The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

What is tenancy deposit protection?

Tenancy deposit protection applies to all deposits for assured shorthold tenancies that started in England or Wales on or after 6 April 2007. By law, a landlord or agent who receives a deposit for such a tenancy must protect the deposit.

Lambert & Foster LLP belong to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), which is run by The Dispute Service Ltd. It 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.

TDS has two main roles:

  • To protect deposits.
  • To help resolve disputes about deposits.

What happens to the deposit at the end of the tenancy?

If there is no dispute about the return of the deposit at the end of the tenancy, the landlord or agent will pay the deposit to the tenant without delay, less any deductions that the tenant has agreed.

If there is a dispute about the return of the deposit or about proposed deductions, the parties should try to reach agreement. Most disputes are resolved informally in this way. But if an agreement cannot be reached between landlord and tenant[s] the disputed money will be forwarded to the TDS for them to adjudicate on the dispute.

TDS will appoint an impartial adjudicator to make a binding decision, normally within 28 days of receiving the parties’ consent to resolving the dispute.  Within a further 10 days of the adjudicator’s decision, TDS will pay the amount due to each party.

Further details of the scheme can be found at