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Days Of The Deposit Scam Are Numbered

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Don't normally post on this part of the forum, maybe this has already been discussed.

You pay your last month's rent, move out, and expect that big deposit cheque back from the landlord. Surprise surprise, they have invented numerous reasons to keep your money.

Not for much longer, it seems. Browsing on shelter.org.uk's website turned up this summary of the Housing Act 2004:

the Act requires that a deposit can only be taken if it is safeguarded by a tenancy deposit scheme. It places a duty on the Secretary of State to secure the availability of tenancy deposit schemes. These may be either custodial or based on insurance guarantees, and will need to offer dispute resolution independently of the courts. The clauses allow the Secretary of State to establish tenancy deposit schemes with private organisations, or to make arrangements with public bodies to secure the establishment of the schemes.

A landlord, or a letting agent acting on his behalf, will have 14 days after receiving the deposit to ensure that it is safeguarded by a scheme, and to provide the tenant with information about the scheme and how it works. Landlords who fail to comply will be subject to sanctions, and, until any deposit taken is safeguarded, they will lose the right to serve a tenant a ‘section 21 notice’ for possession with two months’ notice. If the landlord or his agent has not complied within 14 days, the tenant can now also apply for a court order, requiring the landlord to either return the deposit or pay it into a custodial scheme, and an order requiring the landlord to pay the tenant an amount equivalent to three times the deposit.

Shelter welcomes the changes, and believes that the increased certainty of facing financial penalties will motivate landlords to comply with the provisions.

These provisions are expected to come into effect in 2006.


PS, looks like Shelter.org.uk is a good general resource for tenants.


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Sounds lovely in theory but try getting a court order enforced... not very easy if your old landlord is the devious type and could cost you a fortune. The law is still seriously lacking untila 3rd party becomes the deposit holder. (Not that I am at all bitter at being owed £600 for the last 18 months or anything - the last contact with the old landlord was when he opened the door to the baliff and pretended to be someone else, saying that he was away until next year. The baliff accepted this and trundled off, cancelling his court appearance. *Sigh*)

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