A Problem Shared: What Is A Tenancy Deposit Scheme?

A Problem Shared Housing | by | 17th Mar 2017

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Have you heard of the tenancy deposit scheme? Aled’s son is moving into his own flat soon and she wants to find out more about it. Do you have any advice for this week’s A Problem Shared…?

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Hi FamilyPoint,

I’m wondering if you can help me? My son and his girlfriend are moving into their first flat together soon. They are going to be renting it from a private landlord. They haven’t gone through an agency, which is great because they haven’t had to pay those terrible fees you hear about. But someone mentioned something called a tenancy deposit scheme. I was wondering if you could tell me how they go about getting one of those? I don’t want them getting in to trouble because they haven’t done things right.

Thank you, Aled.

Our FamilyPoint Advice to Aled

Hi Aled,

Thanks for contacting FamilyPoint. It’s great to hear that your son and his partner have found a new home and a private landlord that they are happy with. The private rental market can be a tricky thing to navigate safely and has been fraught with a lot of problems in the past.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme is one way that tenants rights are now protected and its great that not only you’ve heard about this but that you are keen for your son to use the service. The Tenancy Deposit Scheme works by the tenant paying the usual deposit to the landlord, the main difference being that the landlord will not hold on to this but will pay it into a Tenancy Deposit Scheme where it will be safe until it is time for you to move on.

The scheme protects the deposit from being used by the landlord for other things and the landlord cannot just remove money from this unreasonably. If there is any dispute over the amount the landlord wants to deduct from the deposit when your son decides to move on from the property the Tenancy Deposit Scheme can help to resolve the dispute. In short, your son’s landlord has a legal obligation to place the deposit into a scheme within 30 days of receiving it if your son has an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (it will state this on the tenancy agreement). For more detailed information on the scheme including information on dispute resolution click here. 

What to do if the scheme is not offered?

If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and your landlord has not offered the scheme, or has taken the deposit money without telling you which scheme this has been placed into within 30 days of your payment, then they might not be upholding your rights as a tenant. It would be worth discussing this with your landlord, but if they are being unreasonable you could seek further support through the Citizens Advice who will be able to support you to look at further action. In some cases this could include receiving court ordered compensation from your landlord. Find your local Citizens Advice here. 

Other tenancies and ways to protect yourself

If your son and his partner have any other type of tenancy or do not have a tenancy agreement the landlord is not legally obliged to deposit the money into one of these schemes. For further information about the different types of tenancy and your protections click here. 

If your son does not have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and the landlord is not willing to place the deposit into a Tenancy Deposit Scheme, there are other ways that your son can protect himself as a private tenant.

  • Ensure the landlord is licensed. Rent Smart Wales can check this information for you. 
  • Go through the inventory carefully when moving in. Make sure that all damage or repairs are noted on the inventory before you sign it. You could take photos but try to do this with a camera that time stamps the pictures.
  • Make sure you have a copy of all the signed documentation including the inventory and Tenancy Agreement. Make sure you read them thoroughly and get someone else to check it for you too.
  • Know your rights! You have rights as a private tenant – make sure you know what they are. Find out here.

Further advice

If your son needs further advice or information, Shelter Cymru is a really good place to start. They have a dedicated helpline for housing issues on 0345 075 5005.

I hope your son’s new tenancy works out and the information has been helpful. If you need any further help with this, or any other issue, contact the FamilyPoint helpline:

If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via phone 0300 222 57 57, text 07860 052 905, or IM/Chat. We are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.

I hope this advice has been helpful. Good luck.

The FamilyPoint Cymru Team

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