CGU has launched a scheme backed by the Government to protect tenants' deposits.

It offers two different methods of protection. The first option a small premium is paid by the landlord to protect deposits on behalf of their tenants. An independent ombudsman is appointed if a dispute arises over the return of a deposit before payment.

Or the money can be put in a special Nationwide Building Society account and can only be withdrawn when the landlord and tenant agree.

Five areas have been chosen to pilot the scheme – the London Boroughs Brent and Camden, Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Merseyside and Norwich.

The scheme will be piloted for two years when it will be reviewed by the Government to see if it should run on a national level.