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The Landlord's Guide to Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Here at Simple Insurance we are regularly contacted by landlords requesting advice about the Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes and this guide aims to provide quick answers to some of the most common questions.

What do I have to do to comply with the legislation?

  • Protect Assured Shorthold Tenancy deposits received since 6th April 2007 in England and Wales, using one of three government approved schemes. In Scotland, all landlords who are required to register with the local authority must protect tenant's deposits. In contrast with the scheme in England and Wales, Scottish landlords must protect deposits received both prior to and after the introduction of the legislation on 7th March 2011.

  • Arrange protection and provide information to the tenant about the scheme within 30 calendar days of receipt of the deposit (30 working days in Scotland).

  • Return the deposit to the tenant within 10 calendar days providing there has been agreement between you and the tenant on the amount that should be returned (applicable to insurance based schemes in England and Wales).

  • The one custodial based scheme in England and Wales will return the deposit within 10 calendar days providing there has been agreement between you and the tenant on the amount that should be returned. The Scottish schemes will return the deposit within 5 working days providing there is no dispute over the amount to be returned.


Landlords in England and Wales may find it useful to read the guidance jointly issued by the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme providers on whether you need to protect deposits for tenancies commencing prior to 6th April 2007 that have since changed to Statutory Periodic Tenancies.

Which scheme should I use?

  • The main difference between the schemes is whether it is a custodial or an insurance based scheme.

  • Custodial schemes require you to pay the full value of the deposit into the scheme and are the only option for Scottish landlords.

  • In contrast, insurance based schemes require you to pay a small fee based on the value of the deposit to the scheme administrator.




How much do the schemes cost?



Fees in England and Wales



Deposit Amount

Deposit Protection Service

(custodial scheme)

Deposit Protection Service

(insurance based scheme)


(insurance based scheme)

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

(insurance based scheme)

Up to £500



£18.00 + £36.00 membership fee


Over £500



£24.00 + £36.00 membership fee



Fees in Scotland


Deposit Amount

Letting Protection Service Scotland

(custodial scheme)

SafeDeposits Scotland

(custodial scheme)

Mydeposits Scotland

(custodial scheme)

All deposits





What happens if there is a dispute over how much of the deposit should be returned?


  • The Alternative Dispute Resolution service can be used if both the tenant and landlord agree to its use in England and Wales. If the tenant applies to use the service in Scotland then it is compulsory that the landlord complies with the process.

  • This is a free service provided by each of the Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes.

  • The tenant has the option of taking the matter to court as an alternative to using the dispute resolution service.

  • If you are using an insurance based scheme you must hand over the full value of the deposit to the scheme administrator for safe keeping until the dispute is resolved.



Does Northern Ireland have a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme?


  • A Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme was introduced in Northern Ireland on 1st April 2013. For more information about the scheme visit the NIDirect website.


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