When renting a house, a landlord will often ask for a deposit in order to protect their property from damage. That way, if you were to damage anything and they have to pay for repairs, they’ve got it covered.
Often it is the same amount as a month's rent or even a little higher. It’s normal to ask for a deposit, which is simply designed to work if you incur any breakages or damage within the property which you then might not be able to pay for at a later date.
Since April 2007 though, new legislation has been introduced to ensure that deposits are always protected as so many were unfairly taken by landlords. Sadly, some landlords will try and claim back more than is fair, and without the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, tenants have no leg to stand on.
What is a tenancy deposit protection scheme?
Lots of people argue that there are dodgy landlords out there, that a deposit is simply another way landlords can get their hands on your hard earned cash. However, although there may be some landlords who cause problems and give landlords a bad name, the majority just want an easy life and will stick to the rules. Unfortunately, you never really know whether your landlord will try and squeeze money out of you when you move out, so it’s best to protect yourself.
This is why a deposit protection scheme has been created. It ensures that the landlord and you have an agreement where they cannot just take your money and walk away with it. There’s a few organisations that provide protection including the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and the Deposit Protection Service. Deposits are held by these companies throughout your stay at the rented property and are often repaid within 2 days once both landlord and tenant have agreed on the amount. If your landlord is a bit slow to agree to an amount then it can take a little longer to get your deposit back. The best thing though is that this service is free, and it provides peace of mind.
If you feel that your landlord has unfairly claimed damages, you can put in an appeal to the TDS scheme. This will delay you getting your deposit back, because you have to wait for them to review your case and send evidence, but it’s worth it, because you could end up getting the right amount of money back.
Why should you should have a tenancy and deposit protection scheme?
Lots of people who have rented, and not used a tenancy and deposit protection scheme will tell you that they have had problems with their deposit. Without this scheme, you could end up unfairly losing a huge chunk, and possibly all of your deposit, and no one to defend you.
This is a Government run scheme, certified by the Department for Communities and Local Government. It will help to ensure the deposit is reviewed in a fair way to make sure both sides are considered fairly (from the landlords and yours). This is done through the DPS providing a free Alternative Dispute Resolution service where arguments between the landlord and tenant about the deposit can be fairly resolved.
How does it work?
You sign up online through using your deposit ID number and the landlord signs up too through their online accounts. The landlord should give you this ID number and you can always ask for one if not, sometimes landlords can be forgetful! Or it could be that they do not know and so you can spur them into action as the scheme protects both the tenant and the landlord.