenant’s responsibility.

Details of previous communications, receipts for work carried out (or quotes for intended work) and dated photographs will all help the adjudicator to assess your claim.

By Debbie Davies, Head of Sales and Client Success

Debbie has an extensive background in the property industry with over 20 years’ experience in residential lettings, including working as an Inventory Specialist and in her position as Head of Lettings for an agency in Wales.

Now, as Head of Sales and Client Success, Debbie brings her passion for raising standards in the lettings industry into her role and is responsible for all aspects of client satisfaction, retention, acquisition and sales across Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS England & Wales).

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