The new University term is upon us once again, and anxious parents will be sending their teenagers off into the big wide world.
The majority of students will move into halls of residence: other students will take out a short or long term tenancy with a private landlord. It is highly likely that the majority of these students will have always lived at home, so it is daunting having to be self-sufficient, and the idea of renting will be new and a shock to the system! They won’t know about the issues surrounding security of tenure and will almost certainly have no idea about how their rental deposits can be protected. So, Harold Stock has put together a brief guide about renting a property and has outlined the legislature relating to tenancy deposit protection schemes.
When renting a property from a private landlord you are required to pay a security deposit upfront, this is usually one month’s rent. This deposit will be retained by the landlord until the end of the tenancy agreement. In the majority of cases, if you look after the property the landlord will return the deposit without any problems when you leave the property. However, sometimes there are times when things don’t quite go to plan. The landlord might try to retain some of the money to pay for the damage to the property, unpaid bills or even unpaid rent. Disputes about rental deposits used to have to be resolved by the courts until not that long ago. However, this was a long-drawn-out business, and it often disheartened tenants from pursuing their claim for the return of their deposit.
In 6 April, 2007 a new scheme was introduced, this scheme came into force under the provisions of the 2004 Housing Act. It introduced new rules about tenancy deposits and how they were to be dealt with. The aim of the scheme was for both tenants and landlords to have transparency, fairness and the protection. The new procedures meant that the agents or landlords upon receiving the deposit money, after agreeing to let property on new assured shorthold tenancies, had to deposit this money into an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. These rules also applied to all fixed term lettings that were renewed after 6 April, 2007.
What are the types of Tenancy Deposit Schemes?
“My deposit” and the “Dispute Service Limited”
These are both insurance-based tenancy deposit protection schemes. The tenant pays the landlord the deposit, and the landlord retains this deposit, but takes out an insurance policy on the new tenancy agreement. If the landlord declines to return the deposit at the end of the tenancy, the tenant can make a claim for the return of the deposit using the insurance scheme. The companies will then investigate the claim, and liaise with both parties to gather any necessary evidence, after looking at the evidence will then decide who is owed the money. You must acknowledge that landlords or agents will have to pay a fee to be part of these schemes, this may mean that some of these charges may be transferred to the tenant.
Deposit Protection Service.
The Deposit Protection Service is better known as a safeguarding scheme. Tenants give a deposit to the landlord at the commencement of the tenancy, and the landlord pays this money into the scheme. The money stays in an account by the scheme until the tenant leaves the property at the end of the tenancy agreement. The deposit is returned automatically, unless the landlord objects after you’ve left or tells the scheme that the tenant owes him or her money. The scheme administrator will then decide who will get the money back.
It’s the landlord s preference as to which scheme they chose to use, but the reassurance lies in the fact that all the schemes operate under an agreed set of rules that the landlord must follow. It’s mandatory that the landlord to makes sure that the tenant has all the relevant details about the scheme, including telephone numbers and other relevant information. Upon signing the tenancy agreement and paying the deposit, the tenant should be issued with a reference number so they can check their details with one of these schemes. The landlord is legally obligated to complete the registration with the scheme within 14 days of receipt of the deposit. If the landlord fails to comply and doesn’t provide the tenant with the documentation and reference number they need about the scheme, then the landlord has failed to adhere to the regulations and is open to the tenant taking legal action against them.
Using a form N208 , the tenant can bring this to a county court, asking for appropriate action; in other words, that either the deposit is returned or that it is placed in a scheme. There is, however, a fee charged to make an application, so it is worth getting advice from a solicitor before making an application. Harold Stock & Co would be able to tell the tenant whether their income means they qualify for help with paying the court fees.
To obtain further advice Contact Harold Stock and Co.
55-57 Stamford Street,
Tameside, OL5 0LN.
Telephone Number: 01457 835597 / 01457 835034.
Fax: 01457 837410.