Expert offers deposit advice
21st Sep 2011
Perhaps the most common issue that arises between extents and landlords is the return of the rental deposit when the tenancy comes to an end.
In many cases, the correct procedure for safeguarding the deposit has not been followed, so one expert has issued advice to ensure that tenants know how and where their money should be kept.
John Gallagher, principal solicitor at Shelter, said in a "significant minority" of cases, people either fail to have their deposits protected or the landlord did not notify them or give them necessary information as to where the deposit was protected.
This leads to the suspicion that it was not protected at all, when really what should happen is that that the landlord should protect the deposit within at least 14 days of receiving it.
Under this arrangement – known as a custodial scheme – the deposit itself is kept by the scheme, while there are also two insurance arrangements whereby the landlord pays a premium and the scheme ensures the safe custody of the deposit.
"I'm afraid the kind of disputes we normally see are where the landlord hasn't protected at all, or possibly has protected with one of the insurance schemes but hasn't paid the premium when the tenancy comes to be renewed," Mr Gallagher explained.
He added that this is often only discovered when it comes to the end of the tenancy and that is where the problem comes into place as, once the tenancy has ended, there is no penalty for the landlord not protecting the deposit.
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