If the amount to be returned under a tenancy deposit is in dispute, the government-backed tenancy deposit scheme will protect the deposit until the issues are settled.
Provided tenants have met the terms of the tenancy agreement, have not damaged the property and have paid the rent and bills they will usually be entitled to the return of the deposit in full.
Disagreements over cleaning are the source of over half of all tenancy dispute disputes. Most of the others relate to damage but disputes over redecoration, gardening and rent arrears are common.
All tenancy deposit schemes provide a free dispute resolution service. The service is informal and both the tenant and the landlord submit their side of the story and provide evidence usually via email. Within 10 days an impartial adjudicator sends a report to both parties along with an allocation of the deposit that the adjudicator deems appropriate.
TDS, one of the three government backed tenancy deposit schemes, is the only one that entertains disputes raised by the landlord, tenant or the letting agency; the other schemes only accept submissions from the tenant. According to TDS’s latest figures 58% of disputes are raised by tenants, 30% by agents, and 12% by landlords.
The dispute resolution service ends up returning an almost equal amount to landlords as to tenants. In the majority of disputed cases, the deposit is shared between the landlord and the tenant, an indicator perhaps of the unbiased service the tenancy deposit schemes provide.
Failing to comply with the scheme
Failure to deal with the deposit as laid down in statute can have draconian consequences for a landlord: who may be liable to a claim by the tenant for the return of the deposit and a penalty of up to three times the amount of the deposit. A landlord may be unable to obtain possession of the property notwithstanding that in all other respects he has complied with statutory procedures.
If you need legal advice about these issues or landlord and tenant law generally please contact Tony Irving in Watford on 01923 650850 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can help you.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.