As from this April most private tenants in England and Wales will now have their tenancy deposits protected so landlords can no longer unreasonably withhold their rent – following a joint campaign by Shelter, Citizens Advice – and backed by Rosie Cooper MP.
Last year more than three-quarters of all tenants who had their money withheld claimed it was retained unfairly. With the average deposit now reaching £700 in England, losing a deposit can cause real hardship and lead to homelessness.
The new tenant rights coming into force from April 6 will be good news for both tenants and landlords. Rosie is raising awareness of the new scheme that will help protect West Lancashire tenants’ money and also help to resolve disputes over deposits at the end of tenancy.
From April, all new deposits for assured short hold tenancies (ASTs) must be protected. The new law requires all landlords to be in a Government-approved scheme and there are sanctions against landlords who don’t comply with the new law. Anyone signing a tenancy agreement after April 6 should ask their landlord or agent how their deposit will be protected.
Rosie said “This is great news and will directly benefit thousands of tenants who face problems getting their deposit returned, plus provide a vital safety net for both tenants and responsible landlords. So from April 6, before signing a new contract, ask your landlord or agent which Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme they are part of as your money will only be protected if your landlord has signed up, which they are now required by law to do.”
Adam Sampson, Chief Executive of Shelter said “Shelter helps thousands of people each year with deposit problems and has campaigned for many years to get deposit protection introduced, so we are delighted to see the new Government scheme being rolled out, making the private rented sector fairer for everyone.”
Teresa Perchard, Director of Policy, Citizens Advice said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Government recognised that tenants deserve the assurance that their deposit is held safely and they are no longer at risk simply because rogue landlords refuse to return it when they move out. Statutory protection for deposits is something we have been calling for, for many years. We have worked with the Government all the way through on this and we now look forward to working with them on the national roll-out of the new scheme.”