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Protection of tenants’ security deposits in London: how it works

Although the London rental market is generally fairly unregulated, there is one exception: the tenant’s security deposit.

Rules are very stringent for landlords. All landlords must deposit the funds received from their private tenants towards one of the official schemes, managed by the UK government’s organisations. There are currently three official schemes: the Deposit Protection Service, My Deposits, and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, also called TDS, which is the one used most frequently by landlords.

Landlords must inform their tenant, within 30 days following the tenancy start, in which scheme the funds have been deposited.

If the landlord doesn’t do this, the tenant can request a substantial financial compensation (but cannot cancel the tenancy for that reason).

The deposits are protected within these schemes, and a set of rules will be applied in case of conflicts between landlords and tenants.

The deposit must be returned to the tenant at the end of the tenancy if the tenant:

– did respect all the obligations indicated in the tenancy agreement

– did pay the rent and bills

– did not damage the property

If these conditions are met, then the deposit must be returned within 10 days following the end of the tenancy.

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