Who Is Responsible For Securing The Tenancy Deposit? Agent Vs Landlord

Securing The Tenancy Deposit Responsibility

Is it the Landlord’s responsibility to comply with the tenancy deposit legislation (i.e. secure the the security deposit into a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme) or the Letting Agents?

A question often asked by landlords that used a letting agent to find tenants, usually after they have discovered that their agent hasn’t secured their tenant’s deposit.

The answer…THE LANDLORD! The Landlord is ALWAYS responsible.

However, tenancy deposits are covered in Part 6 (212 – 215) of the Housing Act 2004, clearly stating that the rules do not just apply to Landlords but also to anyone acting on their behalf:

References to a landlord or landlords in relation to any shorthold tenancy or tenancies include references to a person or persons acting on his or their behalf in relation to the tenancy or tenancies (Section 212(9))

While it is ultimately the Landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the deposit is secured, the responsibility of actually securing the deposit can fall onto the letting agent.

If the contract (by contract I mean the Agent’s Terms & Conditions, NOT the Tenancy Agreement) does not task the Agent with protecting the deposit, he should pass it straight to the Landlord. If the agent does not pass over the deposit promptly, the landlord is still responsible for protecting the deposit within 30 days of the agent having received it.

If the contract between the Landlord and Letting Agent states that the Agent is responsible for protecting the deposit on the landlord’s behalf, then the agent would potentially be liable to prosecution if he fails to do so; but by the Landlord rather than the tenant.

However, tenants should always pursue the Landlord if a deposit has not been protected. If the landlord believes the deposit should have been protected by the Agent they may have a separate case against them but that does not take away from the landlord’s responsibility. The Landlord should ALWAYS check that the deposit is protected, even if it isn’t their responsibility to protect the deposit.

So, it can actually end up in a there-way brawl. The tenant will chase the Landlord, and the Landlord will chase the letting agent. Hey, maybe that’s how you like it…

14 Join the Conversation...

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sue devereux 22nd August, 2009 @ 17:29

I have a deposit from my tenant can you advise where to put this foc thank you

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mary 18th September, 2013 @ 21:21

I did not realise that I had to protect the deposit of my new tenants. They are now saying that the tenancy agreement is null and void. I have read somewhere that the deposit does not have to be protected until after they have taken up residency. Is this true? They are not due to move into the property until the 23rd September.

I would really appreciate some advice.

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John 7th April, 2014 @ 13:25

Hi Landlord, I don't know whether you'll still pick this up but I'd appreciate an opinion on the following.
I've used a letting agent for about 5 years. I've recently switched to a new agent. The new agent has requested details and transfer of deposits for incumbent tenants. The old agent isn't replying. Various tenants have confirmed they have paid deposits to the old agent but have never received any documentation of registration.
Furthermore, tenants that have now given notice have requested back their deposits from the old agents who are now saying that they don't have them; having transferred them to the new agent. This is a lie.
To me this looks like out and out theft. I'm just concerned that I might end up with some liability if I stir things up, report it to the police or whatever.
Opinion please?

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svet 22nd July, 2016 @ 13:52

i am a tenant, and my agency did not protected the deposit since january 2016. what is my next step, what i can do. Week ago I have recived msg from agency that landlord what his flat back.

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Mark buckley 13th March, 2017 @ 17:05

My landlord has decided to leave the agent that delt with me when i moved into my house, now the owner is telling me that i need to contact the agent to get the deposit back off the agent and give it to him (the owner).Is it not the owners responability to get the deposit off the agent ?

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Mike 19th January, 2018 @ 19:56

I have the non deposit protection situation {it is very messy. Going to court. Tried to settle but Tenant wanted costs and deposit. Tried to give it by the check got rejected as not delivered.No so much costs. How do I get the costs to the estate agent.the terms and conditions say estate agent takes the deposit. I was a naive landlord. Do I have a case here. Will small claims handle this? Can I win? Costs are still in small claims range but it is high. Any help???

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Sarah 13th August, 2019 @ 21:29

Our landlord left the letting agents about 18 months ago, we found out about 12 months ago.
We have been told by CAB ( when landlord tried issuing a Section 21 when I asked for security repairs to be made and I refused to write a letter to give my legal rights away - Landlord applied for sons schooling in our current rental address)
We asked for Gas safety she denied best friend wrote gas certificate for last two years then she tried sending him a again got a teenage daughter battling cancer who had been rushed to hospital with Carbon Monoxide poisoning house was dangerous.
Our certificate is still registered with TDP with letting Agent in Aug 2017, Landlord took over sept 2017 she took out a new contract for 12 months we are direct with landlords.
Does she have to register our deposit?? Although it’s registered with old letting agent.
We fell out with Estate Agent over our safety etc so they have said they have no dealings with property and contact landlord.
Landlord has already said she will take deposit and more money for damages although we had a perfect reference only a couple months ago.
Please any advice would be greatly received.

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Nikki 27th August, 2019 @ 19:47

On first moving in I paid £595 to letting agent and tenancy agreement said it was paid into deposit protection scheme. Landlord stopped using agent about 18 months ago. I pay to them directly. I vacate property next week and was counting on bond back for my next house and letting agent never paid into deposit protection scheme. Opened it but never paid!! Letting agent as Iv discovered today no longer exists!! No number, email, nothing?? I really need this bond back. Landlord saying it’s letting agents responsibility but I don’t think it is!!! Help Please. Iv lived here 3 years almost.

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Brian 5th May, 2020 @ 02:14

I used an online letting agent for the tenancy which has now come to it's end.
The tenant has left and the Check-out inspection was conducted. There was some damages,lawns and gardens were in a very bad state plus some small items missing such as keys.
All in all a few hundred pounds to put everything right, no problem as there was a deposit of £800.
When I started to discuss the claim with the agent they tried to say I had the deposit and that I had registered it. This was incorrect and it's now looking like the agent took the money but failed to register the deposit.
So I now intend to present the bills to the agent, if they refused or query them I shall report them to both the Property Ombudsman and the DPS. As this is the scheme they cited in their contract.
Any other suggestions please?
Many thanks,

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Sally Copley 24th February, 2021 @ 19:58

I appointed an agent to find tenants they took there deposit and registered it with a deposit scheme the agent went bust and the deposit scheme wrote to tenants to ask them to fill in details to swap deposit to another scheme, the tenants are now requesting deposit back and nobody apparently knows where it is! Anyone know what to do and worse case senario am I as landlord responsible even though The deposit was not handled by myself?

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123Landlord 12th May, 2021 @ 16:52

I can't see answers to comments for some reason, so someone may already have made this point:
This is a gap isn't it? There should be a way for Landlords to delegate, and agents to accept responsibility for this type of thing. Otherwise, what's the point of having an agent? And, how will the letting agent industry ever get the professional recognition they seem to want, if they're never ultimately accountable for anything.

Also, non-professional landlords may be considered a problem by some, as they may not provide the level of service that tenants should be about to expect. So surely non-professional landlords should be able to delegate to a regulated industry who can deliver legislation and best practice.


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Theo charalambous 7th August, 2022 @ 19:58

I am a landlord and my agent did the tenancy agreement. On this agreement we took 2 months rent in advance but no deposit. The tenants agreed to this and signed. They stayed 14 months and left. On leaving we sort out what they owed me and what I owed them and they left happy. Now after nearly 6 years they left, they sent me a solicitor letter saying that I owe them £68 and that I didn’t protect their deposit, but they never had a deposit! They only paid 2 months in front. Have they got a case against me?

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Teresa 8th July, 2023 @ 01:03

I manage a property for a friend and registered the deposit with TDS incorrectly.

The TDS have informed me:

"you have protected this deposit naming yourself as the landlord. This means the deposit has not correctly been protected. The deposit should be protected and the name of the landlord on the tenancy agreement should be named on the protection.

When a deposit is not correctly protected the tenant can take the landlord to court, the judge WILL award the tenant the full deposit and up to 3 x the deposit. "

Please advise if this is accurate.

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Brian Brown 11th July, 2023 @ 04:28

Well firstly don't stress and get too concerned Teressa, I am experiencing something similar but from a different perspective. And let me tell you NO ONE is prepared to help DPS, Property Ombudsman, Local Authoirty or even Trading Standards. So I ve had to contact my local MP.

My letting agent who registered the tenants deposit back in 2019 firstly cowed their offices in 2021, later they were dissolved by Compsnies House in 2022. They transferred the deposit into a newly opened account in 2022 the name of the former director Mr C, but as the LANDLORD.

Not only was the tenancy or property nothing to do with the director, he knew I was the landlord, this made it very difficult for me to make a claim on the deposit this April when the tenant left owning rent and leaving the property in a mess.

The DPS said it was not prepared to investigate as it was nothing to do with them. I stated that they surely owned me a duty of care, and should have conducted due diligence asking for ID and a copy of the Tenancy Agreement from Mr C, when the deposit was transferred across.

You have registered the deposit, it has been protected the rest is IMHO semantics and of no concern to the tenant. You can and should transfer it into the correct name of your friend the recognised landlord

Wishing you well, good luck.

















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