Low Dispute Rates Over Tenancy Deposits Encouraging, Says TDS

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) has welcomed the fact that the first year of mandatory tenancy deposit protection has produced a lower than expected dispute rate. As of 1st June, under 2% of tenancies registered with it have ended with a dispute over the deposit.

With the average length of tenancies running at nearly 18 months, it has not been possible until now to attempt an accurate assessment of dispute levels or a forecast for the whole of 2008. Dispute volumes for this year are currently projected at about 6,000.

Commented Lawrence Greenberg, Chief Executive of the Scheme, “A dispute rate at only 2% is very encouraging as it suggests that agents, landlords and tenants are getting to grips with deposit protection and all that it entails. With this new understanding they are more inclined to honour the tenancy agreements they have made.”

As of 1st June, tenancies housing 858,244 tenants with 409,215 landlords were registered with the Scheme. The value of the deposits protected was £546,669,638.95p. The number of tenancies ending with a dispute was 1,043 and the average resolution time was 28 days. Deposits due are paid out within 5 – 10 working days.

Admitted Lawrence Greenberg, “There is still a long way to go to ensure that everyone concerned understands the detail of the mandatory requirements for tenancy deposit protection under the Housing Act 2004. But the pattern of disputes is now well established, with cleaning being by far the largest element.

We feel it would be helpful to those involved, and perhaps reduce the number of disputes still further, if we were to produce guidelines on the cost of cleaning. We shall be consulting agents around the country to this end,”

Membership of TDS, one of the three schemes authorised by the government, is primarily for letting agents and corporate landlords, although other private landlords are also able to join. Currently 4,765 lettings agents’ offices are in the scheme.

TDS is run by The Dispute Service Ltd. The Dispute Service, a not-for-profit organisation, also runs the complaints scheme for ARLA to deal with any complaints against its members, and a similar scheme for those members of the OEA, the Ombudsman for Estate Agents, who undertake lettings.

10 June 2008

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