Best Deposit Protection for disputes?

by Readers Question

9:52 AM, 16th May 2019
About a month ago

Best Deposit Protection for disputes?

Make Text Bigger
Best Deposit Protection for disputes?

Obviously I have an obligation to protect the deposits of my tenants, but having had 2 poor experiences with My Deposits on the only 2 occasions I’ve had big issues (I have had over 250 deposits protected) I wonder if there is an alternative that gives a less biased dispute service.

I’ve just had a new wooden floor badly marked – and admitted to by the tenant who assured me he’d put it right – didn’t – so I was awarded £85 (specialist said it couldn’t be spot sanded) and same tenant left me with the cleaning and out of £150 invoiced by professional cleaning company (in and out professional inventories supporting) I was awarded £100!! Not a big deal (except the floor) but I would like the support of the dispute service when they are needed.

I just don’t understand the decision but have no right to query it seems. I never normally bother for cleaning of other bits of damage, but he was seriously taking advantage of me.

I hear that there is a new one now called Zero Deposits where a premium of one week’s rent is paid and 6 weeks ‘cover’ given.

Anyone know of or in this system?

Harlequin Garden



Comments

Jill

8:24 AM, 17th May 2019
About a month ago

I use DPS but had a three month delay in recovering the portion of the deposit from a non rent paying tenant despite numerous phone calls and letters which were ignored. Do not recommend.

Freda Blogs

8:56 AM, 17th May 2019
About a month ago

I am not a fan of DPS either. I received a very tenant - biased judgement following my replacement of a badly damaged mattress, and a derisory sum was awarded. To add insult to injury, from the judgement delivered, it was clear that the adjudicator had either not read or had misinterpreted the facts of the case. DPS also failed to supply me with a copy of the tenant’s submission, which I had specifically requested, so I don’t know how truthful/accurate that was.
ADR requires a lot of paperwork from the LL yet I suspect the outcomes are seldom worthwhile if, as it appears, the responses favour the tenants in the majority of cases.
I am interested to hear others’ experiences of deposit alternatives.

Simon M

9:27 AM, 17th May 2019
About a month ago

I would not recommend DPS. Their 'system' isn't fit for purpose.

At the end of a tenancy DPS send a standard email that includes a different email address to claim. Managing agent who knew the system mistakenly replied to the sender's email. It's normal not to hear from DPS for weeks so not unexpected. After about 4 weeks the agent rang to chase, found the error and DPS staff told her it hadn't been dealt with and they would consider my claim.

DPS assessor didn't consider my claim and DPS released the money to the tenant. Agent submitted a complaint. The reply read like a standard letter.
This rang alarm bells - how many complaints do they get? Agent has submitted a second complaint highlighting the systemic failures.

DPS call centre response shows it's a known problem with a standard answer, so it's happened often enough before. In which case there are lots of things the DPS could do to prevent this: monitor the inbox, use a 'noreply@dps' email and add an automated response message.

The claim process necessarily requires a landlord to submit 2 inventories, photos before and after and invoices for every item claimed.

For many years businesses have been moving to online services. You would expect the agent to login and create a claim case. Yet the DPS still relies on email so years out of date. Clearly no investment.

Obviously in my case the agent is at fault. The same person had done a DPS claim for me before so knew the process. I know it was a genuine error, but that's the purpose of using IT, it's basic system design to prevent errors.

Richard Peeters

9:39 AM, 17th May 2019
About a month ago

I have also only had bad experiences with Deposit adjudication, with both insurance based schemes. The truth of the matter is this:
- the adjudicators are commercial enterprises and so follow the path of least effort and cost (while remaining compliant and away from bad press);
- they've already been paid their fee at the start of the tenancy, and the Deposit itself is not their money, so they have no incentive at all to side with the landlord (even though he/she pays for their service);
- the money is legally the Tenant's untile deductions can be proven, and all the burden of evidence is on the landlord;
- the landlord has no choice: Deposit protection is mandatory and all the schemes behave the same;
- by default the legal system, and all the social media and "experrts" like Shelter, all side with the Tenant (supposedly the weaker side); so …
- it is far easier (and faster and cheaper) for the deposit scheme's arbitration to side with the Tenants too.
They have no incentive at all to do otherwise. 🙁

David Sheehy

9:49 AM, 17th May 2019
About a month ago

I have had three case with the DPS they included damage, breaking lease conditions and non cleaning. All were put down to fair wear and tear and I also had the impression that my submissions had not been read and that the tenant would always get there money back. I have removed all deposits from them.
We need a better way

Lesley Clarke

10:35 AM, 17th May 2019
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Peeters at 17/05/2019 - 09:39
Fortunately I have not yet had to claim from an outgoing tenant but it does raise the question - is it worth taking a deposit in the first place under the current system?

dismayed landlord

11:20 AM, 17th May 2019
About a month ago

I have had experience of both TDS and DPS. both favour tenants in my view. its probably why more landlords are agreeing a settlement before going to adjudication.

Richard Peeters

11:24 AM, 17th May 2019
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Lesley Clarke at 17/05/2019 - 10:35
Hi Lesley, we have long ago come to that question: is it worth the bother? We consider one benefit is for tenants to have the "potential threat" of losing their money. In practice, it's only the ethical/responsible tenants who would have such fear, and generally they are the ones who would acknowledge their own fault anyway. The types who "know their rights" and aggressively assert them tend to play the system and get all their money back. Another benefit is that, where the prospective/incoming tenant claims that the Deposit is a real financial barrier, then it flags up even before the tenancy begins, the matter of "fragile finances" (and this might cause landlords to avoid those who can't afford the extra five weeks' rent (new maximum Deposit)). The main downside: getting the Deposits wrong disables the S21 possession route.

Harlequin Garden

15:25 PM, 17th May 2019
About a month ago

Thanks - sounds like it is perfectly normal to not even expect to have the deposit used for the purpose it is intended. I also had the impression that the adjudicator hadn't read all the docs. I went to a lot of trouble to ensure that they had everything and professional reports and quotes (and invoices) and it was all very clear.

Has anyone come across the 'Zero Deposit' system I mentioned?

Michael Holmes

17:00 PM, 17th May 2019
About a month ago

I have never taken deposits, just 2 month’s rent in advance. I always knew the bureaucracy involved would not be worth the candle. To mitigate any damages, I have set the rent a little higher than strictly necessary to cover them. Most of my tenants are students, very variable results when it comes to property maintenance. We take a couple of weeks in August and go through all the rooms replacing broken furniture and fittings and redecorating where necessary. Needless to say, most of the furniture is secondhand, but none the worse for that. The students don’t worry about it and we get to keep our sanity, there is enough s##t coming down the line for the PRS as it is, so any thing that reduces the red tape burden is grabbed with both hands!

1 2 5

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Resolution Foundation - 11.2% of population own multiple homes

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More