If you are living in a shared student house and are renting for an agreed period from a private Landlord/Agent then it is likely that you are in what is known as an Assured Short Hold Tenancy. This is important because following changes to the Law in 2007, this type of tenancy gives extra protection under the law in terms of tenancy deposits.
A landlord is obliged to protect your deposit with a government registered Tenancy Deposit Scheme and provide you with ‘prescribed’ information within 30 days of taking your deposit. There are three Government-backed schemes.
Your landlord or Letting Agent must register your deposit in the scheme within 30 days of receiving it. Failure to do so can make them liable for compensation.
You will be able to check the protection of your deposit at Shelter.
If you cannot find your registration then you should contact your landlord/Agent asking for details about where your deposit is protected.
NOTE: A landlord is breaking the law if they do not protect your deposit and action can be taken against them.
When your tenancy ends the landlord should return your deposit as long as the rent is up to date and there is no damage.
If your deposit has been protected, you should get it back within 10 days. Providing you and your landlord/Agent agree on the amount you should get back.
If there is a dispute about the amount to be returned or the landlord refuses to pay then it may be possible to use the relevant Tenancy Deposit Scheme’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service.
Please note that for certain schemes disputes have to be registered within a certain time e.g. 12 weeks. If in doubt, seek advice or register the dispute which can be withdrawn if the issue is settled.