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Tenancy deposits now protected under new legislation

Tenant deposits will now be protected by new schemes set up by the Department for Social Development.
Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Tenancy Deposit Schemes which come into force on 1 April 2013 will be administered by four organisations. Capita, Letting Protection Service (LPS), My Deposits and The Dispute Service (TDS) were appointed by Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland earlier this year.

Welcoming the new law, Minister McCausland said: "Tenancy deposit schemes have been available in Great Britain for a number of years and I am delighted that I can now offer this to Northern Ireland tenants, giving them the same protections as others in the United Kingdom.

“People living in the private rented sector have frequently experienced difficulty getting their tenancy deposit repaid, even when they are entitled to it. These new schemes will now remove this problem as all tenancy deposits received by landlords from 1 April 2013 will be protected. It will provide assurances for both tenants and landlords alike ensuring long drawn out legal proceedings are not required.

“The four administrators have been holding workshops and information sessions throughout Northern Ireland advising landlords of the new schemes. I welcome this approach and landlords continued involvement as the schemes become operational. These new schemes will encourage a more professional approach to tenancy deposit practice and make the private sector a more desirable option for tenants.”

Tenancy Deposit Schemes ensure good practice in deposit handling so that when a tenant pays a deposit and is entitled to get it back, they can be assured that this will happen. The schemes will also assist with the resolution of disputes by having a Dispute Resolution mechanism.

Notes to editors:

  1. A photograph of the Minister with the scheme administrators is available to download from the Department for Social Development collection on flickr
  2. Additional information on Tenancy Deposit Schemes is available on nidirect website
  3. There will be no cost to the Department for Social Development for the setting up of Tenancy Deposit Schemes in Northern Ireland.
  4. The administrators have been appointed for up to five years with the option of an extension.
  5. The legislation provides for two types of schemes to operate:
    a. Custodial Scheme where the full deposit is handed over to the scheme administrators.
    b. Insurance scheme where the landlord holds on to the deposit and pays a fee and any contribution towards insurance to the scheme administrators.
  6. In total four applications were submitted to administer the scheme. Each administrator appointed fully satisfied the comprehensive list of qualifying criteria.
  7. Media enquiries to DSD Communications Team on 028 9082 9454 or e-mail press.office@dsdni.gov.uk. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.