This week’s #Expertview is written by The Depositary who recently integrated with TDS Custodial, having already integrated with TDS Insured, giving their clients an optimised service-offering regardless of which Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) deposit solution agents opt for.

Tenancy deposit disputes are an unavoidable part of the tenancy deposit reconciliation process. They happen. It doesn’t matter how carefully you communicate, how diligent you are, how detailed, how understanding or how friendly you are – as an agent, you will file disputes.

Deposit disputes happen on approximately 1% of registered deposits. Not all deposits reconcile each year – this, therefore, means a ‘true average’ figure of around 2-3% of concluding tenancies end in a dispute. However, this is just an average – there are many agents across the UK who (usually through no fault of their own) are filing disputes in 5-10% of concluding tenancies.

A recent survey of agents, taken by The Depositary, showed that on average, it takes around an hour of work to submit a Dispute File. However, many were quick to point out that, whilst this may be the average, many have had comprehensive and complex disputes to collate and upload – often with these taking most, if not all, of a day to compile, upload and submit. When you factor in that this is happening after an agent has already invested 4-6 hours progressing that tenancy from notice – you start to really understand where an agent’s property management/admin resources are being drained.

For this reason, a lot of effort, energy and focus was spent by both The Depositary and Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), in the early stages of development, looking at how we could solve this problem. What quickly became apparent is that, because The Depositary platform takes a ‘document & evidence-based’ approach, we already catalogue everything. The fact that we have ring-fenced negotiations around itemised deductions, also means individual issues can be submitted rather than an entire case file.

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So, should a tenancy be flagged for dispute within The Depositary, here is what the process looks like through to submitting the dispute file to TDS:

  • An entire deposit or itemised deductions can be flagged for dispute within The Depositary by (depending on settings configuration) the agent, landlord or tenant. There are process safeguards in place that prevent a dispute being raised within The Depositary before a reasonable amount of time and/or negotiation has taken place
  • ‘Hail Mary’ – our first past the post (FPTP) final offer feature to avoid a dispute proceeding
  • Additional evidence – before submitting a deposit dispute file via The Depositary you have the opportunity to upload additional evidence not already in the platform – however, this should rarely be needed as all applicable evidence should have been uploaded during the proposal & negotiation stage
  • Submit Dispute – click the button and you are done

On average, it takes 3 clicks of a mouse to submit a Dispute File for adjudication via The Depositary to TDS – turning hours of thankless work into seconds. Collaborative innovation that works. To find out more about why switching to TDS is the right option for you. Discover all the benefits our customers are already making the most of.

Book a demo with TDS and The Depositary where you can find out more about the core functionality of the end-to-end platform.

About the author

Kristjan Byfield

Krisjan, The Depositary

Kristjan has been a tenant in London since 1998, living at 9 different properties – and counting. After a brief stint as a professional actor, he became an estate & letting agent in 2003. In 2004, together with An Deckers, they decided to launch their own agency – determined to build a service that placed both Landlords and Tenants on equal footing at its core. He is passionate about the amazing hard work that great letting agents across the UK do every day, frustrated by the way they are perceived and referred to in the press and determined to establish their value in the eyes of tenants and landlords alike. He is driven to help develop a rental sector that works for all and is probably best described as the Viking of Proptech.

About Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.

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TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.

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