BBC presenter accuses deposit scheme of denying ‘natural justice’ to tenants

A tenancy deposit scheme was accused on a national radio programme yesterday of denying tenants “natural justice”.

Winifred Robinson, presenter of BBC radio’s You and Yours, suggested to Eddie Hooker of MyDeposits that tenants were not given enough information, and that the scheme did not offer an appeals process.

Hooker totally refuted the claims.

The item on the programme began with Robinson saying that Generation Rent was accusing landlords and agents of unfairly hanging on to tenants’ deposits.

She also quoted Which?, saying that only one third of tenants were satisfied with the outcome when trying to get their deposit disputes resolved.

The case study in the programme was provided by Dr Lucy-Jane Davis, who said that she had paid a deposit of £1,575 for a property rented through an unnamed agent in Bristol.

When she moved out, the agent advised that the deposit could not be returned to her.

It told her that it would not be able to sort out the problem quickly, and advised her to raise a dispute with MyDeposits, which the programme described as having been set up by the National Landlords Association.

The tenant told the programme that she was unaware that the dispute was being referred to an independent adjudicator, and was also unaware of the reasons why the deposit was not being returned – saying these had not been explained to her.

It emerged that there were issues over cleaning, gardening – and light bulbs.

Dr Davis said that £800 had been withheld following the adjudication. She said this sum included £81 for six light bulbs.

In particular, she disputed the finding that £400 was being withheld for cleaning.

She told the programme that she had taken photographs of the property when she had both moved in and out – and that the home was clearly in a far better condition when she left.

She said that the deposit represented a massive sum of money to her, and that she could not afford to take the only appeal route open to her, to go to court.

Hooker told Robinson that he believed the adjudication was “reasonable and fair” based on the information that had been supplied, and on the evidence of check-in and check-out reports.

The tenant had received 60% of her deposit back, and Hooker said that his scheme had found in favour of tenants in more than 80% of cases.

He insisted that in this particular case, every effort had been made to explain the process to the tenant, and that the deadline had been extended by a week.

Robinson demanded to know why the scheme offers no appeals process against an adjudicator’s decision.

Hooker said that the “only process is through the courts”.

Robinson told him: “One landlord posted on Twitter that you are deliberately making it difficult.”

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12 Comments

  1. jeremy1960

    My favourite phrase from tenants when they receive check out report and quotes is:-

    “I could have done the cleaning/repairs for much less!”

    My response :-

    “Then why didn’t you.?”

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    1. Peter30yearveteran

      How about this one, “it was dirty when I moved in!” or this old favourite, “It was cleaner after I left than when I moved in!”  I’m with the TDS and have never lost a decision and its always an argument over cleaning! If I had £1 for every time I have heard one of these cracking excuses I would be very wealthy!

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      1. simpletruth47

        Soon as I hear a prospective tenant waffle on about ‘how clean they are’ I know they are one to avoid!!

        In my opinion, anyone with decent housekeeping standards would not feel the need to make such comments

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        1. DASH94

          Yep – Never once had anyone apply for a property and volunteer the information that they’re bad at paying and rubbish housekeepers.

           

          I’ve had no end of ‘I’m a bit OCD about cleaning’ tenants with disputes for cleaning at the end of the tenancy though.

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  2. Bert

    Totally agree Jeremy1960. Why is it implied that £81 is a lot of money for 6 light bulbs? 6 decent light bulbs, say, £18 (which is what it would have cost the tenant to do it herself). Professional agents will use a professional contractor who will have to collect keys, go and look at what is required (may be miles away), purchase light bulbs, return to the property, fit them, dispose (correctly) of failed bulbs and return the keys to the agent. Take out of the £81 the cost of materials and VAT and it doesn’t seem bad to me! In my experience deposit schemes find in favour of tenants more often than not.

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    1. simpletruth47

      Tenants, and indeed landlords, love to spout forth in hindsight the £sum they could have done a task for with no consideration for the costs of a contractor. 
      Bulbs, for instance: a good hour or so of time just for a contractor to go to the property to determine bulb type etc, then to purchase and return.

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  3. El Burro

    BBC, Shelter, different name same politics.

    When was the last time they championed individual landlords who have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket by rogue tenants who play the game?

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    1. dannymagix79

      They don’t.  Even on programmes like don’t pay, or rogue landlords, always feels they take the tenants side when they have to evicted as they were told by the council to stay until eviction, losing thousands for the landlords.  I would love to know the % of landlords that only have one investment property, as those are the ones that suffer when tenants don’t pay and “play the system!”

      BBC and Shelter need to understand that until the councils sort out the tenants claiming HB and they pay monthly (not four weekly) and also when asked to leave the council helps, then they may find that those on the lowest rungs of the rental ladder get help!

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      1. PossessionFriendUK39

        The statistic show that about ‘ 60 % ‘  of Landlords own Only   ONE  BTL  property. !  believe it or not.

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  4. Woodentop

    began with Robinson saying that Generation Rent was accusing landlords and agents of unfairly hanging on to tenants’ deposits.

     

    Says it all.

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  5. DarrelKwong43

    The deposit prescribed information, to include the scheme leaflet would have given such facts to the tenant

    sadly, it is lost in the realms and realms of paperwork which the agent must provide to the tenant for compliance, which makes its an almost impossible task for the tenant to actually read.

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  6. Peter

    “only one third of tenants were satisfied with the outcome when trying to get their deposit disputes resolved”

    I bet the following would apply as well:- only one third of landlords were satisfied with the outcome when trying to get their deposit disputes resolved.

    The reality is compromise is rarely a satisfactory outcome for either party of a dispute and never for the ones that lost.

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