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Property Hawk

DPS needs competition

I'm like the majority of small landlords in that I have opted to use the Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS) to protect my tenant deposits.

Landlords have been required to place the tenants’ deposit with one of the approved schemes since April 2007,and that's who Ive tended to opt for.

My experience of the DPS



I've got to say that my experience of using the DPS website has been decidedly mixed. It's hardly iterative in the way that Amazon or increasingly bank websites are. I find the paying in of a deposit a real pain because for some reason,( possibly because I use a Mac and Firefox) the debit card payment system has never worked. I therefore have to resort to using the BACS alternative not impossible but not exactly 'easy flow', it's a pain!



Single & multiple deposits



The last time I used it  having been forced to use BACS and having entered a single new deposit ,I wanted to add a second deposit before making any payment from my rental account.

The 'system' however seemed to require me to make a payment of that first deposit without allowing me to enter the details for the second deposit. Did I miss something? It then offered me the opportunity to set up a batch payment which implied a group of deposits without allowing me the chance to add the details of my final deposit. Confused? Am I the only 'numptee' landlord that has come up against this apparent impasse?



System needs to be idiot proof



The problem is that any system that you only use once in a blue moon needs to be idiot proof because even if you can find a work around - 12 or 18 months later can you really remember how you did it last time?



Repaying the tenants deposit



I also finally got around to finding a time to try and sort out the repayment of one of my tenants’ deposit.  In the good old days the cheque would have been in their hand at the same time as the 'tenant check out'.  To my shame it was now several weeks after they had moved out!



DPS process underwhelmed



I was already logged in from placing two new deposits with the Scheme.  So I just followed the instructions to repay the deposit.  Having gone all the way to the end of the process it required me to enter the tenants’ ID which obviously I don't have (It’s supposed to be sent to the tenant for them to use).  The problem is the tenant doesn't have any record of it either.  In fact none of my tenants seem to be aware of the ID despite me providing the DPS with their email address at the start of the process.



Why can't the system allow me to at least send as an email request to the tenant as a unilateral action?  The tenant on receipt then would need to add in their ID to accept my repayment proposal.  At least it would have moved the process on.  Instead, I was left writing a personal email to the tenant explaining what I was proposing and effectively telling them to have a go themselves!  Useful?


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What happens to the left over deposits?



After all this I'm left thinking there must be many tenants and landlords who just give up trying to extract their deposit, especially where there is little monetary value left in it.  So what happens to these deposits?  There must be a huge pot of abandoned tennats deposits sitting somewhere.  Do they go to the government or does the DPS get to keep the money?  In which case there seems to be a perverse incentive for the DPS to NOT operate a helpful system.



DPS needs competition



My impression is that because the Deposit Protection Service is the only custodial scheme licensed by the government - a monopoly in essence.  They don't put the resources into developing their website that they need to make it truly easy to use. I'm sure a little bit of competition from another provider would just sharpen up their act. This would make using their website and managing our tenants deposits just that much easier.

I'd be interested to hear about other landlords experiences of using the DPS website services.  Could it really do with a little improvement or is it just me?


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Why would any landlord want to use any other deposit scheme apart from mydeposits.co.uk
This is the only scheme that allows the LANDLORD to hold the monies and assist his cashflow and business and no one elses.

--
Paul Barrett


I have used mydeposits since deposit protection began and I've had no major problems with them. They have a new website now too which is easier to use than the old one.

Chezaban


 I find the DPS procedure counter-intuitive also.
 
The required Terms and Conditions to give to tenants is logically in the documents section, but the Prescribed Information form is obscurely buried in the FAQs.
 
I have a tenant moving from one flat to another, and of course the original DPS account has to be shut down and the deposit actually paid out, before I pay it in again to start the new account. No means of simply transfering it from one to the next.
 
Doug


In relation to the above I agree with the comments made by Paul Barrett.  My Deposits is an excellent scheme, is government approved and its website is easy to use.  Also any queries raised are quickly and clearly responded to by e-mail.
 
T Mendoza


Hi there,

Responding to you comments about the DPS.

I have found them confusing, arrogant, make lots of mistakes and blame this on bad training.  The procedure and process is nothing less than painful!  A tenant.


In response to the recent article in your magazine:
When our tenants give notice to leave, I post or email them a letter
reminding them where their deposit is (i.e. I DON'T have it), telling
them how to get their 5 digit number from DPS if they have lost it,
explaining they won't get it back until we have agreed bills owing,
and we have had the keys returned,  and so on.  Tenants still phone me
before they leave, saying 'Can't you just give it back before I go?'
but at least I can then remind them to read the letter.  I keep a
standard letter on the computer, and just add the date they are moving
out.
This takes a lot of hassle out of the process, and I have not had any
problem with using DPS.
Eleanor


As a first time user I fully agree with the very frustrating procedure for paying in the deposit.
For a BACS transfer it gives the sort code and account number but no bank details. Well none that I could find anyway (Bank name and Bank address), both of which my bank requires.  In the end I had to get my son to make a debit card payment on my behalf as I only have a credit card,(Not acceptable) and no debit card.
The rest of the web site seemed OK, just the payment side has major user unfriendly aspects.
I haven't had to utilise the deposit repayment side yet.
Regards
Peter


Having never used anything other than MyDeposits I can't comment on other sites however the MyDeposits site is hardly the most user friendly, although the newer front end is much better.

Kevin


Why not use the "my deposit" scheme? You hold the money, earn interest on the "pot" you hold, no sending money backwards and forwards, you are in control.
 
Yes there is a £30 fee to pay My Deposits which you cannot charge the tenant for, but nothing stops you applying an administration fee for carrying out this work as the scheme is mandatory.
 
Richard


Yes indeed, the DPS website is shoddy; badly designed, not user friendly and confusing to navigate. I'm a recent first time user. I stumbled across the info I needed to supply tenants with whilst looking for something else. The payment and allocation procedures were disjointed and vague and I feared for a moment that it was a scam site. The menu's are poorly worded and structure of the sight badly thought through. What should have taken minutes to sort out became somewhat lengthy, tedious and unconvincing. It should be kept simple but logical. It can't be that difficult to sort can it?
 
Suzanne


DPS is a non custodial scheme  - like TDS  -   and it is the body which gets to keep any unclaimed deposit money.  What got a TINY amount of publicity is that Kevin Firth  CEO of DPS insisted when it was set up that if interest rates dropped, that he insisted on government funds to run the scheme...   the original ideas was DPS was to be funded from interest acrued on the deposit monies. They are currently getting  £20,000,000 a year of tax payers money . 

I use Mydeps...  i have much more control and its worth £30 to me for that alone.

Colette


I find the site not user-friendly at all. - Rashmi


I agree with most of what you say but would be surprised if many gave up on their deposits because of withdrawal problems.
Yes their money may have  depreciated by the time of withdrawal but l have  never taken less than £750 as a  deposit and have never had anyone who could not be bothered to claim that amount of money.
 
Stuart


I also find the DPS website confusing and unclear although I have managed to use it to make deposits for a small number of properties. I would also like to be able to contact them by e-mail if I have a query but have been unable to find an address to do so. I haven’t yet used the website to return a deposit although I have to say I’m not looking forward to it given the above comments! If this is government licensed you might think it would be more user friendly, seems to have been thrown together without much thought for the consumer and presumably with no testing procedure where some of the obvious glitches could have been fixed.
The drawback to using mydeposits as far as I am concerned is that it costs money so will have to struggle on with DPS.
M


We use DPS after switching from mydeposits.
 
What a lot of people don’t realise is that the £30 insurance fee has to be paid every time a tenancy is renewed or altered so it isn’t a one off fee. More importantly the reason for taking a deposit is to enable the Landlord to claim should there be any damage to the property caused by the tenant.
 
We found that if a tenant were to dispute any deductions then under the mydeposits scheme you need to just hand the deposit back to the tenant. The adjudicator takes no notice of the evidence that is put forward by the Landlord, (& before anyone mentions it, our Inventories are 30 pages long with each room fully described, photographed & the tenant signs each page agreeing the condition). All a tenant has to do is make any ridiculous statement or claim with no documentary evidence and it is taken as the truth despite overwhelming evidence. After a couple of claims like this, we examined the statistics of mydeposits and were shocked at what a small percentage of claims were found in favour of the Landlord. At the time of our investigation it appeared that the DPS found more than 3 times either partially or fully in favour of the Landlord than the mydeposits scheme. Whilst we would prefer to hold the deposit and just write a cheque at the end of a tenancy, when we are acting on behalf of other Landlords we need to protect their interests first.
 
Teresa


I used to use DPS until I had to take a tenant to court for nonpayment of rent, I was given judgment and the tenant left on the day of the court hearing and returned the keys.
 
After inspecting the property, I found the property had been damaged by their dogs, poor DIY skills, rubbish left etc. to the tune of £1,200.
 
I filled in the DPS claim forms, provided photographic evidence and visited a solicitor to stamp the documents.
 
My mistake was sending them a copy of the court judgment, which they stated that as a court was involved they could not repay the deposit and I should have asked the court to authorize them to repay the deposit.
 
Despite explaining to them that until I was granted the judgment I could not enter the property to check if they had caused damage, all they did was quote a sentence from there T&C’s
 
My impression was that they just wanted to hang on to the deposit and they are definitely biased toward the tenant irrespective to damage or nonpayment, which is the main purpose of the deposit.
 
Eventually 8 months later I managed to persuade them to re-pay the deposit, although have not traced the tenant who still owes me over £3k.
 
Despite the cost I now only use My Deposits!
 
Regards Barry


Hi - as a user of the DPS for the past three years, I have to say I have never had a problem with them. My client's tenants have also never highlighted any problems in requesting refunds and even when they have lost their repayment ID numbers, the DPS website has worked fine in sending out a replacement for them.
 
I only use internet banking/BACS payments for my business (it's the most convenient for sure) - in three years of trading I have only ever been asked once to accept a payment from a tenant via a card (credit card as it happened so a definite no-no - as it worked out it highlighted the fact that the tenant didn't have the financail means to actually pay the deposit so the application did not succeed in the end).
 
From my point of view with the DPS, both registration and refunds have worked beautifully and because it is a free service, it means I can keep my fees down for landlords and tenants rather than pass the costs on of the TDS for instance.
 
DPS gets my vote and I will continue to use them even if more competition is introduced.
 
Regards

Steve


Surely the point with using mydeposits is you have the money assisting your cashflow.
You don't have an issue obtaining any deposit monies for damages etc as YOU already have the monies.
Paying a fee is mandatory and I don't see how you can charge the tenant as if you as a LL don't protect the deposit in time you are at fault.
However if the tenant wished to have another AST they have to pay as there is no requirement to issue another AST as they may proceed onto a SPT.
If they want to adjust the AST the tenant pays.
If I choose to introduce a new AST possibly along with a rent increase I would pay for the new AST.
This obviously causes a fee every time.
I look upon deposit monies as  an interest free overdraft whch assists my cashflow.
Obviously you need to ensure that the monies are available  when you have to refund the deposit.
Paul Barrett


Hello there

I have now given up on taking deposits.  What I now do is charge rent in advance to be in my bank 2 days before it is due then add £100 for the keys, when I hand them over, (on the grounds that, if they do a runner, I will have to change all the locks).  I return this £100 when they leave.

I find that it is a deterrent to doing a runner and to leaving the place in a mess.  Not sure if it is legal but it seems to work.

Carole


I agree with your comments about the DPS website.
 
Having been faced with a dodgy Letting Agent, I extracted the deposit from them and lodged it with the DPS. The tenants then abandoned the property leaving a mess and rent arrears.
 
I don’t know where they have moved to.
 
I requested a return of my deposit explaining why I wanted the deposit to be returned to me. Weeks have gone by and the website has advised that they are waiting for the tenant to respond.I know the tenant won’t respond because they are no longer at the property and no one knows where they are. After several months I was then advised to initiate the scheme whereby the landlord can get the deposit back unilaterally –which is what I thought I was doing in the first place !
 
I’m still waiting.
 
Barbara




Comments (11)

DPS
I too have used the DPS for all 5 of my tenancies, and not one of them got an ID via email or a letter. I recently had to pay back a deposit with no deductions and it took 10 days! Not good enough in my eyes, there needs to be a clearer system!!
#1 - Vikki - 03/02/2012 - 20:30
DPS
I think DPS is fine. I'm a tenant and have never had issues using it. What I do have issues with - is landlords ignoring my request for my deposit to be paid back. even months after I moved out my status still reads "Waiting for Landlord response" some landlords out there are self rightious idiots.
#2 - Nay - 07/31/2012 - 14:12
DPS
I am totally sick of my life with this dps , you can not deal souly with one person so it is by no means personal, as they dont seem interested in my situation, its like robotic automated responses,that dont answer any of my questions,i am totally lost with this site,and where my claim for my tenants deposit is going, I highly recomend no one to even consider using this company, ive been trying to make this claim over 35 days now,yet im told ive only 14 to submit my claim.how can i if i dontknow what to do?
very very frustraiting.i am so angry when i deal with them or write waiting for a reply with no info apart from they have received my message...
very unhappy customer
#3 - peter - 09/16/2012 - 07:41
DPS
I am totally sick of my life with this dps , you can not deal souly with one person so it is by no means personal, as they dont seem interested in my situation, its like robotic automated responses,that dont answer any of my questions,i am totally lost with this site,and where my claim for my tenants deposit is going, I highly recomend no one to even consider using this company, ive been trying to make this claim over 35 days now,yet im told ive only 14 to submit my claim.how can i if i dontknow what to do?
very very frustraiting.i am so angry when i deal with them or write waiting for a reply with no info apart from they have received my message...
very unhappy customer
#4 - peter - 09/16/2012 - 07:47
DPS
I'm a tenant and I received absolutely no communication from DPS saying that they were 'awaiting' my response, despite my landlord submitting my email address to them. My landlord obviously assumed that like any other professional website existing in this day and age, it would have sent an automated email to me asking for me to respond. I finally got onto the website by tracking down my number from the landlord, only to find the AWAITING TENANT RESPONSE message but no button with which to respond! Perhaps because im on an ipad, but who knows. After trawling through FAQ's and submitting a query form (that I have no idea if they've received as I have received no automated email confirmation) I have given up. From what I have read online, I expect to be on hold for a long time tomorrow when I call their expensive 08 number. I feel sorry for my landlord who has always been very efficient and helpful.
#5 - Zoe - 10/07/2012 - 22:17
info please
which bank do the dps use? they told me the money was released to my account monday by bacs (usually 3 days) and i have still not recieved it!??
#6 - dan - 11/07/2012 - 13:48
Abandoned tenants deposits
Whay happens to abandoned tenants deposits
surely it cant be right that the DPS keeps the unclaimed monies
I think the goverment should take a look at the situation.
#7 - Michael - 01/21/2013 - 20:00
TDS
I use TDS www.tds.gb.com. Cheaper and easier than mydeposits and a million times better than DPS.
#8 - Jon - 05/25/2013 - 22:29
return of deposit
interesting to read that the DPS are probably accumulating a large sum of money from unrepaid deposits. My ex-landlord is making the system go in circles - i submit a repayment claim which they dispute. I offer to go to the arbitration and they refuse. i enter single claim and they have it rejected. It is now 2 1/2 years since I left the property - status is Awaiting Landlord Response. It seems it will stay like that indefinitely. There really should be a time limit on responses - if the landlord refuses to progress the repayment after 2 years then I should be able to get my money back.
#9 - chris mackenzie - 08/25/2014 - 20:39
What a waste of time!
I have been a landlord to 4 or so different tenants. The first, prior to the legal requirements; I held the deposit and repaid at the end no problem - I overlooked wear and tear and even an uncleaned cooker! The second, I used the scheme and my tenant spent weeks trying to reclaim the deposit (blaming me for the delay) although I authorised full repayment. Third tenant - we agreed not to have a deposit, although I took two months rent instead of one at the start of the tenancy (remarkably like a deposit I'm sure you'll agree) and repaid full deposit, sorry extra month's rental at the end! Fourth tenant; I've solved all the admin problems in one go - we agreed to have no deposit at all!
#10 - Steve - 01/15/2015 - 18:52
What a waste of time!
I have been a landlord to 4 or so different tenants. The first, prior to the legal requirements; I held the deposit and repaid at the end no problem - I overlooked wear and tear and even an uncleaned cooker! The second, I used the scheme and my tenant spent weeks trying to reclaim the deposit (blaming me for the delay) although I authorised full repayment. Third tenant - we agreed not to have a deposit, although I took two months rent instead of one at the start of the tenancy (remarkably like a deposit I'm sure you'll agree) and repaid full deposit, sorry extra month's rental at the end! Fourth tenant; I've solved all the admin problems in one go - we agreed to have no deposit at all!
#11 - Steve - 01/15/2015 - 18:53
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It's a landlords’ dread!   A nice respectable looking tenant, with a good...
Rebecca Brough of Fidler and Pepper Solicitors asks whether landlords need a tenant guarantor, and exp...
The thing with managing a portfolio of buy-to-let property is that for much of the time you don't have...
Brings Threats and Opportunities Many landlords are adopting a wait and see approach to the G...
Severe rental arrears fell by almost 16 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012 according to data from ...
Should a landlord let their tenants smoke? Landlords are acutely aware of the bad smells and ...
New Year celebrations are well and truly over, so it’s back to work, and for many landlords, sma...
I was thinking today, what would be the top 5 things I would wish for next year as a landlord.  S...
You may think that as a landlord you are not liable for your tenants’ water bill. Well up until ...
I can't begin to explain how fraught the last few weeks have been.  Most part time landlords will...
The buy-to-let mortgage market has been in the doldrums for several years after the ‘crash&rsquo...
Rebecca Brough of Fidler and Pepper explores the world of fees and charges in respect to a landlords ...
Don’t forget your section 213 notice! Property Hawk has been urging landlord not to forget about...
You are just about to let your buy-to-let.  So what are the essential bits of paper work that you...
Is there such as thing as the ‘fair wear and tear’ of your buy-to-let property? ...
Landlords looking to obtain possession have two basic choices when trying to get their buy-to-let prop...
So it all goes wrong!  The tenant moves out (disappears) and owes you months of rent.  They ...
We recently had a enquiry on the Landlord Forum asking whether it was a good idea to serve a section 2...
Landlords seeking possession frequently have to decide between the merits of using a Section 21 notice...
Renewing a tenancy is one of the most straightforward aspects of managing a tenancy.  But many la...
Getting possession of a rental property when your tenant falls into rent arrears Th...
I read recently on a landlord forum a suggestion from one disgruntled tenant that landlords should be ...
My latest round of tenant gripes has hit me after a relatively quiet period. I suppose it was...
After launching the new version of the property management software we felt the actual site pages look...
Rental yields have always been a critical metric when evaluating a buy-to-let investment and they are...
Any landlord who follows London politics will not have escaped the fact that the private rented sector...
I was chatting this week to my joiner Steve. He was having a nightmare! Steve had done most o...
The Co-op announced last week that it was stepping up lending into the buy-to-let mortgage market by a...
Legislation should be in place by the end of the year to allow landlords to benefit from the Green Dea...
It's January which means only one thing for most landlords, yes it’s time to get to grips with t...
As the year comes to an end many landlords will be drawing up their plans for 2012. With the ...
I was contacted several weeks ago by one of our longstanding users. Kevin wrote to highlight ...
I'm like the majority of small landlords in that I have opted to use the Deposit Protection Scheme (DP...
Europe is at it again! Not content with their crazy project “Euro”  putting ...
You might be aware that I’ve had a number of new tenants recently. This has i...
It’s a great time to be a landlord. Many of us including me are making record rental pr...
I was contacted last week by a landlord looking to gain access to their bu...
I’ve written before about landlords not needing to use a letting agent. We al...
It's been a while since I've had a new tenant move in. The new tenant seems amiable enough. A middle a...
My landlord insurance fell due at the beginning of this month. DAMMM! Yet again the dilemma. ...
It is possible to get a company to fill out your N5B.  This will cost anything upwards of £...
Most landlords use an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement to let their property. So how long ...
I've been looking at some recent enquiries from landlords who use our Property Management software to ...
Most landlords who let a property that is tenanted will not be liable for council tax.  This is b...