Some 1.5m tenants could be at risk of losing their deposits, claims a campaigner for insurance-based alternatives to deposits.
Ajay Jagota, head of the #ditchthedeposit campaign, says a recent Comparethemarket study reveals that tenants in 33 per cent of the UK’s 4.5m rented homes think that their landlord has not placed their money into a compulsory deposit protection scheme.
Jagota says this equates to around £1,200,000,000 of deposits which could be unprotected.
An additional third of renters do not know the whereabouts of their deposit – even though landlords and letting agents are legally obliged to inform tenants which of the three government-backed deposit protection schemes their deposit has been secured with.
The research also suggests some 30 per cent of tenants need to chase their landlord to get maintenance and repair work carried out, with almost one in 10 claiming it has taken up to a month for issues at their properties to be fixed.
Now Jagota - who wants the government to replace traditional tenancy deposits with deposit-free renting - says: “This is literally a billion-pound scandal. The government must take action. Crooked landlords and letting agents are convicted to thieving more than £1m of deposits every year, but we’ve always said that we feared the true figure could be hundreds of times higher – and this survey backs up our belief.”
He says the number of tenants who have to wait weeks for repairs is “scandalous” and insists that deposit-free alternatives offer better protection for landlords and would make it cheaper for tenants to rent.
“By delegating damage claims to an independent insurer it guarantees that if repair work is needed, it gets done” he insists.