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Buy To Let

Scheme launched to help with tenant deposit disputes

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Tenants facing problems with their landlords over deposits will be able to complain to The Dispute Service Ltd.

The Dispute Service Ltd has been approved as an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) body to help tenants resolve deposit complaints with landlords.

However, in order for complaints to be dealt with, the landlord or agent must be a member of one of The Dispute Service Ltd tenancy deposit protection schemes.

It has operated deposit protection schemes in England and Wales for a number of years and provided mediation and conciliation services for tenants and landlords previously. But now, it has been approved as an ADR body which should make it easier, quicker and more cost-effective to resolve complaints, compared to going down the court process.

The ADR service can only deal with disputes about a deposit protected by one of its tenancy deposit schemes where a landlord or letting agent wants to make a deduction from the tenant’s deposit.

It can’t resolve cases which involve justifying what’s known as a ‘set-off’ – that is, where the tenant withholds rent because repairs were not carried out. No fee will be applied to either the renter, landlord or agent.

Disputes which can be considered under this ADR scheme include claims for:

  • cleaning
  • damage
  • redecoration
  • gardening
  • rent arrears

Exclusions include:

  • where a legally-binding decision has already been made by another ADR service or court
  • disputes which are being pursued unreasonably, or are frivolous or vexatious in certain cases, where the dispute is raised more than three months after the end of the tenancy.

Andy Allen, ADR project leader at CTSI (the ADR auditing and awarding body), said:  “We all rely on a roof over our heads for every aspect of our lives – our work, our families and our leisure time – so it’s important that if we rent somewhere to live, we want this process to be problem-free.

“So as a tenant, if you become embroiled in a dispute over how your deposit should be repaid, you will certainly recognise that moving house is acknowledged as one of the most stressful things we can do. Whilst many tenancies can go smoothly, the internet is also peppered with stories about things that go wrong.

“CTSI is pleased to see the Dispute Service Limited becoming an approved ADR body for its tenancy deposit schemes. It is joining an expanding ADR environment and we hope that other organisations will continue to set up such schemes or have existing schemes approved.”

There are currently 59 approved ADR schemes, everything from retail to parking, to higher education, furniture, the motor industry and will writing. More information is available from