Government awards contracts to three companies to run tenancy deposit protection schemes

Government awards contracts to three companies to run tenancy deposit protection schemes

The Government has awarded contracts to three companies to run tenancy deposit protection schemes from 6 April 2007.

Computershare Investor Services plc will run the single custodial deposit scheme, with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators providing the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service.

The Dispute Service Limited will run an insurance-based scheme directed primarily at letting agents. It will also run the scheme's ADR service.

Tenancy Deposit Solutions Limited will run an insurance-based scheme, sponsored by the National Landlords Association and administered by Hamilton Fraser Insurance, which will be directed primarily at landlords. The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators will be the principal provider of ADR to the scheme.

Housing Minister Baroness Andrews said tenancy deposit schemes would help put an end to unfairly withheld deposits.

"Tenancy Deposit Protection is a key consumer-protection measure, which will also introduce a simpler way of resolving deposit disputes and help raise standards in the private rented sector. But importantly under the new schemes, alternative dispute resolution services with be free to use for both landlord and tenant for the first time."

Computershare's Director of Corporate Development, Nick Oldfield said:

"We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to run the custodial deposit scheme. Our unrivalled experience in delivering major projects, including the delivery of the Australian State of Victoria's custodial tenancy deposit scheme for the past eight years, means we are uniquely placed to execute this project."

Chief Executive of The Dispute Service Ltd, Lawrence Greenberg said:

"It is very satisfying to know we will be able to help underpin higher standards and greater professionalism throughout the private rented sector. This is a great step forward."

Chairman of the National Landlords Association, David Salisbury said:

"The award of this important government contract is a major step forward for the NLA. Sponsoring this scheme fits very well with the NLA's goals of fostering a more professional private-rented sector, and of supporting landlords' interests while ensuring that tenants are treated in a fair and equitable manner. We hope all those involved in the market will welcome this development as a positive contribution to the well-being of the private-rented sector".

The private rented sector involves some £1.2bn of assured short hold tenancy deposits currently held in England and Wales.

Further details of the schemes will be available from the providers in late January 2007, explaining exactly how their schemes will operate, and how landlords can register to join their schemes to protect deposits.

Notes to editors
1. Statutory tenancy deposit schemes will apply to all assured short hold tenancies, where a deposit is taken after April 6 2007, in England and Wales. They do not apply in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

2. There are two types of scheme: a single custodial scheme (where deposits will be paid into and held in a separate account managed by the scheme); and one or more insurance-based schemes where the landlord or agent will hold the deposit and any failure on his/her part to repay it to the tenant will be covered by the scheme's insurance arrangements.

3. The custodial scheme run by Computershare Investor Services will be free to use for tenants and landlords. The scheme will be funded by the surplus from interest generated on the pool of deposits, with interest also being paid to tenants.

4. The two insurance-based schemes, run by The Dispute Service Ltd and the National Landlords Association, will be funded through a fee paid by landlords or agents (the fee level should be known in early 2007). The service will be free to tenants.

5. All three schemes will offer alternative dispute resolution services which will be free to use (for both landlord and tenant).

6. Computershare (ASX:CPU) is a global leader in share registration, employee equity plans, proxy solicitation and other specialised financial and communication services. Many of the world's largest companies employ Computershare's innovative solutions to maximise the value of their relationships with investors, employees, customers and members. Computershare has approximately 10,000 employees across the world and serves 14,000 corporations and 90 million shareholders and employee accounts in 21 countries across five continents. Computershare has administered a custodial tenancy deposit scheme in the Australian State of Victoria for the past eight years. For more information on Computershare, visit www.computershare.com

7. The Dispute Service Ltd was established in 2003 to provide dispute resolution and complaints handling services to the lettings industry. It is backed by the three professional bodies that are active in the private rented sector: the Association of Residential Letting Agents, the National Association of Estate Agents and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. It handles complaints for ARLA and NAEA as well as currently running the voluntary Tenancy Deposit Scheme for Regulated Agents for some 2,000 self-regulated lettings offices. For more information visit: www.tds.gb.com

8. The National Landlords Association is the UK's largest private rented sector landlord association and has members across the United Kingdom. It protects and promotes the interest of private residential landlords and represents their views to government, local authorities and the media. The NLA seeks a fair legislative and regulatory environment for the private-rented sector while aiming to ensure that landlords are aware of their statutory rights and responsibilities. It campaigns to raise standards in the private rented sector whilst fostering a professional and amicable relationship between landlord and tenant. Hamilton Fraser Insurance is a trading name of HFIS plc, an established insurance broker that is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Hamilton Fraser is a major player in the specialised Property Insurance Sector and provides insurance services to clients throughout the UK, including through their tailored product, branded as "Landlord Solutions", a premier insurance product for residential landlords and managing agents. For more information visit: www.mydeposits.co.uk.

9. 6 April 2007 is one of two common commencement dates in 2007 for the commencement of legislation which affects the business community.


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