What does "lead tenant" mean?

With many people moving out over summer, it's important that all tenants understand how SafeDeposits deals with joint tenants when it comes to getting your deposit back.

If there's more than one tenant in a property, the landlord will pick one tenant as the "lead tenant". They are responsible for responding to or entering a repayment request after the tenancy ends to claim the deposit back.

The deposit protection certificate we send you to confirm your deposit is protected by SafeDeposits confirms the name of the lead tenant.

If you would like to change who the lead tenant is, you should discuss this with the other tenants. When you reach an agreement, the landlord can contact us to pick a new lead tenant.

How does the lead tenant complete the repayment steps?

When the tenancy comes to an end, all tenants should discuss the deposit repayment with the landlord to agree how the deposit should be repaid (for example, if the full amount should be paid back to the tenants, or if any should be paid to the landlord for rent arrears, cleaning, etc.).

After you move out, the landlord will usually log in to the SafeDeposits website and enter a repayment request first. This will confirm how the deposit should be repaid. We'll send a copy of the repayment request to all tenants.

To complete the repayment:

  • The lead tenant must log in to SafeDeposits website to agree or disagree with the breakdown entered;

  • All joint tenants must log in to the SafeDeposits website to add their bank details./li>

If the lead tenant agrees with the repayment request, we'll repay the deposit within five working days.

Can the lead tenant start the repayment process?

Yes, the lead tenant can log in and enter a repayment request first. We'll send a copy of their repayment request to the other tenants and to the landlord. In the same way as before, to complete the repayment, the landlord must log in to the SafeDeposits website to agree or disagree with the breakdown entered.

Does the lead tenant have their own log in details?

After your deposit is protected with SafeDeposits, we'll send all tenants a deposit account number (DAN) and deposit repayment number (DRN). The DAN is the reference number for your deposit which you share with your landlord and the other tenants you live with. The DRN is your password for your personal account with SafeDeposits and shouldn't be shared with anyone else.

You can only access the correct option on our website when you log in with your own DRN. For example, the lead tenant will only see the option to respond to the landlord's repayment request when they log in to our website using their own DRN.

Can the lead tenant claim the full deposit for themselves?

The lead tenant can specify that the full deposit should be repaid to them when they respond to the landlord's repayment request or enter their own. As a copy of the repayment request will be sent to all tenants, if you're unhappy with the breakdown entered, you should contact SafeDeposits as soon as possible. In this situation we can contact the lead tenant to ask if they agree to change how much should be paid to each tenant. If an agreement can't be reached between tenants, we'll pay out the deposit equally to each tenant.

What does "joint and several liability" mean?

If you sign a joint tenancy agreement with other people, you're all liable for each other's actions during that tenancy. For example, if one tenant doesn't pay their month's rent, the other tenants will be responsible for what is owed.

This can sometimes mean that there are deductions from the deposit which not all tenants agree to. If the landlord wants to keep some or all of the deposit for the actions of one particular tenant, we recommend that tenants try to resolve this between themselves (for example, asking the tenant responsible to pay separately from the deposit, so the other tenants aren't out of pocket). As tenants are jointly and severally liable, SafeDeposits isn't able to get involved in disagreements between tenants.

Can I sign a separate tenancy agreement from other tenants?

There are occasionally tenancies were tenants aren't jointly and severally liable. For example, if you live in shared accommodation but sign a tenancy agreement for your room, rather than the entire property. In this situation, you're only responsible for your own living space and individual deposit. Your deposit should be held in its own deposit account on our system with only your name listed against it. If you're not sure what type of contract you've sign, check your tenancy agreement.