Are £1.2bn of tenancy deposits “at risk”?

 

It’s literally a billion-pound scandal. The government must take action on tenancy deposits.

 

1,500,000 renters could be at risk of losing their deposits after research revealed a third believe their bond has never been placed in a deposit protection scheme.

A new survey suggests renters in 33% of the UK’s 4.5m rented homes think that their landlord has not placed their money into a compulsory deposit protection scheme (DPS).

This equates to in the region of £1,200,000,000 of deposits which could be unprotected.

An additional 35% of renters do not know the whereabouts of their deposit – even though landlords and letting agents are legally obliged to inform tenants which of the three government-backed deposit protection schemes their deposit has been secured with.

The research – carried out by price comparison website Comparethemarket.com – suggests almost one third (30%) of tenants need to chase their landlord to get  maintenance and repair work carried out, with almost one in ten (9%) tenants claiming it has taken up to a month for issues at their properties to be fixed.

I head the #ditchthedeposit campaign, which is calling on the government to replace traditional tenancy deposits with deposit-free renting, allowing the UK’s £4.5bn of tenancy deposits to be invested in housing.

Our research has revealed that crooked landlords and letting agents are convicted to thieving more than £1m of deposits every year, but we’ve always said that we feared the true figure could be hundreds of times higher – and this survey backs up our belief.

 

What’s also scandalous is the sheer number of renters who seem to be waiting weeks for repair work to be carried out. Imagine waiting a month for the boiler to be fixed at this time of year, especially with a young family.

Deposit free renting doesn’t just make it easier to find and keep good tenants while protecting landlords better, and at the same time making it cheaper to rent – by delegating damage claims to an independent insurer it guarantees that if repair work is needed, it gets done.

I am founder and Managing Director of deposit-free renting firm Dlighted. Dlighted uses low cost insurance to protect landlords against hundreds of thousands of pounds of property damage, unpaid rent and legal costs, while allowing them to find tenants faster by allowing customers to rent with zero deposit.