Covid-19 has brought with it much stress and confusion for tenants in private rented properties, and it can be difficult to know where to look for answers.
To help, leading tenancy deposit protection service, Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), has created a dedicated online resource that answers the most frequently asked questions about Covid-19 surrounding tenancy deposits, check-in processes and property inspections (at the end of tenancy) to name a few.
Whilst many of the questions on the Covid-19 FAQ page are asked by landlords and letting agents, the advice is still relevant and informative for tenants at each stage of tenancy. TDS is urging concerned tenants to visit the page regularly to learn more about how landlords are being advised to carry out remote check-outs and when to return deposits during lockdown, in the event that a check-out inspection cannot be carried out at the property.
Using a deposit to pay for rent
One popular query featured on the page from tenants is whether they can use their deposit to pay rent, during the tenancy, if they are experiencing financial difficulties.
Tenancy deposit protection legislation clearly prohibits the use of the deposit for any other time other than at the end of tenancy. This means that, while the tenancy is still ongoing, the landlord is not allowed to use the deposit for unpaid rent – they can only use it after the tenancy has ended if there are rent arrears. You can read more about tenancy deposit protection law on the TDS website.
TDS recommends that you discuss your difficulties with your landlord with a view to arranging a payment plan, which will be at the landlord’s discretion.
Regular tenant/landlord email communication is essential
As a tenant, regular communication with your landlord or agent is key. We recommend you do this by email where possible, as this will serve as a record later on should any dispute arise. You will notice on the Covid-19 FAQ page that landlords and agents are also being encouraged to document every decision, action and interaction between all parties for the same reason.
If you are moving out of the property and are concerned that your deposit release will be delayed due to your landlord not being able to carry out a final property inspection, you will find the answer to this and more on the TDS Covid-19 FAQ page, too.
As with all information during the pandemic, advice is changing on an almost daily basis. Please re-visit the website regularly as answers may change in response to new government guidance.
Click here to take a look at the TDS Covid-19 FAQ page.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.
We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.
TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.
These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.