Here we are again with the Friday Newsround.
First – our commiserations to TDS for the recent horrific fire at their premises. Thankfully no-one was hurt. TDS report that there was no loss of data as everything was backed up.
Government will not act on the Caridon Property Ltd case
This is the case, you will remember, which said that if a landlord of a tenancy which started or was renewed on or after 1 October 2015 failed to serve a gas safety certificate on their tenants BEFORE they moved in – then section 21 is not available to them.
Effectively the tenancy will become an assured tenancy.
It seems that the government have confirmed to the National Landlords Association that they will not be doing anything about this.
NLA Chief Executive Officer Richard Lambert said:
Having pressed the Government to respond to this judgement for nearly a year, their answer seems to be, ’We’re not that bothered’.
The Ministry clearly doesn’t understand the impact it is having. The NLA Advice Line is taking more and more calls from landlords who thought they had complied with the law and now find themselves facing a disproportionate penalty for an administrative error. We cannot believe this is what Parliament actually intended.
Is it that the government can’t be bothered or is it because they are too tied up with Brexit to have time to deal with it? “After all” (they may be saying) “the gas regs have been around for a long time. Landlords should know by now how to comply with them.”
Plus, of course, there are few votes in doing something to help landlords.
My advice to landlords of tenancies which date before 1 October 2015 and who do not hold proof that the certificate was served in the proper way – don’t renew the tenancy. Allow it to run on as a periodic. Then you will not be caught by this.
Are tenancy deposit adjudications unfair?
Hamilton Fraser CEO Eddie Hooker was apparently told that this in the BBC radio program You and Yours (which I have not listened to as I can’t find it on iplayer).
I think its a bit unfair though to single out My Deposits, as my understanding is that all the adjudication schemes work in a similar way. However I have known cases of unfairness – it is a fairly ‘rough and ready’ or maybe we should say ‘cheap and cheerful’ system. For example, the adjudicators never visit the property and everything is decided on the paperwork sent by the parties.
However, most of the complaints I have been told about have been by landlords.
This is because landlords have to prove (on the balance of probabilities) that they are entitled to make a deduction – whereas, as its the tenant’s money anyway, they don’t have to prove anything. Other than throw doubt on the landlord’s case.
I have to say though that I find the reported facts of the case discussed on the program a bit weird – £81 for 6 light bulbs?
TDS appoint Independent Complaints Reviewer
However, TDS are probably feeling a bit smug just now (or would be if their premises had not just burned down) as they have just appointed Margaret Doyle to be their Independent Complaints Reviewer.
Her role is to look at the way TDS investigates complaints to make sure it is acting fairly and transparently.
Steve Harriott, chief executive of TDS, said
This role does not make Margaret a TDS staff member but someone who is appointed by the TDS board to take an independent view of complaints and report annually to the board on their work.
As the only not-for-profit deposit protection scheme operating in England and Wales, TDS is committed to a programme of continuous investment in our systems, processes, people and service. Margaret’s appointment is part of that ongoing strategy and we are proud to have her on board.
Margaret Doyle said:
Having an independent and impartial outside reviewer is a key process for demonstrating robust arrangements exist for ensuring that customer complaints are dealt with well and that complainants have the opportunity for review by someone outside of TDS.
It is also designed to help TDS learn lessons from complaints and to help improve service provision.
No doubt the other schemes will be considering their position.
- London agents Sterling De Vere have been fined £167,000 plus costs and £740 compensation to a tenant after prosection by Tower Hamlets Council for ‘bait and switch’ offence where a property let was found to be different from a picture of the advertised room.
- Another ‘horror story’ where a tenant leaves a property in a disgusting state
- A new cross-party report says we need 3m more social homes by 2040
- But tenants on benefit – be thankful you are not living in the USA right now