This week on #ExpertView, Eamonn Hunt, operations manager at TDS Northern Ireland, takes us on the journey of the firm from its inception to the market-leader in five years.

At the end of April, TDS Northern Ireland (TDSNI) was named as the best Deposit Protection Scheme in the whole of the UK for the third time. Coincidentally, the award came at the same time TDSNI celebrated its fifth birthday.

Since taking its first deposit in April 2013, TDSNI has grown to become an industry leader, responsible for protecting over 80% of all tenancy deposits in Northern Ireland.

The scheme was originally conceived in 2012 when the Northern Irish Assembly decided to follow the model of tenancy deposit protection that England and Wales introduced in 2007. Backed by the Department for Social Development (now Communities), TDSNI started operations in April 2013.

In half a decade, TDSNI has protected over 93,300 deposits, worth over £56 million. It currently protectsaround £25 million between its Custodial and Insured Schemes. Like TDS in England and Wales, TDSNI also provides free dispute resolution services if an agreement between landlords/agents and tenants cannot be reached.

When tenancy deposit protection was first introduced, there was an initial reluctance, reticence and suspicion among landlords and agents. There was a lack of knowledge in the beginning but over the years, we’ve worked closely with various stakeholders to educate Northern Ireland’s Private Rented Sector (PRS) on its legal obligations with tenants’ deposits.

Education is a fundamental part of what we do to ensure that everyone involved in the PRS knows what their rights and responsibilities are, creating successful tenancies and minimising deposit disputes

The way that the scheme operates has also gone through some pretty significant changes in the last half-decade. We’ve moved from managing vast quantities of paperwork around lodging deposits and dispute resolution, to a primarily online process.

Our ability to adapt to changes in the industry is one of the reasons why TDSNI has asserted itself as the leader in the market. Having a local presence with local knowledge also sets us apart from the other schemes.

Our team has a great depth and breadth of experience working as agents, or in other roles in the industry. We also have great relationships with the bodies that we partner with, who provide insight and advice on specific industry matters across Northern Ireland.

Knowing the challenges that local property professionals and tenants face allows us to provide excellent customer service, which we’ve been recognised for at UK-national awards like the ESTAS.

Although we’re in a healthy place in terms of our share of the market, there are considerable challenges facing the sector over the next five years.

For example, proposed legislative changes in Northern Ireland making deposit protection retrospective would also have a huge impact on the industry.  If passed, it will mean a huge rise in the numbers of deposits requiring protection, which provides both a practical challenge, but also significant opportunity for growth.

The road ahead might sometimes be difficult, but the future for TDSNI certainly looks bright.

About the author

Eamonn headshot

Eamonn has over 13 years in estate agency experience dealing with residential lettings, sales, and management. He joined TDS Northern Ireland in April 2013 with the scope to promote and provide a leading tenancy deposit protection scheme.

Based in the Belfast office, Eamonn provides a direct contact point for customers.

About TDS Northern Ireland

Tenancy Deposit Scheme Northern Ireland (TDSNI) is the only Assembly-approved, not-for-profit provider of Insured and Custodial tenancy deposit protection based in Northern Ireland. We protect over £25million in deposits across the country and offer a free dispute resolution service to help resolve disputes that may arise between landlords, agents and tenants; via an impartial adjudicator.

Find out more about TDS Northern Ireland here.

About TDS

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also 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 Insured Scheme: where a TDS member can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy.

TDS Custodial Scheme: where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.

TDS Academy: TDS provides property professionals with invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and tenancy deposit disputes.

TDS Northern Ireland: TDS is Northern Ireland’s leading and only not for profit tenancy deposit protection scheme.

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.

ARLA|Propertymark: For agents who would like to stay up to date, you can contact Propertymark | ARLA at: By being a member of Propertymark | ARLA you will be eligible for TDS Insured best headline rates.

RLA: If you are a landlord and would like to keep up to date with any changes that may affect you or your responsibilities, you can contact the RLA at: and quote reference: dg715 to receive 25% off your first year’s membership.

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