What are tenant deposits and why do we have to pay them?

Whenever tenants move from one property to another they are asked to pay another deposit. The landlord who is allowing them to stay in their property has a considerable investment which is being “loaned” to the tenant, so it isn’t a surprise that they will want some collateral. Deposits are held to ensure that any damages above “fair wear and tear” can be repaired by the landlord after the tenancy has ended.

Things to bear in mind

What constitutes fair wear and tear? It is difficult to determine exactly what fair wear and tear is. If you make marks on paintwork in a hallway from walking in and out of the property this is fine, but bringing a bicycle in and leaving marks is less allowable. Your deposit cannot be used to repair things which might be expected to occur, but deductions can be made to repair damage. However, there are certain factors which must be taken into account including:

  • The number of occupants
  • The ages of the occupants (are there any children?)
  • The length of tenancy
  • Whether any pets were allowed
  • The lifespan of the damaged items

Can the landlord just hold my deposit themselves? No. There are three deposit protection schemes and the deposit MUST be registered with one of these:

  • Deposit Protection Service
  • MyDeposits
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Your tenancy agreement should include information about the scheme with which your deposit is being held. Irrespective of which scheme your landlord decides to use, they must confirm in writing the following information within 30 days of you paying the deposit:

  • the address of the rented property
  • how much deposit you’ve paid
  • how the deposit is protected
  • the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme and its
    dispute resolution service
  • their (or the letting agency’s) name and contact details
  • the name and contact details of any third party that’s paid the deposit
  • why they would keep some or all of the deposit
  • how to apply to get the deposit back
  • what to do if you can’t get hold of the landlord at the end of the tenancy
  • what to do if there’s a dispute over the deposit.

Can the deposit be transferred from one tenancy to another? Unfortunately this isn’t possible. Each tenancy is a different entity which is an agreement between two parties – the tenant and the landlord. Therefore, each tenancy must have a new deposit which must be registered separately with one of the aforementioned schemes.

How much is a normal deposit? There is no standard level of deposit and the amount of deposit that is paid can be agreed between the landlord and the tenant separately for each tenancy. When you are renting through an agency the agency may have a set level of deposit. This level may depend on whether the property is furnished or unfurnished, and you may be asked to pay more if you have pets. If you have pets you might want to read our article on renting with pets here.

We hope you found this guide to deposits and their pitfalls useful, but if you want any more information then contact us at

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