Missing Protection for £1 Billion

Up to a million private sector tenants with combined deposits worth up to a £1 Billion are believed to be missing out on deposit protection. The number of tenants who are exposed is set to grow rapidly as the rental market
soars. The lack of protection leaves an average deposit of £1,000 for each tenancy unsecured and the tenant without free access to alternative dispute resolution should there be an argument at the end a tenancy.

Landlords are also exposed. They are liable to a potential penalty of three times the amount of the deposit for failing to ensure the tenancy in their property is registered.

Through a new website launched this week by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, tenants can help themselves to protect their interests by checking on line.

Landlords relying on lettings agents, particularly those who are unregulated, can do the same to ensure they avoid legal penalties.

To make these checks easy, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, the largest of the three authorised deposit protection schemes with nearly a million tenancies and 1.5 million tenants currently registered, has designed its website to be
the prime tool for registering and checking tenancies.

Launching the new website, Steve Harriott, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme’s Chief Executive, said, “There is a lot of money at stake for everyone. This website is the way forward for registering, checking and learning about deposit
protection. Once registered, the money is safe and there is free access for tenants to dispute resolution if it is needed.”

Tenants can now look up their own tenancy registration and view their Tenancy Certificate, which they should also have been given at the start. This has been redesigned too and navigation through the site, checking registration and all the
documentation is there in 14 different languages.

Tenancy Deposit Protection has been a legal requirement for the last four years for all Assured Shorthold Tenancies. These tenancies account for most rentals with a value of up to £100,000 a year.

According to the latest English Housing Survey Headline Report, the number of households renting privately rose by one million from 2.4 million in 2005/06 to 3.4 million in 2009/10, when the Private Rented Sector accounted for 15.6%, nearly one in six, of all households in England. The growth in renting is still accelerating.

Failure to register an Assured Shorthold Tenancy can cost the landlord the equivalent of three months deposit. At today’s rental values, this can mean that an average penalty of £3,000 is due to the tenant.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme website is on www.tenancydepositscheme.com

12th April 2011

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