The requirement to protect a tenancy deposit taken for an assured shorthold tenancy in England and Wales was introduced on 06 April 2007, following its inclusion in the Housing Act 2004. Initially, deposits needed protecting within 14 calendar days of receipt by the landlord. This was subsequently changed to 30 days on 06 April 2012 as a result of the Localism Bill 2011.
Within 30 days of receiving a deposit, landlords will have to provide tenants with the details of which scheme is protecting the tenancy deposit. This is the prescribed information. It must be accompanied by a copy of the relevant Scheme leaflet. There is a free evidenced-based Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service to deal with disputes related to the tenancy deposit. In the event of a dispute, both the agent/landlord and tenant must consent to use the ADR service and agree to be bound by the Adjudicator’s decision.
It is important that before you pay any deposit you get your landlord to provide an inventory, (list of items included in the property) stating the condition of these items and the general condition of the property. This must be signed by both of you as a record at that time. Photographic evidence of the internal condition with a date imprinted is a good way of evidencing this. This should avoid deposits being withheld by your landlord due to alleged damage. If your landlord breaks tenancy deposit rules, a court can order them to protect or return your tenancy deposit and pay you compensation. If you have any problems getting your deposit back, contact Shelter or Citizens Advice Bureau