Buy To Let Updated:
Shelter says that it has seen an 80% increase in calls to its helplines about deposit protection problems. Tenancy deposit protection schemes were introduced in 2007 to ensure that landlords kept deposits safe, but awareness of the schemes remains low.
A recent survey showed that 57% of private renters were not aware of the schemes when their tenancy began, creating little incentive for landlords to comply with the law.
With more people worrying about their deposits, renters are being encouraged to make sure their deposits are protected.
The average deposit needed to move into a privately rented home is £979.
Having a deposit withheld when a tenancy ends can push people into debt and make it difficult for them to move to another property without the money for a new deposit.
Renters are being advised that landlords who fail to place their tenants' deposit in one of three authorised schemes within 30 days of a tenancy starting can now be taken to court, and could face strict penalties.
"It is extremely worrying that we have seen such a huge rise in problems with tenancy deposits at a time when privately renting is no longer just a stepping stone to something better, but a long term reality for more and more families," Shelter's chief executive Campbell Robb said.
"While we know that most landlords do the right thing, some cause absolute misery for their tenants; accusing them of owing thousands of pounds for damage that doesn't exist, or falsely claiming to have protected their deposit and then never returning it.'
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