Deposits or bonds
Most landlords will ask you to a pay a deposit or bond which is usually one month's rent in advance. The deposit you pay to the landlord acts as a form of insurance that you will leave the property in a good condition when you leave. If you damage the property or leave owing rent, these will be deducted from your deposit.
Paying a deposit is expensive and you should make sure that you have funds to pay the deposit and the first months' rent, before you sign the tenancy agreement.
Any deposit that you pay to a landlord must be protected in one of the government approved tenancy deposit protection schemes. The schemes provide protection for tenants by stopping landlords and letting agents from keeping a tenant's deposit unfairly. The schemes also provide a free service if you need to settle an argument with your landlord about the deposit.
Your landlord or agent must show you how your deposit is protected within 30 days of you paying it. Your landlord or their agent is required to provide you with the details of the scheme your deposit has been placed in including the contact details, terms and conditions and the deposits reference number.
If your landlord does not provide this information, you should ask them for it. If your landlord has not protected your deposit in a scheme, you can apply to your local County Court and they can make the landlord or agent repay the deposit to you.
If your landlord or agent has not protected your deposit the court may order them to repay up to three times the amount of the deposit to you.