Tag Archives: mydeposits

Deposit dispute handling courses available for Letting Agents Landlord News, Latest Articles, Lettings & Management

Mydeposits is hosting introductory courses for letting agents in order to help them better deal with their tenant’s deposit disputes.Deposit dispute

The informative, hands-on seminars will provide letting agent professionals with a deeper understanding of the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process and will be delivered by experienced adjudicators. ADR is offered to letting agents and tenants who are unable to come to an agreement over the return of a deposit at the end of the tenancy.

The introductory workshops will provide first hand insight into how the dispute resolution process works, address common dispute issues and identify effective ways to avoid deposit disputes through everyday best practice.

The events, which also count towards CPD hours, will also involve:

  • Examples of what key evidence is needed to help support a claim to the tenancy deposit
  • Comprehensive case studies of real life disputes, letting agents judge a dispute for themselves
  • Advice and tips for compiling inventories
  • Guidance on defining what constitutes ‘fair’ wear and tear.
  • Common reasons why landlords and letting agents lose disputes

Suzy Hershman, Head Adjudicator at mydeposits, commented:

“At mydeposits we’ve been dealing with agents’ deposit disputes for over six years now, which gives us the experience and insight to know what makes best practice.

“Unless the agent’s evidence justifies the deductions they propose to the deposit, it should be returned to the tenant. Some agents are unaware of where they are going wrong but if they can understand what is ‘best practice’ right from the start and throughout the tenancy, then this will help to avoid a formal deposit dispute occurring at the end.

“Agents attending our workshops will leave better prepared to successfully deal with any future disputes; they will learn what they need to do in order to prove their deposit claims and also see first-hand how an adjudicator reaches a decision when dealing with a deposit dispute.”

Places are available for £45 (£30 for mydeposits members) in the following locations:

  • Sheffield                      Thurs 27th February, 1-4pm.
  • Exeter                         Thurs 6th March, 1-4pm.
  • Southampton              Weds 12th March
  • Oxford                         Fri 14th March
  • Cambridge                  Weds 19th March
  • London                        Fri 21st March

For further information about the workshops, pricing or to book a place please Click Here


Tenancy deposit poll – Wales comes out on top Landlord News, Latest Articles

Only nine per cent of tenants reported they’ve had deposit deductions proposed by their landlord or letting agent at the end of the tenancy in a poll* from tenancy deposit protection scheme mydeposits.

However, the poll showed that tenants in the Midlands and the South East of England were more likely to face a deduction to their deposit than other parts of the UK.

12% cent of tenants in the East Midlands and 11% in the West Midlands said their landlord or letting agent had proposed a deduction to their tenancy deposit. The next highest group to experience deposit deductions at 10% were in the South East.

However only 4% of tenants in Wales and 7% in the North East were likely to have deposit deductions made.

Most landlords or letting agents take a tenancy deposit to guarantee against financial losses should the tenant breach the terms of the tenancy agreement or damage the property. However, the deposit should be returned to the tenant at the end of the tenancy unless breaches or damages occur. The poll was conducted with 550 tenants with deposits protected across all of all the deposit protection schemes.

Confidence:
The findings also show that tenants in Wales were the most self-assured when it comes to discussing the return of their deposit at the end of the tenancy, with 39% saying they felt confident in approaching the issue with their landlord or letting agent. Tenants in the North East were the least confident with only a quarter 25% saying they felt confident discussing the issue.

Eddie Hooker, CEO, said,“although most tenants haven’t experienced deductions to their deposit at the end of their tenancy it seems that many still lack the confidence to approach the issue with their landlord or letting agent. In fact, even the most confident of tenants are in the minority when it comes to discussing issues over their deposit.

“It’s vital that tenants are both aware and informed about the law and their rights because deposit protection was introduced to safeguard their money, and they should have it returned in full at the end of the tenancy if they don’t breach any of their obligations.

“Tenants should visit our website’s which has a dedicated tenant’s section, containing information about their rights and downloadable guidance on how to avoid deposit deductions”.

*my|deposits Tenant Panel research, October 2013 – 550 online responses.

Region                   Had deposit deductions (%)                            Region                                         Confidence (%)

East Midlands                        12                                                    Wales                                                 39

West Midlands                       11                                                    East of England                                   33

South East                              10                                                    East Midlands                                     32

London                                      9                                                   South West                                         31

North West                               9                                                    South East                                          31

Y’shire & Humber                     9                                                    Y’shire and Humber                           30

South West                               9                                                     North West                                        28

East of England                         8                                                     West Midlands                                    28

North East                                7                                                      London                                              28

Wales                                       4                                                      North East                                          25

tenancy deposit


Capita TDP to be taken over by MyDeposits Landlord News, Latest Articles

The Capita TDP (Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme) has been closed to accepting new deposits since the 14th of September this year.

Capita a corporate giant and FTSE 100 company was only awarded the contract by Government to operate the scheme from the 1st April 2013 (no pun intended) in an effort to increase competition and drive down costs for this service. Mydeposits has however stepped in to take over responsibility for Capita TDP protections in England & Wales after confirming their withdrawal from the market.

All of Capita TDP’s existing deposit protections will be automatically transferred to mydeposits from 1st December 2013. Landlords, agents and tenants in England &Wales will also have access to the scheme’s dispute resolution service. Capita TDP has now written to all existing members informing them of the news.

All transferred deposits will continue to be protected throughout the duration of the fixed term tenancy. my|deposits will also reissue a new Deposit Protection Certificate (DPC) and the relevant Information for Tenant’s leaflet for each protection.

Eddie Hooker, CEO of mydeposits, said: “Capita TDP’s existing landlord and agent members can rest assured they’re in safe hands with mydeposits. The experience and knowledge we derive from partnership with the both the National Landlords Association (NLA) and the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA) means we’re well placed to manage the handover following Capita’s withdrawal.”

“Landlords, agents and tenants will also have access to our free award-winning dispute resolution service, giving them peace of mind that the deposit will be returned fairly if they’re unable to reach an agreement over its return.”

“We’re on hand to speak to existing Capita members who have concerns regarding the transfer of their deposits. Landlords, agents and tenants can also visit our website www.mydeposits.co.uk where they can find details of the scheme and a range of useful guidance and advice on deposit protection issues”.Capita TDP


How ADR works in tenancy deposit disputes Advice, Guest Articles, Guest Columns, Latest Articles

After sharing in discussions on two separate threads (links below) I realise that there is some misunderstanding about how Tenancy Deposit legislation works when there is a tenancy deposit dispute. How ADR works in tenancy deposit disputes

Buy to let anguish – landlord being repossessed – rent paid 6 months up front!

Tenant Disappeared

In the first discussion the tenant is concerned that the landlord will not repay the deposit and in the second discussion it is the landlord who is concerned that the tenant can just walk away.

Whichever type of deposit protection scheme a landlord chooses to use, either the custodial scheme at no cost or an insurance based scheme where a premium is paid, the basic rules are the same.

If the landlord and tenant cannot agree on the amount of the deposit that is returned to the tenant either has the right to raise a dispute with the protection scheme. The dispute is dealt with through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) where independent arbiters make a determination based on the documentary evidence provided by both parties.

Since the money belongs to the tenant unless and until the landlord can prove that he is entitled to compensation for losses or damages the onus is on the landlord to prove his case and for the tenant to dispute it. If the landlord fails to prove his case the deposit will be returned to the tenant.

During the ADR process, if the scheme is an insured scheme the deposit will be held by the landlord and therefore the scheme will ask the landlord to lodge the money with them pending the results of ADR.  Once the decision has been made the scheme will repay to each party the amount to which they are entitled.

The reason this is called “Alternative” Dispute Resolution is that it offers  a “free” alternative to the normal legal system but it does not replace it and either party can, if they wish, take the case to court instead. If either party decides to take the case to court the deposit protection scheme must be informed and once the case is heard they must be given the court documents to prove the result of the case.  They will then distribute the money in accordance with the Court Order.

Neither party can just ignore the request of the other for ADR.

If either party fails to respond to a request from a scheme to take part in an ADR, the other party will win by default unless that party tells the scheme that he is taking the case to court. This must take place within 6 months of the issue being raised.

In conclusion it is not an option for a landlord to ignore a request for ADR where he is holding a deposit because he has used an insurance based scheme.  If he fails to agree to ADR or does not take the case to court within 6 months, the scheme will repay the deposit to the tenant and reclaim it from the landlord.

If the landlord fails to respond at all ADR will look at the case based on the tenants request and will return the money to the tenant.

A landlord who fails to make the payment will be permanently removed from the scheme and his only option in future will be to lodge his deposits with the custodial scheme.

Where a tenant simply does not respond the landlord too can reclaim the deposit from the custodial scheme either through taking it to court or by using the Single Claim Process.

Sources of information

1) DPS – see >>> http://www.depositprotection.com/documents/reclaiming-a-deposit-2013.pdf

2) my\deposits – see >>> http://www.mydeposits.co.uk/sites/default/files/Tenant%20Guide%20to%20ADR.pdf

3) TDS – see >>> http://www.tds.gb.com/resources/files/What%20happens%20when%20the%20Court%20is%20involved%20in%20a%20tenancy%20deposit%20dispute.pdf


Deposit Protection Providers call emergency meeting following Court of Appeal Ruling Buy to Let News, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Deposit Protection Providers call emergency meeting following Court of Appeal RulingMark Alexander, editor and founder of Property118 tweeted the Deposit Protection Providers last night highlighting his fears on the ramifications of the Superstike vs Rodrigues Tenancy Deposit Protection Court of Appeal case. They are calling emergency meetings.

See the response below and read their interim press statement.

 

Interim Press Statement from the Deposit Protection providers

Court of Appeal – Superstrike Ltd v Rodrigues

A joint statement from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, MyDeposits and The Deposit Protection Service

We have read with interest the latest judgment from the Court of Appeal on deposit protection. Whilst landlords and lettings agents need to take their own legal advice, we will be considering the implications of this judgment for deposit protection and the service of Prescribed information. We will also need to consult the DCLG on this and we will be issuing a further joint statement when we have fully considered the matter.

Justin Selig from The Law Depatment and Landlord Action said:-

I, together with my colleagues at Landlord Action have looked into this in some detail today – we do agree with Mark – this is potentially very serious, but when looked at in detail – it does not make any sense at all.

Firstly, if you are a Landlord and your Tenant occupies your property under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and you have taken a deposit from your Tenant, then this applies to you. If you have not taken a deposit, then you have nothing to worry about.

If you have taken a deposit at the beginning of the fixed term of the tenancy, and the tenant remains in the property beyond the expiry of the fixed term, then according to this case the periodic tenancy is deemed to be a “new” tenancy. According to the rules relating to deposit protection, a deposit for a new tenancy needs to be protected.

The Court of Appeal ruling states that a deposit is deemed to be received at each renewal – so in the case they were dealing with, the switch from fixed term to periodic meant that a new deposit was deemed to have been received – and because the time it was received was after April 2007 it therefore required protection for that particular tenancy.

I think the arguments as to whether or not this issue applies to deposits received pre or post April 2007 are irrelevant as all deposits being held today (regardless of when they have been received) must be protected by virtue of the Localism Act 2011.

The question is, therefore – where you are holding a protected deposit – do you need to re-protect it each time there is a renewal of a tenancy? At present, I think the answer to that question is, yes – but hopefully I will be proved wrong on this.

Therefore, anyone who is holding a deposit received at the beginning of a fixed term is required to re-protect that deposit when it moves to a periodic. There is a further problem which may hopefully highlight how this does not make sense. A periodic tenancy is deemed to be renewed at the expiry of each period. Therefore, if you follow the argument – this would mean that the deposit would need to be re-protected at the beginning of each period. Most periodic tenancies are monthly – so the deposit would need to be re-protected monthly.

Obviously this does not make sense, nor I am sure is this the intention of the legislation. So how does a Landlord protect himself?

The first thing I would do is to obtain written clarification from the deposit protection company you are using as to their take on the ruling, and comply with their recommendations. Secondly, as a minimum, and you have a fixed term tenancy about to go onto a periodic, you should at least protect your deposit again when it goes periodic. (Personally, I would actually return the deposit to the tenant – but I appreciate that this is not always practical.) Thirdly, and for belt and braces protection – where you are still holding the deposit, you may want to consider not allowing the tenancy to go onto periodic, but to re-issue the tenant with a new fixed term – and re-protecting the deposit for that fixed term.

I hope that the Landlord does decide to appeal this decision and take it to the Supreme Court as some further clarification is definitely needed.


Capita enter Tenancy Deposit Protection Price War Buy to Let News, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Capita enter Tenancy Deposit Protection Price WarIf you didn’t already know, there are now four Deposit Protection providers in England and Wales and between them they have seven schemes, all with different rules!

The new kids on the block are a corporate giant called Capita, a FTSE 100 company. You may not have heard of them before as they generally service contract for their clients without using their own brand. Did you know that Capita administer TV licencing?

Should the other Tenancy Deposit Protection providers be worried?

Well when it comes to pricing Capita could theoretically crush their competition. A business of that size could probably put the other providers out of business by offering TDP free for a couple of years and then owning the monopoly. Early signs though are that’s not what they will be doing, however, they are putting the pressure on by undercutting their competition enough for it to hurt.

Gareth Kings, managing director of Capita TDP, based in Basingstoke, Hampshire, said: “Building upon our proven track record in both the property and insurance sectors, we hope to bring a fresh approach to deposit protection, providing a simpler, cost-effective solution for protecting tenants’ deposits.” Let’s hope he does just that but only time will tell.

I could save money by moving to Capita but I will not consider moving for at least a year in much the same way as I don’t install new Windows software straight away. Yet another set of TDP scheme rules to learn is not something I relish any more than having just had to learn how to find my way around Windows 8. I will probably wait for the legal eagles to pour over the rules and I will listen to their critique. I will then consider the outcome of the tribunals and no doubt read up on comparisons between the schemes, especially in terms of how many landlords win/lose their cases.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve never had a despot dispute so arguably I have nothing to worry about and should go for the cheaper option. Nah, I’ll be sticking with MyDeposits until I hear of a better reason to switch than saving just a few pounds.

What are your thoughts?

 


Student Landlords/Agents – When do you register a “new” deposit? Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

Readers QuestionsI recently had to renew my membership of mydeposits. Part of this process involved sending in a copy of my client deposit account bank statement. Immediately back came the comment to the effect that “at date X the balance on the account was £x which is £5k less than the deposits protected, explain yourself.”

Now I let to students. So the pattern works as follows:

In January 2012 groups of students started hunting for houses for the year 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013. Obviously(?) all their deposits are now paid and protected.

In January 2013 the new season starts. So at present I am sitting on tens of thousands of deposits for tenancies that will start on 1 July 2013. Some of these agreements will not yet be signed.

For now I am happily going along with the theory that a deposit paid before signing the agreement is a holding deposit, most of which will be returned if the agreement is not signed. All this is covered in the application paperwork. So my concern only includes those deposits held for agreements already signed but which start on 1 July 2013.

Now I have always thought that if I have a deposit held on an agreement signed 1 February 2013 but where the tenancy starts on 1 July 2013 it should be protected by the end of February (OK 30 days but let’s not be pedantic).

So far so good? However, in some cases the same group will renew for a second year so I may have two agreements for the same (say) three students but only one deposit. Let me try some examples:

Example 1

Assume I have a student house with three students A, B & C. Each has paid £300 deposit so I hold £900 which is protected and the current agreement ends on 30 June 2013.

On 1 February 2013 the same three students enter into a new agreement for the year 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014 but no further deposit is paid.

Now I have taken the view that the new agreement should be protected by now, so I will have two protections for £1,800 but only £900 in my client account. Apparently, I have now been told that I only need to protect the deposit when the new AST begins. (Note the way I have been advised implies this is optional, ie I do not need to have the second agreement protected now, not that I should not have the second deposit protected now.)

This is the reason that my client account appears to be underfunded, but is not.

Let’s move on.

Example 2

Assume I have a student house with three students A, B & C. Each has paid £300 deposit so I hold £900 which is protected and the current agreement ends on 30 June 2013.

On 1 February 2013 students A, B & D enter into a new agreement for the year 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014 and D pays £300 deposit. As far as I can see I have received a deposit under a new tenancy and I should protect it within 30 days of 1 February. I have no intention of duplicating protections so I would protect a full £900 by (say) the end of February, meaning I had protections totally £1,800 but hold only £1,200 in cash until the end of the current tenancy.

Hold on to your keyboard as I am beginning to get into the swing of this.

Example 3

I have a new house which I let on 1 February 2013 to three students E, F & G for a tenancy to start on 1 July 2013. The students can only afford to pay £100 each of their £300 deposit each on signing the agreement but will pay the balance of £200 each on 1 May 2013. Again, I have no intention of duplicating protections so I would protect a full £900 by (say) the end of February and always thought that was required and expected.

As I understand it protecting a deposit is not the same as saying you have received it. Mydeposits used to say this. Therefore, in my own little world I have been quite happy with my arrangements. However, with mydeposits telling me I can delay protection until the tenancy start date I am slightly confused. I have put these three examples to mydeposits and asked for a written response, with a request that they will indemnify me against all my legal costs and compensation if I follow their advice and some judge disagrees. Silence is deafening.

So over to the forum. What is your understanding of the requirements? Am I being too cautious, or am I totally wrong?

Would your answer be different with another protection arrangement?


Leading Deposit Protection Provider Cuts Costs Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Leading Deposit Protection Provider Cuts CostsThe biggest landlord provider of Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) in England & Wales, has announced it is to reduce its fees from the 1st April.

The changes, which recognise the rising value of deposits, mean that the scheme continues to provide benefits to its members regardless of the value of the deposit they take. Continue reading Leading Deposit Protection Provider Cuts Costs


Most tenancies end dispute free reveals My|Deposits Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

MyDepositsFindings from my|deposits reveal that the majority of tenancies end without any issues over the return of the tenant’s deposit.

Last year approximately 99% of my|deposits members returned their tenant’s deposits either in full (60%), or with deductions agreed by the tenant (39%), without the need to involve the scheme. Continue reading Most tenancies end dispute free reveals My|Deposits


How many TDS Deposit Protection Insurances are no longer valid? Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

The Dispute Service “TDS” recently posted on this website “TDS members need to log in to their account online and tick a box updating it to statutory periodic ( instructions are available in the Website User Manual). If you do not do this protection will end on the original end date of the agreement. We do advise that you also send the updated certificate to the tenant so they know their deposit is still protected.”

How many of their members are aware of this? Continue reading How many TDS Deposit Protection Insurances are no longer valid?


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