Half of tenants unsure on depositsNo less than 53 per cent of tenants admit they have not checked whether landlords, or their agents, hold their deposits in any of the tenancy deposit schemes - and one in six tenants are not aware that the process even exists.

A survey by SpareRoom say that even now, two years after the most recent strengthening of legislation over the holding of deposits, are not aware that such deposit schemes are mandatory on landlords and agents.

However, more than one in eight tenants say they have actually submitted claims through at least one of the tenancy deposit schemes - roughly half won their claim.

"The rogue element of the landlord community is far smaller than most people think. The wider problem is a private rented sector dominated by amateur and accidental landlords, who don't always know their responsibilities, claims Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom's director.

If agents or landlords are discovered to have failed to have properly protected the tenants' funds, a court can order them to pay the tenant up to three times the deposit.