Tenants’ Deposits – the regulations
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
The Tenants in the private sector give their Landlords a deposit against possible non-payment of rent or damage to property. When a Tenancy comes to an end the deposit has to be returned to the Tenants. Sometimes there is disagreement between Tenants and Landlord if the deposit (all or only part of it) to be returned or kept by the Landlord to cover him for unpaid rent and damages to the property.
As of 6th April 2007 the Housing Act requires all deposits for Assured Shorthold Tenancies to be registered and covered by a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. The schemes guarantee that Tenants will get their deposits back at the end of the tenancy, if they meet the terms of the tenancy agreement and do not damage the property.
The 3 approved by the government schemes are:
Deposit Protection Service (DPS) (www.depositprotection.com)
My Deposits (www.mydeposits.co.uk)
Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) (www.tds.gb.com)
Within 14 days of receiving the deposits, all Landlords must give their Tenants the name and contact details of the Scheme where they put the deposit together with information how to apply for the deposit release at the end of the tenancy. If the Tenants believe their deposit is not being protected in a scheme, they can apply to the County Court.
At the end of the tenancy if there is a dispute on how the deposit should be divided the Scheme will hold the deposit until the dispute resolution service or courts decide what is fair. Before reaching a judgment the Adjudicators will review all documents (check in report, inventory, check out report, receipts for new furniture, new carpet, professional cleaning, maintenance etc). It is therefore vital that all evidence is full, detailed, unbiased and preferably independent.