A survey has revealed that 38% of landlords have never heard of tenancy deposit protection schemes which the CEO of one scheme said was 'worrying'.
The figure relates to the number of worried landlords calling Landlord Action’s legal helpline for advice on how to evict a tenant from their property.
The firm says that 38% of landlords who are calling have failed to place a tenant's deposit into a government recognise deposit scheme within 30 days of receiving it.
Landlords must protect their tenant’s deposit
Worryingly for the sector, many of these landlords had never heard of the three schemes which were launched in 2007.
Eddie Hooker, the CEO of Government approved MyDeposits, said: “The findings are worrying since all three schemes have seen a year-on-year increase for deposits being protected.
“We should not be complacent since there is more work to be done to ensure that tenant deposit protection is embraced by landlords.”
He added that letting agents and landlords need to be aware of their legal responsibilities in protecting a tenant's deposit.
Approved tenant deposit protection schemes
All approved protection schemes have information on how landlords can comply with the law including the relevant timescales on their website.
Paul Shamplina, of Landlord Action, said: “Too many landlords do not know enough about their responsibilities and many are failing to comply with protection law for deposits.
“This has a knock-on effect when landlords want to evict a tenant through a section 21 notice.”
He explained that the only legal way for landlords to evict a tenant who is refusing to move voluntarily and who has not breached their tenancy agreement or is in arrears, is to gain possession via a court order.
However, to do this a landlord must first return the tenant's deposit.
Desperate landlords call legal helpline
Mr Shamplina added that his firm is now receiving an increasing number of calls from desperate landlords who are being sued by tenants for compensation because their deposit had not been properly protected.
He said: “Landlords need to be fully versed in their responsibilities, this is a business and, it seems to me, tenants are becoming savvier when it comes to the legislation.”
Tenants have issues with letting agents and landlords
Meanwhile, a study by the Association of Residential Letting Agents has revealed that more than half of tenants have had a problem with their letting agent or landlord in the past five years.
The most common problem, experienced by 31% of tenants, was the time taken to resolve problems such as broken boilers and heaters.
Tenants complained that once a problem was highlighted they had to wait an average of 36 days for it to be resolved while one in seven tenants never had their problem resolved at all.
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