3 April 2009
Mydeposits.co.uk, celebrating its second birthday, has revealed nine out of ten tenants get their money back in tenancy deposit dispute cases.
But it wasn’t always like this. Only a few years ago landlords could unfairly withhold their tenant’s deposits. Short of pursuing their landlord through the courts, a costly and time consuming process, there was little the tenant could do to get their money back.
In April 2007 tenancy deposit protection legislation was introduced to ensure landlords would not be able to keep deposits at the end of the tenancy without good reason. Two years on, it appears the legislation has provided a consumer victory for tenants. On the whole tenants’ deposits are no longer being unfairly withheld. And where they are, the law has teeth.
Figures from mydeposits.co.uk show 91 per cent of dispute cases settled by the scheme’s independent adjudication service found in favour of the tenant. The average amount in dispute was £733, which is significantly lower than the average deposit of £1,052.
In only nine per cent of cases landlords and letting agents were able to withhold the full deposit.
Eddie Hooker, Chief Executive, mydeposits.co.uk, said:
“Mydeposits.co.uk exists for tenants. We can now clearly see the protection laws are working. All cases are decided fairly using evidence presented by both parties.
“It is also important to remember that most deposits are handed back at the end of the tenancy without any problems. This is a clear signal that, for the most part, landlords and tenants make the right decisions with regards to deposits. In fact, out of the 335,000 deposits protected, only a tiny fraction (0.35 per cent) were independently adjudicated.”
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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 and letting agents 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.