Relaxing the rules at TDS

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Members of TDS will be aware that as of 1st April, the rules for how TDS operates have changed.

Don’t worry – it doesn’t mean big changes to the way you protect deposits, just make things easier! We had to make a couple of alterations to reflect our new government contract, so we thought this would be an ideal opportunity to include changes which members have suggested to us. We are trying to make the scheme more user friendly, more flexible, and let us take a more pragmatic approach to people’s individual circumstances – not just following rules for rules’ sake.

Here are the main changes which members should be aware of.

• Firstly, the clauses which we previously required for inclusion in tenancy agreements and terms of business have now become ‘suggested clauses’. Previously we could only adjudicate in a dispute if you included these in your documentation, but now we will consider each agreement on its own merits to decide if it is appropriate for use to handle the dispute.
If you are happy with the TDS clauses as they are, you don’t need to change anything at all. However if you choose to change the TDS clauses, make sure the agreements cover what the deposit can be used for and how it is going to be repaid.

• The 10 day time limit for telling a tenant if deductions are going to be made has been removed. We ask that you deal with end of tenancy matters as soon as is practicable and tell tenants promptly if deductions are being made. If it hasn’t been done within 10 days we will consider each case on its own merits to decide if the member has acted fairly rather than applying a fixed time limit.

• Letting agents who use the ‘Let Only’ option and for users of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme for Landlords no longer need to manually renew tenancies at the end of the fixed term. We will assume it is continuing on a statutory periodic basis and renew it automatically. This does not incur any extra charges. But remember! If there are any changes to the agreement it will be considered a new tenancy and as before, must be re-protected.

• As part of our new contract we are required by the government to use our best endeavours to notify tenants when deposit protection ends. Please be sure to include as many contact details for your tenants as possible, including an email address.

• For us to adjudicate in a dispute we must have consent from the tenant and if there are multiple tenants we need consent from at least one. If one of the tenants refuses consent for adjudication we cannot adjudicate.

• A small number of tenancies had still been allowed 6 months to raise a dispute. All disputes must now be raised within 3 months of the end of the tenancy.

On our website all of the rules, plus a summary of the changes are available. Please contact us on 0845 226 7837 if you have any questions.

Posted by Chris Kendall on 2 April 2013

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