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Tenancy Deposit Scheme has protected £10 million in its first year

In a recent press release, the Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, has reiterated the importance of protecting private tenants’ deposits. The Minister highlighted that within the first year of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme operating over 18,500 tenancy deposits, totalling £10 million, have been protected.

However, Janet Hunter, Director of Housing Rights Service, has stated: “Unfortunately one year on from the introduction of tenancy deposit schemes we are still hearing from some tenants whose deposits have not been protected. We would advise landlords to register deposits with any of the three authorised schemes as it benefits both them and their tenants should any disputes arise.”

The statutory Scheme, which came into effect on 1 April 2013, requires all private landlords to protect their tenants’ deposits with one of the independent Scheme Providers within 14 days of receiving the deposit. Once a deposit is protected, the tenant should receive prescribed information within 28 days of paying their deposit, informing them about the protection.

Penalties for failing to comply

Failure to comply with the Scheme should be reported to the Environmental Health Departments in the local councils. Landlords who fail to protect a deposit could be liable to a fixed penalty equalling three times the amount of the deposit. Or, if they are prosecuted for the breach, they could face a fine of £20,000.

Earlier this year we reported on a case taken by Larne Borough Council of a landlord who failed to comply with the Scheme. The landlord was issued with a fixed penalty; which in this case amounted to £1,650.

The case arose following investigations carried out by the council when they received a complaint from a private tenant that their landlord had failed to protect their deposit of £550. After looking into the matter, the council was satisfied that the landlord had indeed failed to protect the deposit and, therefore, an offence had been committed.

Professional Resource

Housing Rights Service has produced a comprehensive Professional Resource on the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Find out more or to order a copy.


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Private Tenancies, Legal

This article was written on 18 June 2014. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.