Usually, when you sign a tenancy contract, you will need to provide a tenancy deposit. If you are moving into a shared house, the landlord will generally have to protect your deposit. Tenancy Deposit Protection schemes are in place for the tenant (your) benefit. They were originally established to ensure that landlords cannot just refuse to return your deposit at the end of your contract. The schemes also provide a mechanism for resolving disputes between tenants and landlord.
If you are unsure, you can check if your deposit has been protected If you have signed an ‘Assured Shorthold Tenancy’. Your landlord is legally required to provide you with information about your deposit, and which protection scheme has been used
If your landlord has not protected your deposit when they should have done, you can take action.
In order to avoid disputes, you should ideally arrange to inspect the house with the landlord at the start of the tenancy noting not only the furnishings but also the condition of walls, flooring, ceilings, doors, windows and fittings. If anything looks less than 100% condition take date stamped photos, even of the most minor defects, these are the things that can cause the most hassle in getting your full deposit back at the end of the year. The process should be repeated just prior to the moving out date and a comparison made to look at any attributable damage that you may need to pay for.
If you would like further advice about your deposit, whether it has been protected, or what to do in the case of a dispute you can contact the Guild Advice Team.