The consumer group Which? have concluded the tenant deposit system is broken and is pushing tenants into debt. Renters can wait week for landlords to return money at the end of a tenancy: one in six tenants who moved out of a rented property in the last two years waited more than four weeks to get their deposit back. 43% of renters moving home had to borrow money to cover the cost.
More than half of tenants who did not get their money back challenged the deductions being made. The most common reason for landlords charging money at the end of a tenancy was cleaning. Eight in 10 of those people with these deductions felt the charge was unreasonable. Ten per cent said they were given no reason for the deductions. Only 33% of tenants who raised a dispute said they were satisfied with the deposit scheme.
Which? called on the government to open up a review of the three deposit adjudication schemes. Which? also recommends making all landlords register with local authorities and be on a publicly available database linked to the register of rogue landlords and agents which was set up in April this year. The Independent reports on the Which? view of the tenant deposit scheme and the government’s response to their recommendations.
Eddie Hooker, the CEO of mydeposits disagrees with Which?’s conclusions and feels tenancy deposit schemes have delivered a good service for the majority. He doesn’t believe that no deposit insurance alternatives would offer greater protection to tenants. Purchasing an insurance policy which reimburses a landlord for their losses, means that tenants will be liable to pay back the insurance company. Tenants could end up paying more as deposits are refundable but insurance premiums are not and the latter could end up costing a significant amount over a ten year period. He recognises that the system may need updating (e.g. for London rents) but doesn’t feel a major overhaul is necessary but rather than any changes should build on existing benefits such as the Alternative Dispute Resolution. Landlord Today reports on this response to Which?’s report on Tenancy Deposit Schemes in more detail.