Ask TDS: "Does a tenant need to pay to raise a dispute?"

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a government approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; we offer both insured and custodial protection. We also provide fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect. This article has been written in response to a tenant’s query: “Does a tenant need to pay to raise a dispute?”


TDS provides alternative dispute resolution free of charge for all tenancies that are protected by us, whether in the custodial or insured scheme. No party; whether agent, landlord or tenant, needs to pay for the adjudication services provided.

My agent says that they can’t return my deposit for at least two months – can I raise a dispute?

TDS allows all parties- landlords, agents and tenants to raise a dispute- unlike other schemes. One thing TDS does require though, is that some attempts at negotiation have been made and we may ask for evidence of this. If your agent has said something about having to wait to return the deposit then ask why, and for confirmation of the date you can expect it and the amount that will be returned. If negotiations do not result in a satisfactory date/amount then you can raise a dispute with us and share the communications as evidence of negotiation being attempted.

Can I claim back money I spent on the property in addition to my deposit in the dispute?

TDS only has the ability to adjudicate over the deposit. As the deposit money belongs to the tenant, we cannot then consider claims from the tenant regarding money they are owed by the landlord. If the tenant wishes to make a claim against the landlord, or wants to offset money they owe the landlord due to condition of property (eg didn’t pay full rent due to lack of heating) they will need to consider taking their case to court as TDS will be unable to consider such claims. For more information we recently wrote a blog on the subject of tenant claims.


Essentially, the take away here is that all parties involved can raise a dispute with TDS and not be charged for raising that dispute. Negotiation should be attempted prior to the dispute being raised and tenants should carefully consider whether TDS ADR is the right option for them, or whether they would be better served by seeking legal advice.


Posted by Debbie Davies on 28 July 2017

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