Monday, October 20, 2008

The Deposit Protection Service – problems answered

Note - the Landlord Law Blog has now moved to www.landlordlawblog.co.uk.

Since the tenancy deposit protection regulations came into force in April 2007 I have done quite a few blog entries on this subject, and there have been many comments from landlords and tenants. Some of these have been highly critical of the company running the custodial scheme, The Deposit Protection Service (DPS). In view of this, I thought it was only fair that I should contact them to give them an opportunity to respond to the criticisms which have been made about their service.

The DPS do not think it appropriate that they respond directly in this blog. However from what they have said to me, it appears that most of the problems complained of can be answered as follows:

  • It is essential that the information inputted when registering the deposit is correct. For example, if incorrect bank details are given then the claim cannot be progressed. If this happens the DPS will write to the landlord telling them that the information inputted is invalid and inviting them to deal with this so that their claim can be progressed.
  • When making a claim to have the deposit repaid, it is essential that the correct repayment ID is given otherwise the claim will be rejected.
  • The DPS also need to hear from both the landlord and the tenant before the deposit money can be repaid. It is up to the party seeking repayment to chase the other party. The DPS will not do this for you.
  • If the other party refuses to co-operate, then the single claim process can be followed. This may end in Adjudication if the other party does respond, otherwise the claim will be settled without the other party. Alternatively, if both parties are contactable and cooperating then the adjudication process can be used. In both these instances the party wanting to claim the money will have to apply to the DPS for the necessary forms.
  • The DPS do not deliberately delay payments to accrue more interest, they cannot do this even if they wanted to - they can only claim their agreed fees. They also point out that the Government have no access to these funds and do not make any financial gains from this scheme

For more information about the DPS service, you can visit their web-site at www.depositprotection.com, and there is a telephone helpline 0870 7071 707.

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14 comments:

John said...

Hi,

This blog is great, some really usefull information for tenants, thanks. I was just wondering if you could help with a query, what protection, if any, is there for tenants on an AST signed before 7/4/07 with the property vacated on 22/9/08 and the deposit withheld?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks,

John

Tessa said...

If the landlord refuses to return the deposit, the only thing the tenant can do is bring a claim for a County Court Judgement.

Tenants unsure how to do this might find the Landlord-Law Kit 2 helpful as this has detailed instructions and online support.

Anonymous said...

I am a tenant who was given permission by my landlord to break our 12 month shorthold tenancy agreement (once new tenants had been found). I vacated the property and the Landlord returned my deposit to me. However, she had not held my deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Am I eligible to make a claim against her?

Tessa said...

You may be. However as you have not suffered any loss, and as it looks as if your landlord helped you out when she did not have to by allowing you to leave early, a Judge would not be very enthusiastic about making the order, and would probably look for reasons to refuse it.

H said...

Hi,

I am having ongoing problems with the (Deposit Protection Service) DPS. Essentially, they have paid the bulk of my deposit to my Landlady, despite stating I am entitled to my full deposit being returned. They refuse to rectify the situation. Has anyone else had a similar problem?
As I haven't made any headway with DPS directly, I am trying to find out who regulates them, as they claim the Financial Services Authority doesn't, but don't state who does.

Tessa said...

The DPS have a formal complaints service - for details see clause 32 of their terms and conditions here.

However I have mentioned your post to my contact at DPS - he says if you send details he will investigate. Please send these to me initially at tessa@landlordlaw.co.uk and I will forward them on to him.

Marbles said...

Hi
This blog is really interesting as I also have complaints against the DPS. I am a landlord and just had a shocking case with DPS, whereby they awarded the desposit to the tenants despite them being in breach of contract (tenants left 3.5 months into a 12 mth contract) as well as causing £1000 worth of damages. The adjudicator's reasoning was dire to say the least- he has not responded to say why he did not look at the contract clause and on costs, says he didnt see the reciepts - despite me sending these in and calling the DPS at the time to confirm that they were received.
The DPS are now saying the matter is closed, though they have not told me why the receipts were not passed to the ajudicator nor why he ignored the contract terms.
Help! How can I track down the Managing Director or make a complaint to the body that governs DPS?

Any advice you can give you would be greatly appreciated.

thanks
M

Tessa said...

I am making enquiries of the DPS, as to what is the proper course of action, and will post here once I have heard from them.

Tessa said...

My contact at the DPS has drawn my attention to the FAQ on the web-site. The FAQ relating to complaints says as follows:

"Although we constantly strive to offer you the highest possible level of service, there may be occasions when you feel you have cause for complaint.

When a complaint arises we will endeavour to resolve it to your satisfaction as quickly as possible.

The DPS aims to provide a first class standard to all parties and to do everything we can to ensure that you are satisfied. There are procedures in place to help resolve all complaints effectively, a copy of which can be provided on request. If you ever feel that we have fallen short of this standard and that you have cause for complaint, please contact us either: by writing to: The Deposit Protection Service, The Pavilions, Bridgwater Road, Bristol, BS99 6AA OR by email at: enquiries@depositprotection.com. The DPS will treat all complaints seriously and investigate the matter fully."

Tessa said...

Can people please now read my more recent posting on this topic here. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The problem is what to do when you have exhausted their so called complaints procedure. The DPS does not appear to be regulated, and many organisations designed to help tenants with problems aren't able to help either. There really does need to be a body that tenants or landlords can go to when the DPS have failed to properly protect a deposit. From my experience, they have no interest in providing correct information or admitting and correctly errors that they have made.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you could help. I vacated a flat i rented over a month ago and the DPS are refusing to speak with my landlord to get my deposit back to me purely because the email address they have for him doesn't match his actual email address. I'm now 700 pounds out of pocket for an error that the DPS have made and dont seem willing to correct.I have input my repayment ID etc but the landlord cant because thy never sent him his IDs. Is there anything i can do to resolve this quickly?

Tessa said...

Can you please see my more recent post here. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you that the DPS DO deliberately delay payments, but for what reasons, I am not sure. Why? I had issued a Single Claim over 40 days ago and yet it is still "waiting Landlord response". According to their own T&C, the landlord only have 14 days to respond! And yet over 40 days had passed and they still refused to return me my money. I am taking DPS, not my Landlord, to court now!