Northern Ireland gets Tenancy Deposit Scheme

by Sarah Ashcroft

A new Tenancy Deposit Scheme is being introduced in Northern Ireland (NI).

Similar to the ones already up and running in other parts of the UK, the initiative will go live from April 1st. It is designed to protect tenants' deposits and should prevent any disputes arising over the repayment of the lump sum when a tenancy reaches its end.

Nelson McCausland, minister for social development in the NI Assembly, said: "This scheme will provide assurances for tenants and protection for landlords helping to minimise long drawn-out legal proceedings and disputes.

"Return of tenant deposits is an issue I hear of time and time again and I'm pleased that NI citizens can now be reassured that their money is safe."

Mr McCausland stated that the scheme will encourage a more professional approach in the sector, and it should also make it seem more appealing. With many people struggling to be accepted for mortgages, private rentals are expected to remain popular.

Under the terms of the deal, four organisations - My Deposits, The Dispute Service, Letting Protection Service and Capita - have been appointed to provide both custodial and insurance schemes.

The Department for Social Development will not have to pay any money towards setting up the initiative and the administrators have been given a five-year contract, with the option for this to be extended further.

Before signing a tenancy agreement, both the landlord and the prospective tenants should agree on an inventory that details the condition of the home. This can hopefully stop any arguments from occurring.

Landlords should also look to call in to their property two or three times a year to check that it is being well looked after, while communication channels need to be kept open at all times so individuals feel comfortable contacting the property owners if an issue arises.

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Published on: February 4, 2013

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