Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My ten top posts on tenancy deposits (as @ 19/08/09)

I have done a lot of writing about the tenancy deposit protection scheme (TDPS) regulations and the problems they have thrown up. You can read them all of course by following the link to the tenancy agreements tag. But which ones are most worth reading? Here are ten suggestions:

1. Tenancy Deposit Protection - 62% failure

This has to be my most popular post ever. It was written over a year ago and still shows up in my stats as one of the most visited posts. It has an amazing 58 comments - people kept asking questions which I answered, until eventually I felt it was getting silly and stopped. If you ask a question there now I won't answer it, in fact it won't even get allowed in now, as the post is officially closed. It is still worth reading though, not so much for the post itself but for the questions and comments which follow.

2. Complaints about the DPS
This is another popular one in the stats, probably because of its title. Many people do have problems, with all the tenancy deposit companies, and this post (and the posts linked from it) gives some guidance on what you should do. In particular there are a few comments on using the Arbitration Act to challenge unfair decisions (a suggestion made by barrister Francis Davey). This post also features the fabulous DPS tea cosy.

If you have a complaint against your TDPS, you should also read:

3. Complaints against the DPS - the governments response
This reproduces a letter sent to one of my clients, who wrote to the Department of Communities and Local Government with a complaint about a DPS arbitration. With thanks to my client (you know who you are) for letting me reproduce the letter.

4. Deposit protection avoidance
This is another popular one and looks at ways landlords can avoid using the tenancy deposit protection schemes. It should be read in conjunction with:

5. Advance rent = deposit?
This looks at a case which throws doubt on the legality of the practice of taking two months rent in advance instead of one month and a deposit. This course of action is not recommended by me now (although before this case I thought, along with many others, that it was acceptable).

6. Landlords out of pocket for deposits - DPS may best best after all
This is an important post as it explains why landlords may be vulnerable if their agent becomes insolvent and the tenancy deposit money is lost.

7. Tenancy deposits with student lets
This is a helpful post for landlords with students, as it looks at what you should do if you have lots of tenants and guarantors signing at different times, before the start of the tenancy. With thanks to Roger for providing the information.

8. Four more cases on possession proceedings
There are many case reports on the Landlord Law Blog on tenancy deposits, but this post looks at four (although one is on licensing), and gives a useful overview of the relationship between the TDPS rules and possession proceedings. If you are interested in case law, you should also follow the link to read about the Sheffield case, one of the very few cases which have been appealed (although sadly, not to the Court of Appeal).

9. New tenancy deposit case - deposit paid before 7 April 2007
This considers a useful case (albeit, as with all of them, a county court decision) as it goes to prove what we lawyers have always thought. Ie that deposits paid before 7 April 2007 where the tenancy is renewed, are caught by the regulations.

10. Tenancy Deposit muddle
Finally, this is an example of the byzantine complexity of the TDPS rules, and how new interpretations are always springing up to ambush us, after we thought we had got a grip on them. With thanks to Alan who drew the forum post mentioned, to my attention.

So there you are. Ten posts (plus linked posts). These will give you a flavour of this, surprisingly complex, subject. If you want more, you will find them all here.

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