What do you need to know about deposit schemes?

TENANT FEE BAN UPDATE: With the Tenant Fee Ban coming into force in just 9 days, we thought it would be useful to provide an update regarding the new rules on deposits and charges for new tenancies.

Everything Landlords and Tenants need to know about the act which becomes law on 1st June 2019 can be found here https://blog.openrent.co.uk/tenant-fees-ban-what-landlords-need-to-know/

There is also a handy deposit calculator so you can check what deposit you can request at the start of a new tenancy https://blog.openrent.co.uk/maximum-tenancy-deposit-the-new-rules-and-how-to-calculate-5-weeks-rent/

For landlords, it has never been more crucial to ensure that you have independent professional inventory, check-in and check-out reports to protect your investment, as under the new Tenant Fee Ban rules, there are caps on holding deposits which could prove troublesome in covering costs for any damage at the end of a tenancy.

David Cox, Chief Executive at Property Mark summarised this in a recent statement:   

“The sector must not underestimate the importance of a thorough inventory. They provide certainty for all involved, add clarity at the end of a tenancy, and help resolve disputes. In the new world after the tenant fees ban comes in agents will need to take an evidence-based approach to default fees, damages and disputes. Only by ensuring that an inventory took place can agents protect their clients’ investments and reduce costs in the long-run.”  

For the full Tenant Fees Act 2019 visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/tenant-fees-act

or book your invaluable inventory services today.

Deposit schemes have now been with us for 11 years but are any of us really any the wiser as to how it all works and what the real facts are? The answer is…possibly not! So, we are pleased to bring you some useful snippets that will stop that wandering grey matter wondering any further.

How many schemes are there?
Many, however there only 3 that are bound by law, so our advice; stick like sand does to wet toes to one of those schemes.

How long does a landlord have to lodge a deposit?
30 days after receipt, and they have to give the tenants details of that scheme within the same time frame.

What is the penalty if a deposit is not protected?
A landlord could be liable to pay between 1 and 3 times the deposit amount to the tenant and also be ordered to return the deposit.

How long does a landlord have to return a deposit?
Ten days, after an amount for deduction has been agreed between both parties

How do you get a deposit back?
After the check out, write to your landlord to request the return of your deposit. A landlord then has ten days to advise of deductions and return the remainder.

What if a landlord and tenant disagree on deductions?
The non-disputed amount should be released to the tenant and the dispute amount logged with the deposit scheme and as much evidence as possible provided to them to support you cause.

How long will the deposit scheme take to make a decision?
They generally state they will review and respond to disputes within 28 days?

What if I don’t agree with the deposit schemes decision?
Their decision is final, but if you wish to pursue further you will have to go through the small claims court.

Can a landlord claim for more than the deposit amount?
It is not usually done but can be. However, a landlord would have to seek these monies through the small claims court as the deposit schemes cannot award over the amount of the deposit.

What is wear and tear?
It is the normal deterioration of a property through the passage of time. A landlord is responsible for general maintenance of the property and its structure but a tenant is expected to keep the property in decent repair and would be liable for any actual damage.

Can a landlord make deductions without a check-in and check-out?
Highly unlikely, the schemes require proper and thorough evidence and a large part of this is a detailed check-in inventory and a subsequent check-out. If it can’t be proven it can’t be claimed for.

We hope you’ve found this useful. If you have any comments or questions or if you are interested in using our inventory services then we would love to hear from you.