BELFAST, Northern Ireland, July 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Most tenants who have had tenancy deposits withheld by landlords and letting agents think money was kept unfairly, according to a survey published today.
The survey conducted by TDS Northern Ireland revealed that 78% of tenants who did not have their last deposit returned in full thought some or all of the deductions were unfair.
In a move to prevent deposits being used unfairly the Northern Ireland Executive introduced new regulations last year requiring landlords to protect them with a tenancy deposit scheme. The schemes also provide free dispute resolution by an impartial adjudicator if tenants wish to challenge unfair deductions.
Cleaning was the most common reason why tenants' previous landlords deducted money from their deposits, appearing in 49% of cases.
Managing Director Ben Beadle commented;
"Cleaning is always a major cause of dispute; what is or isn't "clean" can be down to opinion and difficult to prove or disprove once the tenancy has ended.
"Prior to tenancy deposit protection there was little a tenant could do to challenge unfair deductions, particularly over cleaning. Landlords must now ensure they have a good record of the condition of the property at the start and at the end of the tenancy using and inventory and check in/check out reports, and give to the tenant so they can agree it is accurate. This way landlords can reliably show the tenant, or if necessary a TDS NI adjudicator, why their deductions from the deposit are fair."
The survey also shows many landlords are putting themselves at risk of serious fines by not providing tenants with documents required by law called 'prescribed information', confirming that their deposit is protected, explaining how the scheme works, and what to do if they wish to dispute a deduction from their deposit.
Ben Beadle continued;
"It is very worrying that 32% of tenants said they had not received prescribed information forms. Most tenants were aware that their deposit was protected with TDS Northern Ireland which is reassuring, however this is not enough. If tenants are not provided with the legally required documents landlords are putting themselves at risk of serious fines."
SOURCE Tenancy Deposit Scheme Northern Ireland