5. How does your Agent or Landlord handle your deposit?
This is a really important question to ask and you should be advised that it is bonded in one of three Government recognised schemes that keeps it separate, protected and ring fenced from the rent that will be paid.
Sadly there are unregulated Letting Agents and indeed Landlords who still do not bond deposits correctly even though this could lead to fines of up to three times the value of the deposit. Ouch!
If you are a Landlord please be aware that if the deposit has not been bonded correctly you may not be successful in gaining recovery of possession following service of a Section 21 Notice and therefore may run the risk of a sitting tenant situation. So please check if your deposit is bonded correctly. As a Tenant, it is better to avoid any difficulties from the outset. Use a regulated Agent and relax in the knowledge you will get your deposit back, assuming that you comply with the terms of the tenancy.
Under the terms of a recognised scheme a Letting Agency or Landlord should also provide the Tenant with certain details within 30 days of receiving your deposit. This includes details of the scheme they are using, the circumstances under which some or all of the deposit would be withheld and what to do in the event of a dispute. On the rare occasions where there is a dispute between Tenant and Landlord, the deposit is protected until this is resolved. These schemes also ensure compliance to the outcome of arbitration, this outcome is full and final and binding on all parties.
Regent Lettings subscribe to the Tenancy Deposit Protection Service (a government recognised scheme) which provides peace of mind that your deposit is protected and dictates how it will be handled at the end of the tenancy. If the amount of deposit to be returned is agreed this must be done within 10 days of the tenancy ending.
So, gone are the days when an unscrupulous Landlord could disappear with your deposit right?
Sadly no, and we still hear tales of woe all too often. So protect yourself ask the question… “Is my deposit bonded with one of the three government recognised schemes?” If the answer is yes, you can take comfort that your deposit is being managed in a fair and professional manner, affording you the best deposit protection available. If not caveat emptor – buyer beware.
Next time we will examine the question “Protecting your property?”