Mydeposits CEO Eddie Hooker was recently interviewed on The Tenants Voice and with roughly 3,500,000 deposits currently protected within the UK, he offered some invaluable advice to tenants on what happens to their deposit and ensure that it is protected throughout a tenancy.
What does protecting a deposit in a government authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme entail?
“This important piece of legislation was introduced in 2007 for the benefit of the tenant. When a deposit is paid to a landlord or a letting agency, three things must happen.
->The deposit must be protected in a government authorised scheme.
->The Prescribed Information has to be provided to the tenant
->If there’s a problem at the end of the tenancy with the return of the deposit then the scheme can step in and deal with any disputes.
Make sure that you ask for the Prescribed Information because if something goes wrong at the end of the tenancy, it will tell you where the deposit is protected, who to call and what to do. It’s crucial that the tenant asks for it and the landlord provides it.”
How long will it take a tenant to get their deposit back at the end of a tenancy?
“The law says that you have to wait 10 days after the tenancy has ended. Within that period, the tenant should be in regular contact with their landlord or letting agent asking for the deposit back and understanding if there will be any deductions. After those 10 days, tenants can then contact their tenancy deposit scheme for them to intervene. The important thing is to remember to ask for your deposit back.”
Is it the same for student renters?
“There are certain things that are excluded from the legislation such as halls of residence and lodgers, but the important thing for students to understand is that with most students sharing, tenancy agreements in this instance are joint and several. This means that you are all responsible for things like the rent, the deposit, maintenance and repairs. Even if one of those sharers walks out or refuses to pay, you are still responsible. So make sure that you read the tenancy agreement and that everyone understands the commitment that they are entering into.”
Should a tenant ever withhold their rent?
“My advice would be no, as tenancy deposit schemes in the main won’t deal with a dispute where a tenant has withheld rent. If the tenant understands their obligations with regards to the tenancy agreement and the landlord or letting agent understands theirs, then there should be no reason to withhold rent. Tenants should always talk to their landlord if there’s a problem such as there not being any heating in the property or mould building. If the issue still isn’t resolved, then seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau but keep paying the rent because the moment you stop that rent, the tenant is in breach of their obligations.”