A guide to UK deposit protection schemes for UK landlords
Most landlords in the UK are required by law to put tenant deposits in a government approved deposit scheme.
We’ve put together a quick guide with everything you need to know about the different approved schemes and if your properties are applicable.
What is the deposit protection scheme law?
Since 2007, landlords have been by law required to protect the funds received from tenants as a security deposit. This applies to assured shorthold tenancies which is the most common form of rental agreement in the UK.
It is not compulsory for a landlord to take a security deposit from tenants however, it is strongly advised that you do. If you decide it is necessary to take a deposit from your tenants then you need to place the funds into an approved scheme within 30 days.
In addition, to placing the funds within an approved scheme the tenants must be provided with a copy of the deposit protection certificate and “prescribed information” pack. A prescribed information pack includes all the details regarding the specific scheme you have chosen and what happens if there is a dispute over the funds. Your deposit protection scheme will normally provide a template to help you, for more information visit gov.uk.
These rules help protect tenants by making sure they get their deposit back after their tenancy has been completed subject to paying rent and handing the property back in line with the tenancy agreement.
What is the maximum tenancy deposit in the UK?
The amount you can take from a tenant as a deposit can vary depending on the rental characteristics, below is a list of different deposit types and their associated caps.
- Default fees (fees you can charge during the tenancy) are limited to the reasonable costs incurred for replacing a key or interest on overdue rent by 14 days or more. (capped at 3% above the Bank of England base rate)
- Security deposits, (the most common form of deposit) are capped at five weeks rent if the rental value is less than £50,000 pa and 6 weeks where the rent is greater than £50,000 pa
- Holding deposits are capped at 1 weeks rent
Best tenancy deposit schemes by region
Each region in the UK has government-backed deposit protection schemes that can be utilised by landlords. There are two different types of scheme you should be aware of:
- Custodial schemes
- Insured Schemes
A custodial scheme allows you to place the deposit in the care of the protection company, they will hold on to the funds until the end of the tenancy. Insured schemes allow you as the landlord to hold onto the funds during the tenancy after paying the protection company a small insurance fee.
Tenancy deposit schemes in Scotland
For landlords in Scotland there are three government backed schemes:
Tenancy deposit schemes in England & Wales
For landlords in England & Wales there are three government backed schemes:
Tenancy deposit schemes in Northern Ireland
For landlords in Northern Ireland there are three government backed schemes:
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme Northern Ireland (https://www.tdsnorthernireland.com/home/)
- My Deposits Northern Ireland
- Letting Protection Service NI
This article isn’t advice, please use it only as a guide and speak to a professional if you’d like more information/