Emily Shipp, Campaigns Officer at Shelter, tells us about their latest drive to raise awareness of TDP
Make sure you’re in the know when it comes to tenancy deposits.
No one likes dealing with complaints, but more tenants than ever are complaining about problems with their deposits. Calls to Shelter’s housing helpline have shot up by over 80% in the last two years and now account for one in every twenty calls.
It’s understandable perhaps when you consider that the average deposit on a privately rented home is now £979 (DCLG figures). At a time when more people than ever are struggling to make ends meet this is a lot of money to put at risk.
Disputes over deposits at the end of a tenancy can be an ordeal for both landlords and tenants. However, deposit protection schemes, such as my|deposits, can help resolve such disagreements, improving landlord and tenant relationships and raising professional standards in the private rented sector.
All well and good, except that a study* by the my|deposits found that 30 per cent of tenants in England and Wales are not aware of Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) legislation. In addition, just over half (51 per cent) of tenants surveyed say they were provided with details of the TDP scheme by their landlord or agent.
Recently Shelter successfully campaigned to tighten up tenancy deposit legislation to provide greater protection for renters and more workable regulations for landlords. The period for landlords to protect deposits has now been increased from just 14 days to 30, making this more manageable. The penalties remain though, and landlords who don’t protect the deposit within the 30 days could face charges of up to three times the value of the deposit.
Shelter has launched a new campaign to make tenants aware of their rights to have their deposit protected, complete with a deposit checker to find out whether their deposit is safe. Most landlords do the right thing, so make sure you protect your tenant’s deposit. Don’t get caught out. For more information, check out Shelter’s advice pages
Landlords can find more information on deposit protection at http://england.shelter.org.uk/campaigns/deposit_protection
*1636 tenants surveyed during April and May 2012