Are the Tenancy Deposit Bodies Biased Toward Tenants?

by Frazer Fearnhead

14:59 PM, 3rd June 2011
About 9 years ago

Are the Tenancy Deposit Bodies Biased Toward Tenants?

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Are the Tenancy Deposit Bodies Biased Toward Tenants?

Why the legislation was introduced-

According to the last Labour government, a significant number of landlords were abusing their position and holding on to deposit money that rightfully should have been returned to the tenant at the end of the tenancy.

To address the position, in 2007 they introduced the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme to protect tenants from the unethical landlords and letting agents who were unfairly withholding the return of deposit monies from the tenant.

The Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme means that, where property is let, the deposit must be controlled by an independent third party rather than the landlord/agent. That third party returns the deposit to the tenant at the end of the tenancy unless the Landlord can show that there are reasons to withhold repayment (e.g. for damages or cleaning).

The government awarded contracts to three companies to run Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme, The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS), MyDeposits and The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS))

Tenant Bias?

These bodies have developed a (somewhat unfair) reputation with landlords for being biased towards tenants. This has been further reinforced by the statistics released last year which show that 92% of cases have been found in favour of tenants and that landlords lost over £12M – and that’s just in the cases that actually went all the way to adjudication.

However, in defence of the deposit bodies, they are not biased in favour of the tenant. Their attitude is simply that the deposit money rightfully belongs to the tenant unless the landlord can prove that there is a justifiable reason for keeping it. To prove it the landlord must have strong evidence – and that means a thorough inventory detailing the property, its contents and their condition at the start of the tenancy and a comparative check out report at the end highlighting the differences in condition.

Good landlords have always conducted inventories on their properties – albeit fairly basic ones in most cases. But a simple checklist of contents is no longer sufficient. The burden of proof lies squarely with the landlord and the corroborative evidence must be watertight.

Without strong evidence clearly detailing the disparity of cleanliness or condition, the adjudicators will indeed find in favour of the tenant.

It is therefore essential for the landlord to have a professional (and independent) inventory, backed up by visual evidence, such as “before and after” photographs of the damaged/ dirty item. However, the problem with photographs is that you need thousands of them to cover all the possible areas that might be damaged. It is for this reason we chose to use high definition video to support our inventories as a half hour video recording can amass evidence equivalent to tens of thousands of still photographs.

Of course landlords are being hit from all sides by charges but when you consider (ignoring any serious damage that may be caused) even the cost of a professional clean will exceed £100 …and the fact that you have no chance of claiming that money from the tenant without a proper inventory, a reasonably priced video inventory is something every prudent landlord should order each time he lets a property.

For more information about The Video Inventory Agency visit www.videoinventoryagency.co.uk or call 0845 230 5197.


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8:21 AM, 9th June 2011
About 9 years ago

There is another big issue surrounding the tenancy deposit scheme that requires investigation and that is the millions of pounds that the custodial deposit scheme is earning in interest. One of the arguments for introducing the tenancy deposit scheme was that landlords were using deposits as working capital. How ironic (or should that be hypocritical) that at least one of the private companies set up to independantly hold tenant deposits now does exactly the same thing; Uses deposits as working capital to generate money. And we're not talking peanuts. It really is millions of pounds of proift being made. An inside source was bragging to me about how much money they were making. What's more, unscrupulous landlords aren't going to sign up to a scheme anyway. So those landlords the TDS was set up to police simply aren't engaged in it and it is only the better landlords who are being stung. Once again!

8:37 AM, 9th June 2011
About 9 years ago

I think it was last week some time I touched on this subject and some clever person had the audacity to put a thumbs down without a reply. I also note that our writer today makes note that the schemes are not biased. Then goes on to say it is for the landlord to prove he is entitled ,is this not bias in its self , it is said that landlords unfairly take the tenants monies, yet there has not been any proof of this in fact in many cases even to date it is the landlord that looses or has to chase his money when a tenant decides they will not pay the last months rent and go ,the landlord then has one hell of a time getting his money from the likes of the dps . This just being one area there are many more which I am sure if every landlord out there was asked of 1 episode they would be able to give you an answer.I fact is it not the very people introducing these rules shelter ect housing associations trying now to contract their tenants and allow themselves to be able to evict them because they don't pay the rent or are a nuisance . Some observations and I speak for my self , firstly can you tell me who are employed by these schemes ,well for starters I bet none of them are landlords, are they not the very people that at some point in their life had a problem with their landlord the answer to that is, yes because the persons used to deal with these matters are ex students / graduates or something in this line of work ,lets say law, surveyors, ect who have all lived in rental accommodation at one point in their life ,and had a problem with a landlord so yes bias percentage would be more so than is not. Is it one persons inspection or is it a team ,would they have lets say a landlord inspecting the matter at hand I think not, so who represents the landlord, no one. You state that the landlord has to prove all the points with video to make sure he can get his money yes great so lets stick it to the landlord once again ,we seem to forget that the tenant has every opportunity to make points on the now 40+ pages we provide with inventory, that's now not enough either, every photo ,every page ,every item has to be signed for oh of course forget the photos now do a video is this not bias towards the landlord. What about the cost of such work and time spent. I question the prices of the work to be done and how also. I was quoted £150 for a clean the other day ,I asked what do you do for this ,we go round and wipe the woodwork,hoover the carpets, wipe the kitchen surfaces ,maybe wash the curtains and nets . well that would not be sufficient in my book because the majority of the time the walls will need washing even ceilings, the fans,extractors, windows the washing machine drawer ,microwave in and out the cooker/oven hob ,bathroom , so the above clean at £150 , has now become £450/500 because I tell you now if you ask the cleaning co to quote you that is what you will get. To top this off if you do the work you as landlord are not entitled to get paid because you have no proof of invoice for work done, only materials and don't stock your materials for gods sake they will tell you ,you all ready had these .For a £500 job you may get £200 , is there a formula to these costs, no its what that individual thinks as to what is fair and as stated by our writer what you provide as evidence , the video,all documents every page signed, every invoice, and only if you get this right are you entitled be sure if you get one thing wrong you will get nothing . An important factor here also ,has any of these persons viewed your property when you let it to your new tenants, who Imight add as they are moving in think the sun shines out of your rear end , no yet they can tell you the condition of it when they move out , and do not make the mistake of having an inventory clerk book the tenants out only, because you will get that's no good because you did not book them in "confused". 92% that says it all of course its biased "UNLESS YOU PROVE OTHERWISE" this being the emphasis put on landlords.I also and this is from today this minute disagree to the fact that every one assumes that the deposit is after all the tenants money,well I argue that it is not, why you might ask, is not the rent paid to the landlord not the tenants money of course it is right up until the tenant pays it over which then becomes the landlords,a fair exchange for accommodation so the deposit is the same, it is part of the contract and is not the tenants until they receive it back and in the 22 years of being a landlord from what I have seen the chances of the tenant receiving all of it back is small ,however the deposit schemes seem to be making up for that to the tune of 12m as we are told. Don't forget either once you elect to go down the adjudication route you have no recourse. BIAS or not, get it right first time.By the way we are told today that courts are also closing down ,3 years ago it was about taking pressure of the courts today they are closing down ,lesser the chance for the landlord to get a fair hearing in my view a dying option. One last point while I am on a roll if it is the view that the deposit is the tenants why initially was the landlord entitled to part of the interest paid ,on that note why are no one getting interest from the deposit scheme now,because the government made a deal with the DPS that if interest rates go down to below 1.5% they don't have to yet with the 40/80m that they hold they can gain interest in banks that pay them 8% on this money no one cares who's money it is now do they , buy the way anybody got a couple of million to spare I would like to get out of it asap

Mark Alexander

8:49 AM, 9th June 2011
About 9 years ago

Interesting points Josh, I suspect the 'thumbs down' was a disgruntled tenant, perhaps one of elite 7% who lost a case that went to adjudication? They do visit every now and again to take a pop at landlords which is why we have to moderate every post. This is a web-site for Landlords. We featured a chap called Tom Derrettt recently who was so disolusioned with his job as a Tenancty Deposit Adjudicator he quit his job and set up a business advising landlords - link here http://www.property118.com/index.php/gamekeepr-turned-poacher-helps-landlords-in-deposit-protection-disputes/6294/

9:47 AM, 9th June 2011
About 9 years ago

hallo mark its a good job we can still have a smile about it regards

10:59 AM, 9th June 2011
About 9 years ago

Glad to see i'm not the only one with these opinions. Think landlords should start a revolution! I believe the figures broadcast in favour of bringing in the deposit protection was that 20% of landlords were keeping deposits unnecessarily. That means 80% of landlords were returning the deposits so why on earth was there a change in the law.? Also where did the information come from regarding the 20%? Probably from disgruntled tenants who had indeed lost their deposit due to not leaving a property in an acceptable condition. There are a huge amount of people in society that live like filthy pigs so obviously some of these people are going to end up renting. If you hire a car, spill drink on the seats, smear food over the interior & scratch the bodywork the hire company will make deductions. They don't have to first prove it to some third party before doing so. Let's face it the majority of Landlords are trying to run a business so why would they want to upset their customers unnecessarily. I have had four tenants that i took to court for non payment of rent, they left my houses in a complete state and despite winning every hearing it was impossible to get my money back, unless you can find out where they have moved to; All wasting more time & money. To add insult to injury The DPS refused to return the deposits to me despite me sending them proof of having won every court hearing. I would urge every landlord to STOP using the DPS and put them out of business, MyDeposits is a much better system. Lastly another way in which the bias is in favour of tenants: We have to give them 2 months notice to evict them with a section 21. If a tenant is leaving they only have to give one month on an assured shorthold contract & not all of them do that. I'm sure the percentages of 'bad tenants' far outway the percentages of 'bad landlords' so why didn't the labour government rush through laws to protect landlords instead of trying to bring in yet more beaurocracy to almost make our renting business not viable to run. Hopefully now we have a conservative government some common sense and fairness may prevail again?

13:57 PM, 9th June 2011
About 9 years ago

Point taken , a couple of notes there for LANDLORDS not those who are investing to get more money because the banks are paying 0% interest on money sitting in their account making a quick buck, but for those who are seriously working as landlords another area where the government does not to date recognise the fact that it is a business and not just a second property therefore should be entitled to utilise into a retirement fund ,but its ok for the housing associations invest a million get a million from the government I am afraid its a lost cause. Another interesting point if you owe money to the government no questions asked they can send the bailiff and take it back ,if you are a utility Co the same ,but if you are a private being you have minimal chance of getting your money because of the lax attitude of the government towards money owed to a private individual we are one of the worst government/countries if not the worst when it comes to being able to get your money back. I suspect the 2 month notice thing is to give the tenant time to find another property, also the fact that this ties in with the sec8 with regards the tenant owing you 2months rent before you can actually do any thing about it .With regards to the sec 21 you can give this at the same time as your contract start date if I am not mistaken but you know this is my point why do we as landlords have to think of the negative aspects of the tenancy before it has even started .I also think the % of bad tenants far outweigh the bad landlords . Let me ask a question has any of you experienced that you have to explain to tenants how they should be living right down to the detail, some times I find it incredible that 20+ adults live the way they do they just either do not have a clue or they are ignorant to the facts I ask myself how on earth have these people got to where they are who taught them its incredible.Then I say god help us all. With regards to the government rushing through laws I have a view on this I find that there are these so called lords who seem to have connections in various places and information is given to them like from shelter /housing ass of course the info is taken from tenants who have problems with said landlord so all is bad they then sit on their rear ends with nothing better to do but make up rules to effect but to who's benefit we may ask certainly not ours . One last thing and I have to go it takes me ages to write these ,my solicitor friend Mr .S would say if a tenant left owing me money ,get it rented asap, I used to reply its ok for you yours were left to you by the family and you are earning while you are advising me , he would laugh but if a tenant was causing a problem like staying on without paying he would sort it and say go have your day in court . I suppose the moral if the story is don't chase dead money , having said that I have just spent a grand trying to get back six+ you cant win .

18:24 PM, 13th June 2011
About 9 years ago

Scary, reading some of these comments I now understand the need for DPS
I claim for tax relief for wear and tear on my furnished flats, when the tenants leave I expect to have to clean and decorate at my cost. I would have held deposit to cover theft and deliberate damage, but saw the DPS as a way the government could get money from the held capital.
It was for this reason I have returned the deposit to my tenants already, because I have more trust in my tenants than I have in our government.

19:38 PM, 13th June 2011
About 9 years ago

so what exactly is your understanding for the need of the DPS you seem to have missed that bit, and as for you tax relief ,what will you claim when the relief runs out as it does, I suspect you are claiming relief on your supplied goods for furnishing. Are you saying you are happy to clean the flat and decorate it every six months and or yearly. Good for you but I do not expect to decorate once I have done it for at least 4/5 years but unfortunately with tenants its expected every time they move out, the majority at the moment it seems. I do not rent a hotel nor do I run one ,nor do the tenants pay hotel fees. We provide a good clean presentable property for a fair market rent and the tenant is supposed to live in the property in a responsible manner . In answer to the government getting more money its not the government getting the money but the government certainly short changing landlords and tenants in the returns of deposits and as for yourself giving all the deposit back that is also purely your decision, perhaps your tenants are better this could be everybody to their own . sorry I must have missed the point about trusting the tenant more than the government , I trust mine also but it did not stop them flooding the flat below last week.ON THIS YOU WOULD WHAT REPAIR IT ALL AT YOUR EXPENSE AND MAKE A CLAIM ON YOUR TAXES AS A RELIEF. Every one will have their own problems and every one will deal with them differently .

21:22 PM, 21st June 2011
About 9 years ago

I also agree things are becoming harder as a landlord, however I have joined one of the tenancy deposit schemes as now the regulations are there I guess its just something I have to put up with if I want to keep letting on a more professional level. I have began to use the video inventories and my exprience so far has been good. I had the inventory prepared just before the tenant moved in and they kept one of the dvdsand a written copy. I always do a check out myself with my tenant present. All the lower parts of the walls were scuffed and dirty in one of the bedrooms and I said I would deduct for cleaning or repainting, the tenant disagreed at first then we sat and watched the dvd together, they then agreed to pay up as it was obviously not there when they moved in, this was clear on the video. I also have a student let this year was the first year I used a video and in my opinion they are keeping the place in better condition than they were before, when i carry out my interim inspection the place is very clean which we all know is unsual for students. I am always looking at ways to protect myself and I think this is one way of doing it whilst keeping it professional. Or I have just been lucky lately with the tenants I have.

22:51 PM, 21st June 2011
About 9 years ago

hi there ,you know the other morning I was prompted by an email and I spent an hour and half on it only for my computer to crash I was well P _ _ _ _ D, yes it seems to be a good idea tenants can't argue after that can they but you know for me anyway ,you still have to do major work to put it right before you can rent it you can't be reimbursed for the time sat empty with a little care this would take less time and argument. I am just finishing off a flat its taken my son and me a week and its not finished yet there is at least another weeks work for me in there ,the tenant wants to move in sat/sun I hate this. at least they seem to be a better quality tenant time will tell. It could also be you have been a little lucky we all need a little of that. Talking of luck how about this ,this morning while working at the property 3 guys come down stairs I don't know any of them what I do know is 3 girls live in the flat , that makes 6 in a 2 bed flat but to top it off one tenant it seems has decided to go back home for a few months so she sublets the property to a friend, the friend now has 2 mates living with him so that makes 3+3+2 =8 confused if this is not abuse of a property I don't know what is and the flat looks like a pig sty , DPS/ DEPOSIT no I don't think so. Before I go one last one just in case you all think it's about luck , the same floor but opposite, a one bed flat let to a couple they have been there about 2 years now no probs but 6 months ago while doing the boiler servicing we walk in to someone just getting up ,oh hi I'm mates friend , yes and that's my sofa , you know your self hay it's only for a night or so , 6 months later I'm telling the same guy to move his bike out of the ground floor landing because it's a neusiance to others it's not luck its the way it is . there is a tenancy market and a tenancy market very few people will get what you might call corporate clients and have you noticed those that have the good jobs and are the desired clients always move to the newer properties unfortunately you can't always select what you get that's how it is . Oh I have a cracker for you tenants of 3years 2 adults 1 child move in all good ,a week later 4 adults 2 teenagers 1 child ,2 years later 3 adults 1teenager 2children this is a 3 bed maisonette since moving in the bathroom and toilet has had to be remodelled ,the 3 piece suite has found its way to the conservatory , fish in the pond has been damaged , the kitchen no comment , I have been told last week that they are moving in July I asked why they have now told me after coaxing it out of them they need a 1 bed flat ???? I thought, anyway the reason being they want to earn more points to be able to get on the list , the story started off that the husband was ill (sore knee) and can only work 2 days a week ?????? anyway the outcome at the moment is rent owing £1,050 next rent due on 2/7/11 = £1,950 they leave on 30/7/11 deposit £1,100 the property needs overhaul who is the lucky one you do not have a chance . good night and sweet dreams


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