Many of you might think that the Deposit Scheme is just the next bureaucratic, useless feature on your tenancy contract. However, think again, The Deposit Scheme is actually your best friend and your best bet if you want to see your deposit ever, again.
Landlords in London have become ruthless and greedy, and they won’t stop in front of anything in order to squeeze your last penny once you decide to move out of their precious apartment. In order to avoid that, make sure once you sign the contract with your landlord to be/agent they put your deposit with the Deposit Scheme.
The reasons: all agents and landlords are pretty friendly until the dotted line has been signed. Once this happens, the agent stops caring because they got paid and you are of no interest (potential income) any more and your landlord does not care either because the current London contracts are usually much more beneficial and secure for the landlord – not for the tenant. So, except for the Deposit Scheme, nobody else is on the tenants’ side in the current market conditions. Of course, one might be extremely lucky and find a landlord from heaven but unfortunately most landlords come from hell.
The reality about rent payment – you have 3 months of let’s call it ‘gratis’ period. This means that if you are unable to pay your rent in 3 consecutive months, your landlord/agent cannot throw you out. This makes a lot of landlords nervous and that’s why they usually try to grill potential tenants for all kinds of references and credit history – it is not like those cannot be invented but hey, if it gives them peace of mind, who cares? So, if the rent is not paid over those 3 consecutive months the tenants get thrown out and lose the deposit and this should be the only case in which the deposit is lost. Always make sure that there is a check-in inventory done, once you move into your new dream home, this will save you a lot of hassle once you need to move out.
If the tenants take care of the apartment/room/house there should not be any loss incurred from the deposit. Although, many landlords will try to convince you otherwise. And here comes the Deposit Scheme. If you are a tenant and you are renting from a landlord that seems greedy and unreasonable and you fear that you will lose your deposit in the end, the best thing to do is not to pay your last rent. Under the Deposit Scheme, tenants have the right to do that and the rent money gets deducted from the deposit. A deposit is usually 6-8 weeks of rent, which means that if the last rent is not paid half/3/4 of the deposit are saved. The landlord/agent will try to convince you that you cannot do that, however it is your right to do it. You can always call the Scheme to confirm with them that this is legal, so you can have it writing.
This action of disobedience will most likely enrage your landlord, however you should not give into any threats (the landlord has no legal right to threaten you). Most likely after that, once you check out from the house, the landlord will start coming up with all kinds of damages that you have caused to their precious flat. Ask for everything in writing, including the amounts the landlord is claiming per item. Make sure that there is a check out/inventory report in your possession as well. All this will be used for evidence in a potential dispute.
If the landlord tries to retrieve money directly from you or you do not agree with their claims for the deposit, just contact the Deposit Scheme and raise a complain and file for a dispute. Then you will be sent a form to fill out, and you will be asked to provide any additional evidence in regards to the claim. Your landlord will be asked the same. Once you submit your claim it takes approximately 28 working days for the decision to be made. When you state your claim do not use emotions, be as objective as possible and use only facts. This strategy is most likely to win. The Deposit Scheme’s decision is final and cannot be appealed. The only way it can be appealed is through a private Court Case which is not worth it, as it costs too much money to open one.
The Deposit Scheme does protect tenants for real, and is a really helpful institution with helpful advisers who will take your call if you have a question. So, do not even think twice if you should put your deposit in the scheme.