The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) has become the first of the three Government-approved tenancy deposit protection schemes to appoint a new external, independent complaints reviewer.
Margaret Doyle has taken up the new role and says: “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.”
Doyle’s appointment was introduced to enhance the scheme’s transparency to members and the wider private rental sector.
The role of the independent complaints reviewer will be to look at the way the TDS has investigated complaints about its service, in order to ensure that the process has been fair and transparent, and that the issues raised have been properly considered.
In its 2018 Annual Review, the TDS reported that less than 1% of its tenancy deposits ended in a dispute – a total of 14,430.
Of these 14,430 disputes, just 2.65% resulted in a complaint being made about the adjudication decision or the service received.
Steve Harriott, the Chief Executive of the TDS, says: “We take any complaints about our service very seriously and strive for the highest standards of complaints handling practice. If a complainant remains unhappy about TDS’s response to their formal complaint about an adjudication decision or other aspect of TDS’s customer service, they can escalate it to the independent complaints reviewer.
“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.”
He adds: “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.”
Article from Landlord News (landlordnews.co.uk)
Wednesday 23rd January 2019-
Future Inn Plymouth-
Listen to this episode from BBC Radio 4’s Money Box Live. The panel discusses the effectiveness of the system for getting you your money back.
It will be a requirement for all social and private landlords (including letting agents acting on their behalf) in England to ensure that a property is fit for human habitation both at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout. The Bill amends the Landlord and Tenant Act 1984.
If a home does not meet the standards of the HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating System), tenants can take legal action in court for breach of contract.
Put forward by Labour MP Karen Buck, the Bill received Royal Accent on 20th December 2018 and comes into force 3 months after that date – 20th March 2019. Initially it will only apply to new and renewal tenancies in England from this date. It will then apply to periodic tenancies 12 months later to give landlords time to ensure properties are up to standard.
The government have a HHSRS guide for landlords and property professionals;
For more information on the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018;
The Tenant Fees Bill 2017-2019 is due it’s 3rd and final reading on 15th January 2019 in the House of Lords. Once the final reading takes place, it will then return to the House of Commons for a consideration of amendments, after that it can receive Royal Assent and become law.
The implementation date is not known but is to be expected in Spring 2019 at the earliest. The Bill seeks to ban most letting agent and landlord charges to tenants and will place caps on security and holding deposits.
For updates on the Bill and to read debates on all stages of the bill, please see the following link; https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/tenantfees.html
All organisations, companies and sole traders that process personal data must pay an annual fee to the ICO unless they are exempt. Fines for not paying can be up to a maximum of £4,350.
This follows regulations which came into force alongside the new Data Protection Act on 25 May 2018.
These first organisations have been fined for not renewing their fees following their expiry and more fines are set to follow. More than 900 notices of intent to fine have been issued by the ICO since September and more than 100 penalty notices are being issued in this first round.
Article from The Information Commissioners Office 28.11.2018