Government tenancy deposit schemes, when you need to protect a tenancy deposit, what happens if you don’t.

A tenancy deposit must be protected in a government authorised tenancy deposit scheme. This is in addition to the requirements for tenancy deposits under the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

Government authorised tenancy deposit schemes

There are three government authorised tenancy deposit schemes:

You must protect the tenancy deposit in one of the 3 schemes and provide specific information to the tenant within 30 days of getting it

Alternative to tenancy deposit schemes

Most tenancy deposits need protection.

One example of an alternative to a tenancy deposit is where a tenant pays a non-refundable, up-front fee with additional non-refundable payments required on a monthly or annual basis.

Depending on the alternative scheme, the tenant can still be liable for additional charges at the end of the tenancy, like damages and unpaid rent.

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 prohibits some fees that a landlord or letting agent can charge a tenant. A landlord or letting agent can only offer an alternative deposit option to the tenant alongside a traditional tenancy deposit.

If a landlord or letting agent does not explain how an alternative deposit scheme works to a tenant, this could be a breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

What happens if you should protect a deposit and you don’t

If you must protect a deposit and you don’t, you could face enforcement action by your local authority under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs). See our section on the CPRs for more information.

Tenants can also take their own action if: 

  • a deposit has not been protected at all or outside the 30 days timeframe
  • the information you must give to them is: 
    • not supplied at all 
    • supplied outside the 30 days timeframe

Who to contact for more information on tenancy deposits

For more information on your duties in relation to tenancy deposits, contact: 

  • the three authorised tenancy deposit schemes
  • your local authority trading standards service
  • your local authority housing team 
  • your professional body or trade association
  • an independent legal adviser