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The Tenancy Deposit Scheme Guide

Since 6th April 2007 all deposits taken by landlords must have been safeguarded by one of three Government approved schemes. Landlords can choose which scheme they wish to use and must safeguard each deposit and inform the tenant which scheme has been used within 30 days of receiving the deposit. The Government has awarded contracts to three companies to run its tenancy deposit schemes.

The information below is correct as of April 6, 2012 when legislation changed in relation to Tenancy Deposits.
To see the full changes click here.

RLA advice in a nutshell

Insurance vs. Custodial

The tenant will pay the deposit to the landlord. The landlord will retain the deposit and pay a fee to the scheme. This is the difference from the custodial scheme as, under the custodial scheme, the deposit has to be paid over to the scheme administrator. Under the insurance scheme the landlord will be able to keep the deposit himself. At the end of the tenancy, if the landlord and tenant agree how the deposit should be divided, the landlord returns all or some of the deposit.

Tenancy Deposits: the options available

A comparison of the insurance based tenancy deposit schemes

DepositGuard Comparison


DepositGuard is an exclusive service, only available to members of the Residential Landlords Association, providing unbeatable rates on deposit protection and allowing the landlord to hold onto the deposit. The scheme is administered by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) - the longest standing, government approved tenancy deposit scheme.

Members can protect deposits up to £500 for just £13.20 and over £500 for £17.95 - making it by far the cheapest insurance based scheme in the market.

You hold the deposit
Free and instant online registration
Full support from RLA's Advisors
Email reminders when your tenancy is ending
Pay online with a credit/debit card
Free access to ADR (Alternative dispute resolution)
Get further information on DepositGuard or to register and start protecting deposits today

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme offers insurance backed and custodial deposit protection schemes and a dispute resolution service, built on The Dispute Service organisation that has been running since 2003. The insured scheme allows landlords and agents to hold onto deposits. There is an annual fee per property for landlords and a one off annual fee for letting agents. It is really a scheme for agents.

For further information on The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) or to register/submit a deposit, click here.

Deposit Protection Service

The Deposit Protection Scheme is managed by Computershare. This is a Custodial Scheme in which you hand your entire deposit over, there is no charge to landlords as the scheme is funded by the interest earned from the deposits held in the scheme. DPS, since April 2013, now offer an insurance backed deposit protection service.

For further information on the Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS) or to register/submit a deposit click here.


Capita, a new scheme from April 2013, operates an insurance backed deposit protection service. It also deals with any disputes which arise. This scheme allows landlords and agents to hold on to their deposits. There is a membership fee and a fee payable for registering each deposit.

However, from October 2013, Capita announced a statement stating that they were no longer taking new deposits. For further information, click here.

My Deposits

My Deposits (formerly Tenancy Deposits Solutions) operates an insurance backed deposit protection service. It also deals with any disputes which arise. This scheme allows landlords and agents to hold on to their deposits. There is a membership fee and a fee payable for registering each deposit.

For further information on or to register/submit a deposit, click here.

No Deposits

The majority of landlords in the UK rarely encounter the need to hold onto some or all of the deposit, which poses the question "do you really need to take deposits?"

If you wish to avoid the cost and paperwork of entering any of the schemes, there are some suggestions on what can be done. To see these suggestions, click here.

Join the RLA today

DepositGuard is an exclusive product for RLA members which allows you to protect your deposit and keep hold of it yourself and at a lower cost than the MyDeposits scheme. If you are not an RLA member, why not join today and take advantage of DepositGuard and a host of other benefits designed especially for landlords like you.

Other benefits include:-

  • Round the clock support from the RLA Landlord Advice Team
  • An extensive landlord library complete with documents and guides for each stage throughout the tenancy lifecycle
  • RLA forums giving you the opportunity to network with the Landlord Advice Team team and over 10,000 members
  • Discounts on a variety of services (including tenant credit reports)
  • and much more...

For details of membership options and cost of membership

Join Today from £79.95.
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