A new ‘Guide to Tenancy Deposits, Disputes and Damages’ has been jointly published by all three government authorised tenancy deposit protection schemes today.
Since 2007 some 47,000 disputes have been settled by the schemes’ alternative dispute resolution processes. The pooling of information on these disputes and their eventual outcomes has allowed the schemes to identify common issues and to work together to publish collective guidelines.
The guide covers items, such as the collation of evidence and what an adjudicator looks for when considering a dispute, and outlines the principles on which scheme adjudicators make decisions so that the process is consistent and transparent for letting agent, landlord and tenant alike.
Eddie Hooker, CEO of My Deposits, commented: “Whilst we are all competitors in the market, we do not compete on how we operate our dispute resolution services. It is right that all schemes follow the same principles and standards when dealing with deposit issues. Landlords and tenants should be able to understand the processes regardless of which scheme they use and expect a fair outcome to their dispute.”
Kevin Firth, Director of The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS), the custodial scheme, added: “This guide represents a significant benefit for tenants, landlords and letting agents and is another example of how tenancy deposit legislation has acted to improve standards in the lettings industry. Everyone can get hold of a copy for free and understand for themselves how disputes are adjudicated, potentially helping them avoid these situations in the future.”
And Steve Harriott, Chief Executive of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) continued: “I’m delighted to see this joint approach between the schemes. We all follow consistent principles and it is only right that tenants and landlords get a uniform explanation of the approach taken, irrespective of which scheme they contact.”
The guide which is available to download from each scheme’s website, also discusses issues such as how to avoid disputes in the first place, the types of evidence accepted by adjudicators and how to deal with common problems such as wear and tear. The guide also highlights the importance for both private landlords and agents of using an independent firm of inventory clerks.
This is the first time all three schemes have worked together to publish educational information which is aimed at landlords, agents and tenants alike.