Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Updated: 10 Dec 2018
From 1 April 2013 deposits for private tenancies must be protected in an approved tenancy deposit scheme
Private rented sector to let signs
Following recent legislation in the Assembly, the Department for Social Development (DSD) has appointed three organisations to operate a tenancy deposit scheme in Northern Ireland,
A tenancy deposit is a sum of money which a landlord may ask a tenant to pay at the start of a tenancy. The landlord requests the money as security against the tenant not meeting their obligations in connection with a tenancy agreement. The tenancy agreement should set out the circumstances in which the deposit may be withheld at the end of the tenancy.
The DSD's new independent third party tenancy deposit scheme came into effect on the 1st of April 2013. It means that a third party will protect the deposit to make sure that a tenant gets it back if they are entitled to it. The scheme should also help resolve disputes about deposits between landlords and tenants through a dispute resolution mechanism.
There are two types of scheme which have been approved to operate in Northern Ireland:

The Custodial scheme

All of the deposit is handed over by the landlord to the scheme administrator for safe keeping. Either the tenant or the landlord can apply at the end of the tenancy for repayment of the deposit. If there is a dispute the scheme administrator will protect the disputed amount until it is resolved.

The Insurance scheme

The landlord holds on to the deposit and pays towards a fee and/or insurance to the scheme administrator. The landlord refunds the deposit to the tenant when it is due. If there is a dispute, the landlord hands over the disputed amount to the scheme administrator for safe keeping until the dispute is resolved.
Further information is available directly from the organisations that will operate the scheme:
Letting Protection Service Northern Ireland tel. 03330 303 0032  www.lettingprotectionni.com
Tenants across Northern Ireland will now have the same protection as those in Great Britain. The scheme will provide assurances for tenants and protection for landlords, helping to avoid long drawn out legal proceedings and disputes.
  • Further information is also available from the NI Direct