Thursday, April 02, 2009

Complaints against the DPS - the governments response

There has been quite a bit of discussion below about problems a few landlords have had with arbitration's carried out for the DPS, in particular relating to evidence not being passed over to the adjudicator. One of my landlord members had a similar problem, and she wrote to the Department of Communities and Local Government to complain. She has provided me with a copy of the letter and authorised me to reproduce part of it on this blog, as it may be of interest. The relevant parts read as follows:

"I am sorry that you are not happy with the way the DPS handled your complaint. The Tenancy Deposit protection measures introduced in the Housing Act 2004 are designed to safeguard the interests of both landlords and tenants, ensuring good practice in deposit handling, so that when a tenant pays a deposit and is entitled to get it back, he or she can be assured that this will happen. As you are aware, each scheme offers a free alternative dispute resolution service (ADR) to deal with disputes over the return of the deposit. It is also open to the landlord or tenant to choose to have the dispute dealt with through the Courts. Where both the landlord and tenant agree to using the ADR service the decision made by the adjudicator is binding and there is no right of appeal.

I should explain that the DPS is a government authorised scheme but is not run by the government. We are not able to deal with formal complaints at Communities and Local Government, although we monitor the scheme closely and are always interested to hear if particular issues arise. Each provider submits Key Performance indicators to the Department every month showing how they are performing against targets, and penalties are imposed for poor performance. Regular meetings are also held with each of the scheme providers to discuss the type of performance related issues you have raised.

We are satisfied that the DPS takes any complaints very seriously and will investigate thoroughly through their formal complaints procedure."
It may be therefore that if you have a ‘performance related issue’ in connection with an arbitration, a letter to the Department of Communities and Local Government may help to resolve it for future users, although it will not help with your own case.

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