The Tenancy Deposit Scheme is sending its congratulations to the writers of an EastEnders storyline tackling problems in the private rented sector.
A recent episode saw Albert Square landlord Masood Ahmed terminating Carmel Kazemi’s tenancy in the property he lets to her.
When Carmel asks for her deposit back, Masood says he needs to carry out an end of tenancy inspection before returning her money.
Although Carmel has left the property in good order, Masood - who is facing financial difficulties - attempts to sabotage the return of her deposit by pouring coffee over the carpet.
He then arranges to meet Carmel to discuss the deposit where he accuses her of causing the damage, claiming he has photographic evidence and will withhold the deposit until he has assessed the value of the repairs.
Commenting on the storyline, TDS director of dispute resolution Mike Morgan says: “Masood had a legal obligation to protect Carmel’s deposit with a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of receiving the money however it’s not clear whether he did in the storyline. These schemes exist to protect tenants from rogue property-owners absconding with or unnecessarily withholding deposits and to give upstanding landlords and lettings agents an impartial adjudication of disputes.
“My advice to Carmel would be that she should have carried out her own inspection when she took on her lease, documenting any evidence of existing damage and reporting it to her landlord and keeping relevant records of the correspondence. If an inventory is agreed at the start of a tenancy, disagreements on damages at the end can be avoided.”