Almost a third of the most serious tenant complaints about landlords relate to deposit misuse, according to an online claims management firm.
Veriwise says 30% of cases considered by solicitors acting on its behalf were about ‘deposit abuse’, with 25% of the firm’s clients unsure if, or where, their deposit is protected.
Meanwhile, 21% of initial inquires made to the firm – set up to take on housing disrepair claims for renters – relate to damp and mould.
Veriwise founder Ajay Jagota, who also runs a lettings firm, says he’s been surprised by how many of the most serious complaints it has received about landlords continue to relate to deposits.
“The situation could be even worse that it looks – it’s truly alarming how many of the renters who come to us to complain about things like broken central heating, rodent infestations and dangerous electrics are also unable to tell us if and where their deposit is protected,” says Jagota (pictured).
“It stands to reason that the same landlords who don’t care about their legal responsibilities when it comes to living conditions would be equally negligent when it comes to deposits.”
It is 14 years since tenancy deposit protection became mandatory and landlords must register with one of three government-backed insurance-based or custodial deposit protection schemes operated by MyDeposits, Deposit Protection Service (DPS) and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).
But it’s not just landlords who don’t protect deposits; it recently transpired that due to an IT error, a number of deposits taken on assured shorthold tenancies by Purplebricks weren’t registered.