Landlords and Tenants Begin to Understand Deposit Protection

Landlords and tenants in the Private Rented Sector have become substantially more aware of Tenancy Deposit Protection during the summer months. Nearly two thirds of all landlords and approaching half of all tenants are now believed to understand the mandatory requirements to protect deposits and provide for dispute resolution. These requirements became law last April.

This improvement is demonstrated in results from separate surveys carried out among both letting agents and landlords during August and announced by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme today, Tuesday 18 September.

Letting agents believe there is still a long way to go to educate the private rented sector and that only two thirds of all landlords and less than half of all tenants understand it. Yet this is a substantial increase and it was gained during the holiday period. The agents survey showed that they believe that understanding among landlords rose from 54.5% to 63% and among tenants from a third to nearly a half.

The results from the survey of landlords were more optimistic, suggesting that 90% are now fully aware of their mandatory obligations. The improvement in the level of understanding comes at a time when rental demand is growing fast and before the start of a possible upsurge in those deposit disputes that would need Alternative Dispute Resolution. This increase may happen from next month, six months after deposit protection became mandatory and the first Assured Shorthold Tenancies it covers come to an end.

However, the growth in the volume may turn out to be more gradual. Explained Lawrence Greenberg, Chief Executive of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, "Although many tenancies are arranged for an initial six month period, industry figures show that the average length of tenancies is now 18 months. The outcome from this would be a more gradual build-up in demand for dispute resolutions."

To be ready to meet any peaks in demand, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme doubled the number of adjudicators from 24 to 49 and has instituted a six-monthly appraisal and recruitment programme.

Membership of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme includes regulated agents who are members of ARLA, the NAEA and RICS, members of other affiliated bodies and corporate landlords, notably in the student market.

The service offered by the Scheme includes Alternative Dispute Resolution, as required by government and is free to tenants.

The Scheme was started more than three years ago on a voluntary basis, before becoming one of the three government-authorised schemes. "This experience has enabled us to be ready to meet upsurges in the demand for dispute resolution, whenever they may arrive," added Lawrence Greenberg.

Full information for landlords, tenants and agents is available on www.tds.gb.com or 0845 226 7837.


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