Swindon AdvertiserSwindon's private tenants advised to keep their rent deposits secure (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Swindon's private tenants advised to keep their rent deposits secure

Swindon Advertiser: CAB’S Claire Newport CAB’S Claire Newport

THE days when landlords could keep tenants’ deposits for no reason are over – but the Citizens’ Advice Bureau says not enough tenants know.

Swindon’s branch of the CAB has enlisted the Adver’s help in getting the message across.

Since 2007 private landlords and agents have been legally obliged to sign up to one of three Government-backed schemes, binding them to arbitration if they wish to keep a deposit or part of one.

If they fail to sign up to or abide by the scheme, they risk being ordered by a district court to pay up to three times the deposit to the tenant.

In spite of this the CAB says many tenants have no idea they are protected.

Swindon branch chief executive Claire Newport said: “In the past there was little tenants could do if their landlord chose to keep all or part of their deposit at the end of a tenancy.

“This law should spell an end to all that, but it relies on tenants checking that their landlords have signed up to one of the schemes and that their money is protected.”

Swindon CAB advice services manager Paula Austin said: “We probably get something like two or three cases per week.

“Recently we had a person who ended a tenancy and felt she’d done everything she had to do. She hadn’t caused any damage and needed her deposit because she was on a low income and planned to used it for a new tenancy.

“She then found that her deposit was not protected and the landlord told her he wasn’t going to return it. He made charges of some hundreds of pounds for cleaning.”

Realising her only redress was through complex civil court proceedings with no guarantee of success, she had to let the money go. “The landlord got away with it,” Paula added.

Depending on individual circumstances, landlords must protect deposits by registering them with The Deposit Protection Service (0844 472 7000 or www.depositprotection.com) The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (0845 226 7837 or www.tds.gb.com) or My Deposits (0871 703 0552 or www.mydeposits.co.uk) Claire Newport urges tenants to check with landlords or prospective landlords to make sure they were registered.

She added: “If you find your deposit is not protected, get advice straight away. If your landlord is threatening you with notice to quit and your deposit is not protected, do get advice as you may have a defence against eviction.”

Swindon CAB is at 1 Faringdon Road and can be reached on 08444 994114, and a fact sheet about deposit schemes can be found at www.adviceguide.org.uk

Comments (4)

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12:49am Mon 26 Nov 12

Town Of The Future says...

The same happened to me as in the example above. My landlord charged new for old and a full property revamp on only minor cosmetic damage and kept our whole deposit BE WARNED: the schemes are flawed.
Its up to the landlord to provide YOUR details to the scheme, and they do nothing about it when the landlord commits fraud, despite accepting it happened.
Our landlord, did not register our deposit. Once we left, he then registered it, gave the deposit scheme false in formation, and used the property address that we moved out from.
Then he simply stalled us, whilst he 'legitimately' claimed our deposit, which the scheme happily handed over due to our 'lack of response'.
Only after he had the money safely sat in his account did he then pass on the details, but by this time, it was all too late.
We reported it to the scheme who accepted it was fraud, but did nothing except tell us to report it to the police.
The police we uninterested as the officer on the front desk could not decide whether providing false information to claim money, was in fact fraud.
Basically, our landlord got away with it, by breaking the law.
INSIST on seeing your copy of the documents within 2 weeks of moving into the property. That is the law! If you end your tenancy, DO NOT move out until you see the deposit schemes documents. You should have them posted to you directly. Also check the details they have for you are correct. Because like in our case, if its inaccurate, they cant contact you in case of dispute, and you can wave goodbye to your deposit.
The same happened to me as in the example above. My landlord charged new for old and a full property revamp on only minor cosmetic damage and kept our whole deposit BE WARNED: the schemes are flawed. Its up to the landlord to provide YOUR details to the scheme, and they do nothing about it when the landlord commits fraud, despite accepting it happened. Our landlord, did not register our deposit. Once we left, he then registered it, gave the deposit scheme false in formation, and used the property address that we moved out from. Then he simply stalled us, whilst he 'legitimately' claimed our deposit, which the scheme happily handed over due to our 'lack of response'. Only after he had the money safely sat in his account did he then pass on the details, but by this time, it was all too late. We reported it to the scheme who accepted it was fraud, but did nothing except tell us to report it to the police. The police we uninterested as the officer on the front desk could not decide whether providing false information to claim money, was in fact fraud. Basically, our landlord got away with it, by breaking the law. INSIST on seeing your copy of the documents within 2 weeks of moving into the property. That is the law! If you end your tenancy, DO NOT move out until you see the deposit schemes documents. You should have them posted to you directly. Also check the details they have for you are correct. Because like in our case, if its inaccurate, they cant contact you in case of dispute, and you can wave goodbye to your deposit. Town Of The Future
  • Score: 0

9:25am Mon 26 Nov 12

RichardR1 says...

Clearly this front desk person lacked basic Theft Act knowledge.
Clearly this front desk person lacked basic Theft Act knowledge. RichardR1
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Tue 27 Nov 12

clixon2010 says...

We are with a private landlord, a very respectable one with a large number of properties in the swindon area too! he put our deposit into one of these schemes and is a credit to the decent landlords in the town. However, there is a flaw in the system and several dodgy landlords are still in place! I helped my friends move to the isle of wight, the place was spotless when they moved out! apart from all the mouldy walls that the landlord refused to repair, despite being requested by environmental health to do it! the house was unhabitable. The landlord trades as a builder from Wootton Bassett and is a cowboy! rather than give the deposit back, he lied to the council stating that it cost him thousands of pounds to repair damage done! the deposit was never refunded because he also claimed that the tenants stole the white goods when they asked him to remove his goods into storage so they could put their own in! such landlords are a disgrace and should be struck off of the reputable landlords list! I've had an indian landlord do this to me before too years ago! if they can bend the scheme, they will and in this case, this landlord has flouted the law and lied to the council about repairs and kept the deposit that was not rightfully his! bent as a nine bob note is not the word for it!
We are with a private landlord, a very respectable one with a large number of properties in the swindon area too! he put our deposit into one of these schemes and is a credit to the decent landlords in the town. However, there is a flaw in the system and several dodgy landlords are still in place! I helped my friends move to the isle of wight, the place was spotless when they moved out! apart from all the mouldy walls that the landlord refused to repair, despite being requested by environmental health to do it! the house was unhabitable. The landlord trades as a builder from Wootton Bassett and is a cowboy! rather than give the deposit back, he lied to the council stating that it cost him thousands of pounds to repair damage done! the deposit was never refunded because he also claimed that the tenants stole the white goods when they asked him to remove his goods into storage so they could put their own in! such landlords are a disgrace and should be struck off of the reputable landlords list! I've had an indian landlord do this to me before too years ago! if they can bend the scheme, they will and in this case, this landlord has flouted the law and lied to the council about repairs and kept the deposit that was not rightfully his! bent as a nine bob note is not the word for it! clixon2010
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Tue 27 Nov 12

clixon2010 says...

We are with a private landlord, a very respectable one with a large number of properties in the swindon area too! he put our deposit into one of these schemes and is a credit to the decent landlords in the town. However, there is a flaw in the system and several dodgy landlords are still in place! I helped my friends move to the isle of wight, the place was spotless when they moved out! apart from all the mouldy walls that the landlord refused to repair, despite being requested by environmental health to do it! the house was unhabitable. The landlord trades as a builder from Wootton Bassett and is a cowboy! rather than give the deposit back, he lied to the council stating that it cost him thousands of pounds to repair damage done! the deposit was never refunded because he also claimed that the tenants stole the white goods when they asked him to remove his goods into storage so they could put their own in! such landlords are a disgrace and should be struck off of the reputable landlords list! I've had an indian landlord do this to me before too years ago! if they can bend the scheme, they will and in this case, this landlord has flouted the law and lied to the council about repairs and kept the deposit that was not rightfully his! bent as a nine bob note is not the word for it!
We are with a private landlord, a very respectable one with a large number of properties in the swindon area too! he put our deposit into one of these schemes and is a credit to the decent landlords in the town. However, there is a flaw in the system and several dodgy landlords are still in place! I helped my friends move to the isle of wight, the place was spotless when they moved out! apart from all the mouldy walls that the landlord refused to repair, despite being requested by environmental health to do it! the house was unhabitable. The landlord trades as a builder from Wootton Bassett and is a cowboy! rather than give the deposit back, he lied to the council stating that it cost him thousands of pounds to repair damage done! the deposit was never refunded because he also claimed that the tenants stole the white goods when they asked him to remove his goods into storage so they could put their own in! such landlords are a disgrace and should be struck off of the reputable landlords list! I've had an indian landlord do this to me before too years ago! if they can bend the scheme, they will and in this case, this landlord has flouted the law and lied to the council about repairs and kept the deposit that was not rightfully his! bent as a nine bob note is not the word for it! clixon2010
  • Score: 0

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