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Deposit protection

Your landlord must protect your deposit with one of three schemes, and provide you with proof, within 30 days of taking your deposit money.

If your landlord lives in the same flat or house as you and shares a bathroom, kitchen or living room with you, then you are a lodger. Lodgers have fewer rights than tenants, and the information on this page does not apply to you. 

Please visit Shelter for more information

Get advice if you are not sure whether or not you are a lodger.  For example, you are not a lodger if:

  • you live with a “head tenant” who collects the rent; or
  • your landlord moved in after you first moved in; or
  • your landlord keeps a room for themselves but does not live there.

What is a deposit?

Most private landlords ask new tenants to pay a tenancy deposit to cover damage or unpaid rent.  You pay a tenancy deposit to give your landlord protection in case you leave without paying the rent or cause damage to the property or its contents.

Find out more about deposits on the Shelter website.


Make sure that you agree an inventory with the agent or landlord before or as soon as you move in.  An inventory should describe everything that is provided with the accommodation, and details about the condition that the accommodation is in.  It should be signed by you and the agent.

Do not agree an inventory that says something is in good condition when it is not! 

If your landlord won’t do an inventory, make one yourself.

It is a good idea to take dated photographs of any damage or wear and tear on the day you move in – that way you have proof if later the landlord claims that you caused the damage.

Find out more about inventories here:

Deposit protection schemes

Your landlord must protect your deposit with one of three schemes, and provide you with proof, within 30 days of taking your deposit money.  These deposit protection schemes make sure at the end of your tenancy that the deposit is returned to you fairly.

The landlord can choose any one of the three schemes:

My deposits, TDS, DPS (logos with hyperlinks)

Your landlord must also give you proof in writing that the deposit is protected:

  • amount of deposit paid and the property address it relates to
  • contact details of your landlord or agent and deposit protection scheme used
  • scheme leaflet explaining the rules  
  • how to get your deposit back and when deductions can be made
  • what happens if you can't agree or if your landlord or agent doesn't respond

This information must be signed by the landlord or agent that you paid your deposit to.

Your landlord faces penalties if they don't protect your tenancy deposit as required by tenancy deposit protection rules. 

For further advice on deposit protection rules, please see:

  • Shelter
  • DPS tenant’s guides, one for custodial and one for insured.
  • My deposit tenant guides (hyperlink)
  • TDS tenant guides (hyperlink)

If your landlord or agent did not give you proof in 30 days that your deposit is protected, you can get advice from one of the agencies signed up to the Tower Hamlets Private Renters’ Charter:  we all promise to find the best way to improve your situation - and the most effective action to take against landlords or agents who break the rules.

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