If you're renting somewhere to live from a private landlord or letting agent and pay them a deposit, your money should be protected with a tenancy deposit scheme. This includes if you've moved somewhere new for college or university and are renting while you're a student. The landlord or letting agent will usually ask you to pay a deposit before you move in, then they legally have to transfer your money to a tenancy deposit scheme within 30 working days of the tenancy start date.

The landlord or letting agent also has to provide you with certain key information, including the name and contact details of the scheme which holds your deposit.

After the scheme has received your money, they will also email you a deposit protection certificate (or send it by post, if your landlord or letting agent didn't give them your email address) to confirm they protect your deposit.

If you don't receive the key information and the deposit protection certificate, you should contact your landlord or letting agent to ask them if your money is protected. They should be able to provide you with the name of the tenancy deposit scheme they use, and the reference number for your deposit (e.g. every deposit protected with SafeDeposits has a deposit account number, or a 'DAN' for short). If your landlord or letting agent won't provide you with any information, you can contact the schemes directly to ask if they protect your deposit. The schemes can search for your deposit using basic details including your name, address, contact details, etc.

'What should I do if my name isn't listed on the deposit account?'

If you live with other people, your landlord or letting agent should add all of your names to the deposit account. If someone you live with receives a deposit protection certificate but you don't, you should contact your landlord or letting agent to ask them to update the deposit account. They can do this by logging in to the scheme's website or contacting their office. After they have added you to the deposit account, you should also receive a deposit protection certificate.

If you're not listed on the deposit account then you can't log in to the scheme's website to claim your deposit back after you move out. The email or letter from the scheme will confirm your log in details for their website, so make sure your name is listed on the deposit account - and keep your log in details safe!

For further information on how to claim your deposit back, please see our 'How do I get my deposit back?' blog post.

'What if someone else paid the deposit for me?'

It's quite common, especially in student tenancies, for someone else to pay the deposit (e.g. a parent or guardian). Even if someone else paid your deposit, you should still be listed on the deposit account, because you're the person responsible for sticking to the terms in the tenancy agreement (e.g. paying the rent, keeping the property clean, etc.).

If you need to contact the scheme (e.g. to update your contact details, for help reclaiming your deposit, etc.) you need to contact the scheme yourself. If you want someone else to speak on your behalf, you need to contact the scheme to let them know. In the same way as a bank wouldn't allow it, someone who isn't listed on an account can't change the details or claim the money back!