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Contract states deposit is with one TDS, but I've found it's with another. Advice

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Hi, I am about to move from the flat I have lived in for the past four years and am trying to clarify what the legal position is regarding my deposit in the event that there is any dispute after I have left.

 

I moved into my current flat in September 2006 having signed a 6 Month AST contract and paid £730 deposit to be held by the Letting Agent who is managing the property. I went and collected the keys from the Agent's office the day the tenancy commenced, but no Check-In was done (the agent/landlord have at no time visited the property since the initial viewing) and no inventory was provided. Every six months from then on, I have signed a new 6 month AST, paying the agents a £99.87 renewal fee. Ever since the law change that required the protection of deposits, the contract that I signed contained a section about the TDS, telling me that my Deposit was protected by The Dispute Service ltd and standard terms about the return of money within 10 working days etc. I have never been provided with any information about the TDS beyond that. The Dispute Service require a reference number from the deposit protection certificate for a dispute to be raised but I have never been provided with this certificate or details of how the scheme works. I have today however, discovered that contrary to what the contract states and the agents has been telling me for the past couple of years, my deposit is actually being protected by mydeposits.

 

A few questions:

 

1) Is it possible that my deposit is being protected by two schemes?

 

2) I've signed a contract that states that all disputes will be raised through the Dispute Service, and that they must arbitrate all disputes unless court action is taken. Are those clauses binding? It would seem crazy if they were and my money is being protected elsewhere.

 

3) The contract contains a separate appendix about some of the terms of The Dispute Service scheme. At the end I had to sign to say "The Tenant confirms he has been given opportunity to examine this information. The tenant confirms by signing this document that to the Knowledge of the Tenant the information above is accurate to the best of the Landlord's knowledge and belief." The section is also signed by the agent on behalf of the Landlord, to say that the "information provided to the agent and tenant is accurate to the best of his knowledge and belief and the tenant has had an opportunity to examine the information" I thought this was true at the time, but surely someone must know where my money is being protected! How does this clause affect things?

 

4) I have been told, and agreed in the contract that all disputes must be raised with the Dispute Service Ltd within 20 working days of the contract coming to an end, but the mydeposits website tells me I have three months to raise a dispute. Would I have to lodge a dispute claim within the 20 days that I have signed up to, if my money is being protected by a different scheme with different rules to the one I have been informed about? This would seem unfair and I would not have signed away my rights like this had I known.

 

Hopefully, none of this information will be needed and I'll get the deposit back without issue, but I thought it prudent to try and find out where I stand, just in case :)

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Not sure how the different schemes work. TDS is fairly simple. I suggest you bone up on how the mydeposits works so you know where you stand.

http://www.mydeposits.co.uk/tenants/tenant.htm

You should also ask the agent for details of how you recover the deposit - this should have been provided to you within 14 days of the deposit being taken! Reading the link, it doesn't sound as if the LL/agent has complied with the regulations. You might like to make the agent aware that you know what SHOULD happen. Hopefully, you won't get into an argument, but since there is no check-in inventory signed by you, how can they prove any damage! And it is up to the landlord to prove damage.


Kentish Lass

Information given is based on my knowledge and experience and is not to be considered as legal advice

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