The relationship between landlord and tenant is rarely put under more pressure than when the issue of deposits is discussed. Unscrupulous landlords have left many tenants feeling deeply suspicious of the whole question of repairs and deductions.
Under pressure from Citizens Advice the government has introduced legislation which aims to solve many of these issues. The introduction of the [tag]Tenancy Deposit Scheme[/tag] in April 2007, covering England and Wales was welcomed by many. The main aim of the scheme is to provide clarity and security by means of having deposits held by a thirds party. All landlords letting property under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement are now required by law to register the deposit with an approved scheme.
Nick Dardalis of Steadfast Property Management, a cheltenham letting agent, points out that the vast majority of landlords have always behaved in a professional way, but sadly the few that were causing problems have a lot of answer for. One impact of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme is that the inventory now become a much more important document. If a landlord wants to deduct money from the deposit they need to be able to prove the condition of the damaged item at the start of the tenancy. An inaccurate inventory can ruin any attempt to recover money from the tenant.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme has been in force now for 4 months, and as expected there has been no adverse impact on the Buy-to-Let sector. There have been calls for lenders to make sure that prospective landlords are made aware of their responsibilities by including information about the TDS on mortgage offers, although as with all legislation ignorance is no excuse.
Perhaps this legislation could be seen as more reason for the professional landlord to use the services of a letting agent to handle these matters.