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Tenancy Deposit Scheme

The Housing Division of Department for Social Development had announced that a Regional Rent Deposit scheme will be launched in Northern Ireland in April 2013 in conjuction with complusary landlord registration. It will be based upon the existing structure in England, Wales and Scotland.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme was implmented on the 6th April 2007 in England and Wales.

The landlord will be given a deposit upon letting a property to a tenant against posiible damages to the property or its contents during the term of the lease, or in the event of non payment of rent. The deposit is then to be returned to the tenant upon the completion of the lease minus any deducitions for damages.

The Tenant Deposit Scheme has been created to ensure that deposits held are protected in case of disputes about their return and any disputes are handled and resolved impartially, inexpensively and promptly.

Under the scheme:
  • deposits will be protected during the tenancy by the regulated agent.
  • where there is no dispute at the end of the tenancy, deposits will be returned promptly to the tenant.
  • where there is a dispute about the return of the deposit it will be dealt with fairly by the Independent Complaints Examiner.
So if there is a dispute, the agent has 10 days to resolve it, in the case that the dispute is not resolved any of the parties involved ( Tenant, Landlord or Agent) can approach the Independent Complaints Examiner.  The deposit will then be transfered to The Despute Service Limited.

An independent adjudicator will then be appointed to assist  with the consideration of any evidence provided, they will then issuse a decision within 10 working days of the receipt of all necessary papers.

A decision will be made based on standard and detailed tenancy documentation, this will include Inventories, Check-in, Check-out and where applicable interim reports which are vital to this process and without these reports there will be no case to answer.  If there are no reports the tenant will usually recive their full deposit back and the landlord could be financially out of pocket in terms of compensation costs. Independently  provided inventories are vital and will carry great weight during the decision making process.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme is designed to ensure:
  • all disputes between tenant and landlord/agent are easily resolved
  • tenants get all or part of their deposit back, when no disputes occur
  • landlords/agents who do not protect their tenancy deposits could face a fine of up to £20,000 and will have to pay back three times the amount of the deposit to the tenant. 


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