Reports of a rise in bad landlords along with soaring rental demand and the return of buy-to-let investors have all led the Tenancy Deposit Scheme to remind tenants to be careful and protect themselves. Asking for evidence of tenancy deposit protection is a first line of defence against rogue landlords and cowboy agents.
Tenancy deposit protection has been mandatory for over four years, since April 2007, and while a high proportion of tenants are protected through one of the three authorised deposit protection schemes, some may not be.
According to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, tenants using regulated agents or whose landlords are members of landlords organisations will most probably have their tenancies registered and their deposits protected. It is easy to check and a registered deposit can be seen as a first line of defence for a satisfactory tenancy.
“If tenants cannot get evidence that their tenancy is protected, they should seek advice from us, a lawyer or a housing advice centre. Failing to protect a deposit is a serious matter and one where the courts can award a penalty of up to three times the deposit value,” warned Steve Harriott, Chief Executive of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
“The landlord or letting agent who provides tenants with the details of tenancy deposit protection at the outset is most likely to be conducting the business of letting in an ethical and professional manner,” added Harriott. “Registration is easy to check and should be a first priority for all tenants.”
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme currently has around one million tenancies registered, protecting more than £1 billion in deposits.
Last month there were more than a million visits to the TDS website, www.tds.gb.com. For more information, call your local Mullucks Wells office or visit the TDS website.