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Polly

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About Polly

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  1. Er...I heard it from the horses mouth, i.e. I've seen first hand the emails between drafting lawyers, policy officials and ministers and even had an informal conversation with the policy lead minister (Baroness Andrews). Seems a pretty good reason to believe it? And you have misunderstood my post. I did not add the words 'already held' into the HA 2004 - I'm pointing out that what the HA 2004 does say is that deposits that are paid "IN CONNECTION" with shorthold tenancies are protected. Therefore, if a contract is renewed and the deposit has not been returned but is being retained "IN CONNECTION" with the new tenancy agreement, then it can be deemed as having been paid from the start of that new agreement. Otherwise, on what grounds is the landlord holding the money, when that tenancy agreement has expired? Meg Munn was the minister who attended the Delegated Legislation Committee debate to approve the draft Housing (Tenancy Deposit Schemes) Order 2007) in the Commons, to enable it to come into force. Here is her reply to a similar question fielded by James Duddridge MP earlier in the debate: "Roll-over of tenancies and when the proposals will come into force were also mentioned. Only deposits relating to assured shorthold tenancies entered on or after the 6 April 2007 need to be protected; continuing tenancies will not be covered unless there is a new agreement. If a new assured shorthold tenancy is created, however, the deposit protection scheme will apply" http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/c...07/70307s01.htm What I'm trying to point out is that the government's guidance is the 'plain english' version of the policy that ministers wanted made law and that it's CLG lawyers and Parliamentary Counsel's job to transpose that policy into law in a way that allows that to happen, either by using existing legislation or by introducing amended legislation. I don't have any legal training myself (nor do policy officials or most ministers), but government lawyers (Parliamentary Counsel) receive 7 years training before drafting legislation - perhaps you can enlighten us as to how much training you've had? I find it odd that you say that the TDP providers "didn't even have any legally trained staff and it appeared that they did not have access to lawyers. However, I am aware that they now have a contract with a firm of solicitors to provide them with legal advice, so I wonder if they have re-considered this matter." Fact is, they would have been in discussion with CLG housing lawyers at the time of drafting the Bill and subsequent amending SIs - far more qualified and in a far better position to give advice than some firm of solicitors?? Finally, re: BTW1 - Eh???? The landlord's address is required as part of the prescribed information: Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed Information) Order 2007 (made 13 March 2007 and came into force 6 April 2007). BTW2 - Er, yes, I know that, but how is it relevant to this post? I'm pointing out that renewed tenancies (where a new contract is signed for a new AST), do fall under these regulations, if the deposit is retained from the previous AST. All I can say is that I'm glad that I'm renting via an agency where common sense has prevailed and that on the recent renewal of my fixed term contract, they saw fit to follow the government guidance and place my deposit into one of the schemes. Perhaps you can let us know the name of your agency, so that I can make a mental note never to use it? Incidentally, it's about the only piece of legislation that the Government has introduced that I have had faith in - I'm assuming that judges will interpret it in the way that it was first intended (in it's plain english version), but good luck if you do try on any legal challenges - could be expensive for you though?
  2. The Government guidance is right. The provisions of the HA 2004 require that deposits that are paid in connection with shorthold tenancies are protected - which would mean that any deposits paid or already held at the start of a new AST come under the new requirements (if created on or after after 7 April 2007). If one fixed term AST come to an end and a new AST is created, the deposit, even if already held, must be protected. It would be a bureaucratic nonsense to ask landlords to return a deposit and demand it's payment again on the same day that an AST comes to an end and a new one is created.
  3. If the letting agent/landlord are being uncooperative, you need to put in a "single claim" to get your deposit back. There is advice on the DPS webpage under the FAQ - I suggest you contact them (DPS) pronto!
  4. It only applies to new contracts signed on or after 6th April this year. However, you might still want to seek advice (Shelter/CAB) as your landlord still needs to have reasonable grounds to withhold YOUR money. Go to the Small Claims Court of necessary, but whatever you do, make sure your rent is paid up to date, otherwise YOU have broken the contract too and wouldn't have a leg to stand on! Regards Polly
  5. Not sure if I'm reading this right, but this is one of the only surveys you should be interested in reading - especially as many of the lenders' surveys are based on asking prices, but DCLG's is based on actual sales prices - hence the time lag. It's then up to the media as to how they choose to interpret it.
  6. "OK naive I know but can landlords put up rent whenever they want. Is there no legal protection for the tenants? Could a land lord really make say 3 increases within a six month contract?" 1) Absolutely not 2) Yes there is, and 3) No! See P22 http://www.communities.gov.uk/pub/919/Assu...s_id1151919.pdf Looks like there'll soon be a lot of landlords taking up McJobs to cover their mortgages
  7. Me too - but I can assure you it's not going to happen soon. DTI could have introduced legislation to this effect with the Estate Agents Redress Bill going through the Commons at the moment - but didn't. Their view appears to be that current consumer law should offer enough protection - especially with regards to unfair terms, etc. However, I do think the problem is sometimes not that there aren't the laws in place to prevent abuse by landlords or letting agents, but rather that tenants and landlords don't know enough about their rights and obligations and letting agents can use that situation to mislead their clients (on both sides) with blatent lies. I had one letting agent try to tell me that there was no such thing as the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts legislation when I disputed some of the clauses in my tenancy agreement, so I took great delight in printing off all 127 pages of OFT guidance along with a copy of the legislation itself and dumped it on her desk. I gave them the option of changing the agreement or I take them to OFT - guess who won?
  8. Sorry, I was intending to clarify the situation for anyone who has already paid a deposit prior to 6 April under an existing AST and who wishes to extend it. If your landlord or letting agent asks you to renew, i.e. sign a new agreement for the residence that you want to continue to stay in, then they must put the existing deposit that you'd already given them at the start of the previous AST into a TDS. Would imagine that the OFT will become quite interested in the high administration charges that some letting agents and LLs are going to attempt to get away with, in lieu of deposits??
  9. Just to clarify - If you sign a new AST after 6 April (which would also include renewing for a fixed term of say, six months or a year), then the landlord or agent must use TDS. But if your fixed term expires and you continue the tenancy on a periodic basis (i.e. where you do not have to sign anything, but the tenancy continues indefinitely on the same terms and conditions as the AST you originally signed and where you need to give two months notice, etc), then the deposit will not be covered by TDS. IMO landlords and letting agents have known this was coming for quite a while, as this secondary legislation was originally intended to come into force last October - stemming from the Housing Act 2004. How much preparation do they need, FFS??
  10. Take Bubble Pricker's advice, that if agreement was made verbally, it probably still stands as a contract (as far as Housing law for ASTs is concerned) and have a chat with CAB. If you have only an oral agreement with the landlord, you are both bound automatically by the legislation applying to shorthold tenancies if the tenancy started on or after 28 February 1997 and by the legislation applying to assured tenancies if the tenancy started or was agreed before 28 February 1997. http://www.communities.gov.uk/pub/919/Assu...s_id1151919.pdf
  11. Yes, any landlord must subscribe to this, if the tenancy agreement is an assured shorthold agreement - which just about all are by statute. Failure to do so will simply mean that they cannot evict you and may face a fine of up to three times the deposit...payable to the tenant. Don't let any landlord try to tell you otherwise! More info here: http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1503294 and here: http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1152035
  12. Why would a landlord choose Computershare's scheme? Probably because they will pay a premium for the other insurance-based schemes. Besides, that's going to be up to them and not us tenants, so 'am I bovvered'? No one tells me which letting agent I must use or which insurance company I must use. Also, I'm not quite sure how you think a landlord can 'make you pay' for fees? Any fees you pay to a letting agent (including potential check-out fees) have to be clearly and precisely laid out in advance before you sign anything - again, see OFT's Unfair Terms regulations. And landlord's fees will be tax-deductible against letting income. Any attempt to recoup that cost from the tenant would be illegal (double-counting) I suppose a landlord could attempt to pass on their costs by increasing the rent, but then surely it's up to you if you take the property, or decide not to if you believe it's too expensive? I've found it fairly easy to haggle down for the last few years, so I would have thought that is unlikely. I can't see a cost to tenants anywhere here; 3. The custodial scheme run by Computershare Investor Services will be free to use for tenants and landlords. The scheme will be funded by the surplus from interest generated on the pool of deposits, with interest also being paid to tenants. 4. The two insurance-based schemes, run by The Dispute Service Ltd and the National Landlords Association, will be funded through a fee paid by landlords or agents (the fee level should be known in early 2007). The service will be free to tenants. 5. All three schemes will offer alternative dispute resolution services which will be free to use (for both landlord and tenant).
  13. Dagga, you're only referring to the insurance based scheme. You just have to know where to look! This should tell you all you need to know about the three companies who have been awarded the contracts to run the schemes. http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id...ssNoticeID=2293 And more on TDS in general: http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1152035 Bear in mind TDS only applies to new tenancy agreements signed after 6 April (although some letting agents have been operating a voluntary scheme) And as for letting agents increasing their check out costs - I think it would be quite difficult to introduce new fees to an existing contract (OFT - unfair terms in consumer contracts legislation???). All in all, it's got to be better than the existing situation, as the burden of proof towards claims for damages now rests with the landlord - and if they don't co-operate, you'll get all your money back anyway. Even better, if landlords do not put your deposit into one of these schemes at the start of a tenancy, they won't be able to evict you and they may also have to pay you back three times your original deposit! We moved at Xmas and our deposit was held in one of these voluntary schemes - we got it all back minus the £30 we agreed to pay for cleaning the carpet ('cos we couldn't be arsed ourselves).
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