Social Development Minister, Mervyn Storey MLA, has encouraged students, and all those living in privately rented accommodation, to ensure their deposits are protected.
The ‘Tenancy Deposit Scheme’ reminder comes at a time when students are arranging accommodation before they begin the new academic year. The Scheme, which requires private landlords to protect a tenant’s deposit, was introduced to make sure tenants get their deposit back, if they are entitled to it, at the end of their tenancy.
Minister Storey said: “Many students will soon be taking up tenancies with a private landlord. I am therefore taking this opportunity to make them aware that their landlord has a responsibility to ensure deposits are protected.
“This is a protection set out in legislation to ensure tenants get their deposit back, if so entitled, at the end of a tenancy. Undoubtedly the experience of most private housing tenants is positive. However, one of the more common issues that arise is around the return of tenants’ deposits and the disputes that can follow.
“This can be avoided, and I would ask that all those renting privately have a conversation with their landlord on whether their deposit is protected. It is your deposit, It is your money, make sure it is protected.”
The law requires a private landlord who has taken a deposit on or after 1 April 2013 to protect it in an approved scheme within 14 days of receiving it. They are also required to notify the tenant within 28 days of receiving it where, and how, that deposit has been protected. If the required information is not provided to the tenant, they should report it as soon as possible after the 28 day period to the Environmental Health Department at their local council.
The Minister continued: “The Tenancy Deposit Scheme reassures tenants that their money is safe. To date, over 43,000 deposits have been protected amounting to over £24 million. I would therefore encourage students, and all those who rent privately, to ensure that their landlord has the same protections in place for them.”