Finding your new home

Guidance on what questions to ask when you have found a home, and information on tenancy agreements and rental fees. 

Deposit protection

If you are a lodger, the information in this section does not apply to you.

Most private landlords ask new tenants to pay a tenancy deposit to cover damage or unpaid rent. You pay this deposit to give your landlord protection in case you leave without paying the rent or cause damage to the property or its contents and protect you by ensuring at the end of your tenancy that the deposit is returned to you.

Deposits must be less than the equivalent of five weeks rent.

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

The three schemes are:

  1. DPS
  2. TDS
  3. MyDeposits

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

  • the 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; and
  • what happens if you can't agree or if your landlord or agent doesn't respond.

Your landlord faces penalties if they don't protect your deposit, including compensatory payment of between 1 and 3 times the amount of your deposit and/or not allowing the landlord to give you notice to leave in the normal way.

For further advice on deposit protection rules, please see:


Always agree an inventory with the agent or landlord when 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 and videos 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.

For further advice about inventories, please see: