22 January 2009
Mydeposits, a Government-authorised insurance-based tenancy deposit protection scheme, will not be following the decision by The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) to withdraw insurance protection for deposits held by 'unregulated' letting agents.
From 6 April 2009, TDS will no longer accept letting agent members that are not affiliated to a recognised professional body.* Existing agents that do not satisfy this basic membership criterion will have to seek alternative arrangements for all deposits requiring protection after this date.
Recent research undertaken by mydeposits has found there is no evidence to suggest tenants and landlords are more likely to experience deposit disputes by using an unaffiliated agent as opposed to an affiliated agent. Although 56 per cent of letting agent disputes come from unaffiliated letting agents, those agents affiliated to a professional body still account for a significant amount (44 per cent).
However, membership criteria and enforcement of the mydeposits Scheme Rules will be tightened to protect mydeposits and its users from the risk of letting agent insolvency in the wake of the recession.
Eddie Hooker, Chief Executive, mydeposits.co.uk, said:
"Our research shows that letting agent deposit disputes notified to mydeposits are from both members and non-members of recognised trade bodies in almost equal numbers. From a disputes perspective, unaffiliated agents do not represent a higher than normal risk.
"However, in this uncertain financial climate it makes sense to introduce more stringent financial checks on all our letting agent members, affiliated or otherwise, to ensure they adhere to our Scheme Rules and can provide evidence of robust and appropriate financial security."
Tenants who would like to check if their deposit is protected with mydeposits should go to: www.mydeposits.co.uk/tenants/tenant-isyourdepositprotected.htm
* The professional bodies are:
For further information and case studies of tenants, landlords and letting agents who have been using mydeposits.co.uk, please contact:
Tel: 020 7840 8906
Mob: 07508 031 084
Notes to editors:
Mydeposits is the trading name of Tenancy Deposit Solutions Limited, a company jointly owned by the National Landlords Association and HFIS plc T/A Hamilton Fraser Insurance (the Scheme Administrator) to deliver an insurance-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme under contract from Communities & Local Government. Landlords wishing to use this scheme are required to register with the Scheme Administrator. They can find out more and register by visiting www.mydeposits.co.uk. Registered members of the Scheme are able to protect and unprotect deposits at the beginning and end of tenancies. Fees are tax-deductible. In the event of a dispute at the end of the tenancy agreement, both parties are offered access to alternative dispute resolution (ADR). This procedure will be evidence-based, relying on documentation and records.
About Hamilton Fraser Insurance:
Hamilton Fraser Insurance is the trading name of HFIS plc, a long-established insurance broker, authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Hamilton Fraser provides insurance services to clients throughout the UK and is located in New Barnet, Hertfordshire. Hamilton Fraser is a major player in the highly specialised property insurance sector, and offers a tailored product to both residential landlords and managing agents. The NLA and Hamilton Fraser have a long-standing relationship, with Hamilton Fraser offering its range of Landlord Solutions insurance products to members of the NLA.
About the National Landlords Association:
The National Landlords Association (NLA) exists to protect and promote the interests of private residential landlords. With almost 20,000 individual landlords from around the United Kingdom and over 90 local authority associates, it provides a comprehensive range of benefits and services to its members and strives to raise standards in rented accommodation. The NLA seeks to safeguard landlords’ legitimate interests by making their collective voice heard by local and central government and the media. The NLA seeks a fair legislative and regulatory environment for the private-rented sector while aiming to ensure that landlords are aware of their statutory rights and responsibilities.