From 6th April 2007 onwards, under the United Kingdom Housing Act 2004, all landlords and agents were legally obligated to put the deposit, for an assured short hold tenancy in England or Wales, securely within a registered and government approved tenancy deposit scheme. Basically this means your landlord or agent doesn’t actually have your money, it is held in an objective place and is inaccessible to anyone until final agreement is made at the end of tenancy. While the money is in the TDS it acts as a financial safeguard in case any damage is caused to the property by the tenant. Sadly some landlords do take their time in returning the deposit to a tenant or even make deductions from the deposits that are unjustifiable and disputed by the tenant. By keeping the money in a TDS, this can be avoided.
When landlords and tenants disagree, it is common for disputes to be settled in court. This is expensive and takes a lot of time. The aim of the TDS is to reduce the amount this happens, making the resolution of disputes faster and cheaper for everyone involved.
A breakdown of how it works
When you sign a short hold agreement, you will normally pay a security deposit. Most of the time this is the equivalent of one month’s rent although this is up to the landlord. After this transaction has taken place, the landlord has 30 days in which to place the money safely in a TDS. They are legally required to provide you with all the details of this. At the end of tenancy if everyone is agreed and there is no dispute, the full amount will be refunded to you.
What happens if I disagree with my landlord about deductions from my deposit?
Two weeks after the end of tenancy, the landlord or tenant is able to start the process of making a claim if there is a dispute between parties. The first step here is to make a Statutory Declaration, available online. The dispute service will then contact all parties and refer you onwards to the next stage in making a claim.
General advice when entering the dispute process
Our general advice when you have decided to enter the claim making process would be to keep clear, evidenced copies of all correspondence, even noting times, dates and names of people you have had telephone conversations with. This is really important in evidencing your claim later on. It is also advisable to make sure you keep your cool at all times, becoming aggressive and threatening toward your landlord or agent is a sure way to escalate the dispute. Remain calm and communicative at all times to avoid this happening.
Often times these disputes can be avoided all together. Make sure you adhere to all the stipulations in your tenancy agreement, keep the property clean and in good working order, and rectify any damage made by the termination of your tenancy.
For more information visit the Piglord.