All deposits taken by landlords and letting agents for Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England and Wales must be protected by one of three tenancy deposit protection schemes.
The deposit schemes provide tenants with a degree of protection and enable them to get all or part of their deposit back when they are entitled to it. The presence of the schemes also encourages landlords and tenants to make a clear agreement at the start of a tenancy on the condition of the property, usually by way of a formal inventory. The schemes also provide a free dispute resolution service in the event that landlords and tenants cannot agree on how the deposit is to be repaid at the end of a tenancy.
There are two types of tenancy deposit protection schemes available for landlords and letting agents, and the government has awarded contracts to three companies to run schemes:
There is currently only one custodial scheme, and this is the scheme that Beresford Residential use to register tenancy deposits, where we are asked to do so on behalf of a landlord.
The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) is free to use and is open to all landlords and agents. The service is funded from the interest earned from deposits held in the scheme. Their contact number is 0844 4727 000.
There are two insurance-based schemes:
mydeposits is a partnership between the National Landlords Association and Hamilton Fraser Insurance. Their contact number is 0844 980 0290.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is run by The Dispute Service and builds on a scheme established in 2003 to provide dispute resolution and complaints handling for the lettings industry. Their contact number is 0845 226 7837.
It is only Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST's) that must be protected by law under one of the statutory Tenancy Deposit Protection schemes, which means that certain residential tenancies are not covered by the regulations. For example, if the tenancy is a 'Company Let' (where the tenant is a company) or if your landlord is also resident at the property, there is no obligation to register the tenancy deposit with a scheme.
In circumstances where there is no obligation to register the deposit with a deposit scheme, this will be noted in your tenancy agreement. At the end of the tenancy, if there are any disputes regarding the return of the deposit or any proposed deductions, the tenant would have to apply to the small claims court, as they are able to deal with disputes about deposits. The court procedure is straightforward, and you do not need a solicitor to bring an action in the small claims court.
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