NEW rules designed to protect cash deposits made by private housing tenants are being highlighted in the Hambleton district.

The area's Citizens' Advice Bureau (CAB) is raising awareness of a scheme which was set up to help resolve disputes at the end of tenancies.

For years, tenants had little protection if their landlord chose to keep all or part of their deposit at the end of a tenancy.

Arguments over how much a landlord should keep to cover damage or other expenses often ended with the tenant losing out.

But from the start of this month, all new deposits for assured shorthold tenancies are protected under the Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme,

The new law requires all landlords to be in a Government-approved scheme.

There are sanctions against landlords who do not comply with the law.

Anyone signing a tenancy agreement after April 6, is advised to check with their landlord or agent about how their deposit will be protected.

Helen Donnelly, from Hambleton CAB, said: "This is great news and will directly benefit thousands of tenants who face problems getting their deposit returned.

"So, if you are renewing your tenancy or starting a new one, ask your landlord or agent which tenancy deposit protection scheme they are part of.

"However, deposits will only be protected if landlords have signed up to tenancy deposit protection, which they are required to do."