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Third of renters unaware of tenancy deposit schemes

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Nearly a third of renters are unaware of tenancy deposit protection schemes despite a strengthening of the law one year ago, Shelter research has found.

One in five of those surveyed did not know if their deposit had been protected and one in ten said it had not.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said it was worrying so many tenants were still unaware of their deposit rights: “We know that most landlords do the right thing but unfortunately some are still unaware of their responsibilities to protect the deposits that are given to them in good faith.”

The government-backed deposit protection schemes were introduced in 2007 and loopholes in the legislation were closed in 2012.

Landlords who fail to place their tenants’ deposit in one of schemes within 30 days of receiving it could be taken to court. They could face a penalty of one to three times the value of the deposit, which is then awarded to the tenant.

In March 2013, 2.6 million deposits were protected by the schemes. Over the last six years, more than seven million have been protected. The average private tenancy deposit value is £992.

Mark Prisk, the housing minister, said: “Tenancy deposit schemes offer vital protection for both tenants and landlords, giving them financial peace of mind and offering neutral help to resolve disputes.”

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