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The most important thing of all to remember when it comes to deposits is that it is your money – every last penny of it. Which is why it is of such importance to ensure that your deposit is protected, which means making sure your landlord places it in an appropriate scheme. This must happen within 30 days of the deposit being given to the landlord, otherwise they may be liable for compensation payments to you worth one to three times the deposit’s total value.
There are currently three qualifying deposit protection schemes in the UK, which are as follows:
At the beginning of your tenancy, it is of the utmost importance to carry out a full UK flat inventory, as a means by which to establish the basis for the deposit you’ll be handing over. While it’s perfectly possible to pay a deposit by way of other items – jewellery, a car, personal belongings etc. – these cannot be protected by any of these schemes. It is therefore recommended that only cash be used when paying deposits.
At the end of your tenancy, you landlord has 10 days within which to return your deposit, after you have come to an agreement on how much will be returned. If you do not agree to any deductions the landlord proposes, you can dispute the arrangement and your deposit will remain protected by the chosen scheme until you come to an agreement.
It is a requirement for landlords to appropriately protect deposits, though research suggests this often isn’t the case. Chances are you won’t know for sure unless you carry out the required checks yourself, so it’s always worth doing exactly that. This can be done by contacting a TDP scheme directly and asking.
Deposit Protection Service (Custodial and Insured)
Telephone: 0330 303 0030
Telephone: 0844 980 0290
If it turns out that your deposit is not being protected, your landlord is in violation of their obligations and may be liable for compensation claims. Landlords who do not protect deposits also have restricted rights when it comes to tenant eviction. If your deposit is not protected, you are not provided with the information about the scheme being used or the deposit isn’t placed in an appropriate scheme within 30 days, you may be able to file a claim against you landlord. If your claim is upheld, you may receive a compensation payment of up to three times the full deposit amount.
When it has been established that your landlord is in any way breaching their obligations, you can either write to them directly to demand the situation be rectified, or take them to court. In most instances, court proceedings involving deposits are relatively straightforward and the claimant may not be required to make an appearance in court at all.
If you’re a landlord or agent looking to remove the hassle from the inventory process, find out how No Letting Go can help you here.
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