Our Insured scheme is different…

Did you know we are the only tenancy deposit protection provider that protects the deposit for the lifetime of the tenancy?

You can be assured that tenancy deposits are safe with us. Our Insured scheme protects the deposit no matter what happens.

Did you know we are the only tenancy deposit scheme to solely work with regulated agents?

This means that all of our agents have client money protection insurance giving their landlords guarantee that their rent will be covered if something were to happen to the agent. With us guaranteeing the deposit, it is the perfect combination. If you’d like to know more about the fees we charge, take a look at our prices. Further discounts are available for volume.  

Our Insured scheme – what you need to know

›    No registration or annual renewal fees
›    Available to landlords and organisations on a 'pay as you go' per tenancy basis
›    Letting agents will be required to be associated with, members of, or accredited by RICS, ARLA, NAEA, NALS, UKALA or The Law Society. They will be required to agree to monthly invoicing paid by direct debit.

Insured or Custodial – the differences between the two schemes

If a deposit is protected through our Custodial scheme, the landlord or letting agent submits the deposit to us and we look after it for the duration of the tenancy. We don’t charge fees for this service.

To protect a tenancy deposit with our Insured scheme, the landlord or letting agent pays us a fee and keeps the money in their own bank account. 

For more information, please visit www.depositprotection.com 

Enhancements to your online account

Following your feedback, we have made an enhancement to make your life easier.

Your online account has been updated so that we automatically populate the prescribed information for you. Just select the ‘Print Prescribed Information’ link on the ‘Payment’ page, once you have completed the ‘Submit a new deposit’ process, and the information will be pre-populated. You then just need to add the information we don’t have and you can print off the form to send to your tenant. Alternatively, you can copy this into your own template.

Don't forget! You will still need to attach a copy of the Custodial Terms and Conditions when issuing the Prescribed Information to your tenant.

Visit our website and log in to your account to get started today.

The DPS Charity Donations Fund – Donations announced!

Earlier this year we launched the DPS Charity Donations Fund. We wanted to give something back to the communities we work in, so every three months up to £20,000 is available to charities working in the housing sector.

I’m delighted to announce that the first donations from our charity donations fund have been chosen. The successful applicants are the 700 Club , based in Darlington; The Sanctuary Trust, located in Rochdale; and The Homesavers Charity, which operates from West Kirby, in the Wirral.

The 700 Club, which helps homeless people achieve independence in safe, sustainable accommodation has received £7,500. CEO John Elliston said “The grant from The DPS will be used to enhance the Bond Deposit Scheme, extending the service it offers to the most chaotic and difficult clients who would usually be excluded from the private rented sector.”

700 Club

£5,000 has gone to The Sanctuary Trust, a charity working with homelessness and complex homeless related issues.  “Following recent austerity-related cuts in funding, the donation from The DPS will allow us to continue our personal development programmes which would otherwise have ceased operation” said David Lackner-Smith, CEO.

Sanctuary Trust

We have also donated £7,500 to The Homesavers Charity, which provides tenancy deposits to the homeless, people in danger of becoming homeless, and those on low incomes. Laura Mahon, Charity Secretary, said “We’re delighted that this donation will help provide up to 20 tenancy deposits for individuals and families in housing need, enabling them to obtain a tenancy through the private rental sector.”

Thank you to Isobel Thomson, Chief Executive of NALS, who helped us with the difficult task of choosing the beneficiaries from the applications we received.

We’re currently accepting applications for the second fund donations. If you know of any charity that could benefit from a donation, particularly those who directly improve the provision of housing, the application form is available on our website.

Kevin

Dates for your diary

The DPS team have been busy putting together our events calendar for 2014 and I’m delighted to announce a series of dates for your diary. We’re exhibiting at five Landlord and Letting Show events this year – details of which are below.

The free seminars are always worth a look and the networking opportunities never fail to make it worth going. If you’re attending, why not take a visit to our stand? We’d love to see you and have got a £100 voucher up for grabs in our free prize draw.

Here is a reminder of the venues and dates:

Wednesday 14th & Thursday 15th May - Reebok Stadium, Bolton
Wednesday 2nd & Thursday 3rd July - City Hall, Cardiff
Wednesday 10th & Thursday 11th September - The Barbican, London
Wednesday 22nd & Thursday 23rd October - Gateshead International Stadium, Gateshead
Wednesday 26th & Thursday 27th November - Stoneleigh Park, Coventry

From May, our ever popular dispute resolution workshops also return for 2014. Alexandra, our Head of Adjudication, will be lifting the lid on how disputes are resolved when landlords and tenants can’t agree about the return of the deposit at the end of a tenancy. We get great feedback from these events and this year, we are offering more sessions than ever!

There’s nine dates and locations to choose from. Check out www.depositprotection.com/events for more details.

The dates of the Dispute Resolution Workshops are as follows:

Thursday 8th May – 09.30-12.30 & 14.30-17.30 - London
Tuesday 20th May – 09.30-12.30 & 14.30-17.30 - Manchester
Thursday 22nd May - 09.30-12.30 & 14.30-17.30 - Liverpool
Thursday 5th June – 09.30-12.30 & 14.30-17.30 - Bristol
Tuesday 10th June – 09.30-12.30 & 14.30-17.30 - Bournemouth
Thursday 4th September – 09.30-12.30 & 14.30-17.30 - Newcastle
Wednesday 1st October – 09.30-12.30 & 14.30-17.30 - Birmingham
Thursday 30th October – 09.30-12.30 & 14.30-17.30 - Nottingham
Tuesday 11th November – 09.30-12.30 & 14.30-17.30 - Brighton

 

Keeping it local

From today, you'll be able to contact The DPS using our new standard rate telephone number, 0330 303 0030.

Following feedback from our customers, we know that many of you get in touch via mobile. Our new 033 number is inclusive in most landline and mobile minute bundles, so you can now use these to contact us!

For other ways to contact us, view our Help for Tenants and Help for Landlords and Letting Agents pages.

 

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Calling all housing charities!

I’m very excited to announce that we have just launched our new charitable initiative, The DPS Charity Donations Fund.

The fund will be used to help support registered charities within the housing sector, such as those which help directly improve the provision of housing and those especially focused on the private rented sector.

At The DPS we are passionate about giving back to the people and communities in which we work, and recently several of the team volunteered at Caring at Christmas, a Bristol-based charity which offers accommodation to the homeless over the festive period. Helping out during Christmas really hit home how projects such as this desperately need funding, and really confirmed to us the long-term difference which our charity fund will make.

We will be awarding a total of  £80,000 a year, up to £20,000 each quarter. Charities will be chosen by a committee made up of myself, three members of The DPS Team and Isobel Thomson, Chief Executive of the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS). We will meet every three months to compare applications and make a decision based on the aims of the charity as well as the project which requires funding.

This is the result of months of hard work from all the team and something we’re all proud to have helped achieve,

I will keep you informed of the charities that we help throughout the year.

Kevin

Charities that meet the application criteria can apply by downloading a simple form from The DPS’ website, where the deadlines and terms and conditions are also provided.

Why do I have to wait so long for my money?

By The DPS director Kevin Firth

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We sometimes get queries about how long it can take for repayments to go through the system.

Let’s take normal repayments for a start. The law says we must release money within 10 calendar days of an authorised claim.

We release all deposits within two business days once we have a jointly authorised claim. However, once a deposit has been released from our system we can’t guarantee how long the banking system will clear money into your account - so we always say to allow a further two or three days.

We take on thousands of new tenancy deposits each day, and have repaid over £1billion. Holding onto your deposit for a few extra days doesn’t make any difference to us and it’s not something we will ever do.  The system is fully automated in that once the claim has been authenticated the payment is released.

Delays to the payment process are invariably caused by one party not responding to the other party’s claim.  Whist we will send reminders we have no control over these delays and can only release the deposit with agreement from both parties.

Single claim

Where delays tend to affect landlords more is the single claim process which, again, is a legislative process that we have to follow.

The single claim process can be used where either tenant or landlord is un-contactable or is unwilling to co-operate in the joint repayment process.

A guide to making a single claim is here, but in brief: it means getting a document called a Statutory Declaration completed and witnessed by a relevant officer.

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At the absolute least the process can take over two weeks. If there’s a disagreement we’re into a formal dispute process which can take a lot longer.

The Single Claim process is governed by statute – we did not create it and we have no power to circumvent it. Although we administer the scheme, it’s for landlords and tenants to see their part of the process through.

I’ll go as far to say that I am not a fan of the single claim process.

It’s better than using the courts, but not as good as it should be. In Scotland, either party has 30 working days to respond to a repayment claim. If that does not happen, the landlord gets what he has asked for or if it’s a tenant they get the entire deposit. It’s simple and fair, and I would like to see that system adopted here.

In the meantime, we’ll continue to operate within the framework we’ve been given, and I encourage you all to read our advice on single claims and Statutory Declarations in particular to understand how it all works before you get started.

Thanks for reading

Kevin

 

What happens when the boss mans the phones?

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By The DPS customer services representative Richard Pullen

Last month I was chosen to be our director Kevin Firth’s “boss for a day,” while he sat at my desk and took calls to the DPS.

It was my job to listen in and make exaggerated hand movements when he was about to say something wrong!

Kevin was raising money for a £20,000 charity appeal he is championing across the company, and his stint on the phones was part of that.

A side-effect was that it brought Kevin closer to some of the issues you (the caller) and we (the operations team) face every day. Hopefully it shed some light into the customer experience.

Common issues

The majority of queries were pretty bread-and-butter. “How do I get my money?”, “What’s a repayment ID?” and “How do I use the ADR service?”

What did become clear, I think, are the little obstacles which can sometimes get in the way.

Listening: Kevin Firth

Listening: Kevin Firth

For instance, when we ask a caller security questions our procedures prevent us from accepting answers where we can hear someone in the background prompting the caller.

If this happens we warn the caller and ask additional security questions. If they continue to confer we must end the call.

I got the impression this concerned Kevin, and he appreciated this can be a source of irritation where it was clear we are talking to the right person.

He’s looking into this further to ensure we can be as helpful as possible whilst keeping our security procedures robust, and without breaching our legal and compliance obligations.

On your side

Also, we have to ensure we don’t give legal advice since we’re not lawyers and the last thing we want to do is give out the wrong information.

But there are some areas of procedure and law which are essentially set in stone. I think Kevin felt there was perhaps more we can do in terms of offering a little more help on some of the more factual questions we are often asked.

We – on this end of the phone – always want to help you as quickly as we can, and give the information which would benefit you the most.

As time goes on that will improve and I think Kevin’s time with us will speed that up a bit.

And I only had to pull the plug on him twice!

Richard

We’re open this Saturday!

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On Saturday, August 31, we’re running a trial weekend call service.

We want to know if it’s more convenient for you, so we've arranged to open the lines from 9am to midday.

T: 0844 4727 000 

It’s a one-off – but if it proves popular and productive then we’ll see if we can make it business as usual.

Let us know if you use the service and why not tweet your thoughts to @The_DPS?

Kevin Firth, Director

The Deposit Protection Service

 

We do not spam. Stay informed.

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WE know how irritating spam emails are. We do not send junk email.

So when we do email it’s because there’s a specific and good reason. Most often it’s because we've been asked for something like an ID reminder. Occasionally we need to tell you about service updates or give security advice.

Sometimes these emails can be mistaken for junk by email providers. Make sure you get the information you need by adding us to your “Safe Senders” list. Some details on that are below.

It’s important you see our emails, and they don’t just end up in Junk. When that happens it’s frustrating for you. From this end we can’t see it’s occurred, and that you haven’t received the information you need.

What to do

The best thing you could do is add our domain address @depositprotection.co.uk to your “safe senders” list. Each provider has its own process for adding to Safe Senders.

Some providers – BT and Yahoo for example – require you to set up a “Filter” which keeps our emails out of Junk. For an official guide to that click here.

For convenience, click here for our domain address to appear in an email.

Thanks

The DPS Team

Redecoration - who pays?

By The Deposit Protection Service's head of adjudication Alexandra Coghlan-Forbes

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In any adjudication claim involving redecoration costs - where the check-out evidence shows it’s definitely needed - one of the first things the adjudicator will do is look at the check-in inventory to see what state the decor was in when the tenant moved in.

The next check is how long the tenant had lived at the property, referring to guidance from industry bodies such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents for how often a landlord should be expected to redecorate.

In a recent case it was perfectly clear from a detailed check-out report that the property needed complete redecoration. The check-in inventory wasn't quite as good, but the landlord was adamant it had been newly painted when the tenant moved in.

But regardless of the quality of the evidence here, it was immediately obvious to the adjudicator that the tenant shouldn’t be paying for anything.

Why? Because the tenant had lived at the property for over 12 years. 

Industry guidance indicates landlords should expect to redecorate every five or six years. After such a long time the landlord should realistically have been expecting to redecorate when the tenant moved out.

The industry guidance would suggest that if a tenant has lived in a property for five or more years (and they are not required by a contract to carry out redecoration themselves) there is little prospect of success in a claim for costs where the tenant hasn't caused the need for redecoration.

Why we’re backing SAFEagent Awareness Week

With the calls for the regulation of all letting agents gathering momentum there’s never been a better time to prove the industry is acting in the best interests of its clients, says The Deposit Protection Service director Kevin Firth.

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The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) was created because the Government decided that the lettings industry needed greater security over the protection of tenancy deposits.

However, the three-cornered financial relationship between tenant, letting agent and landlord goes beyond deposits alone.

Client Money Protection schemes - like those run by NALS, ARLA, NAEA and RICS – exist to protect all money placed with the letting agent by landlords and tenants. They provide peace of mind and have become an indicator of a well-run business.

When The DPS announced it was to launch an insured scheme in April this year, we made it clear we would only deal with those agents who were registered with a recognised scheme.

SAFEagent Week May 13/18

Seeing the blue and black SAFEagent mark on a letting agent’s door, window or website tells landlords and tenants their money will be protected by one of the Client Money Protection schemes.

That can only be a good thing and it’s why we’re proud to back SAFEagent Awareness Week, which this year is May 13 to 18.

During this week you will see regular tweets backing the campaign, their logo on our homepage and our website linked to SAFEagent’s.

We want to see an industry taking its responsibilities seriously, and proving it deserves the trust of those whom it serves. For letting agents, membership of SAFEagent goes a long way towards achieving that goal.

Our ‘£1billion’ birthday party!

By The DPS director Kevin Firth

Since The DPS launched on April 6, 2007 just over £1,125,000,000 has been repaid to tenants and landlords across England and Wales.

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It was in our most recent year – 2012/13 – that the cash we have handed back finally crossed the £1billion mark. Quite an achievement and we’re very proud of it.

The only way that was possible is through a combination of efficiency and serious capability.

Smooth administration of the systems sitting under deposit protection laws has helped make them such a success – and we’re very proud of that, too.

A big year

It’s no exaggeration to say this has probably been the most important year for us since our launch in 2007.

I see the £1billion mark as evidence of the trust which is well placed in us as an organisation. We’re very grateful to every one of our customers.

More detail on our year can be found in our press release. In the meantime, we’re not spending any time congratulating ourselves! We have new plans afoot, so watch this space...

In the meantime – here’s to another great year!

Welcome to the new look website

If you’ve visited the DPS website since April 1 you may have noticed some changes to the look of your online account.

Basically, The DPS is spring-cleaning its look and feel whilst making a few small updates. You will not notice any change to how you use your account.

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You may know we launched our Insured Scheme on April 1. Because of that there will be changes to how our Terms and Conditions are displayed. 

There will now be three sets of Terms and Conditions

Some of the Liability and General clauses have been moved from the Custodial Scheme Terms and Conditions into the General Terms and Conditions.  There may be some new clauses within the General Terms and Conditions that may affect you so we would ask you to read the new General version of the Terms and Conditions by clicking here

New Security

If you are a landlord, when viewing deposit details through your account you will no longer be able to see your tenant’s telephone numbers or email addresses.  You will be able to validate if you have the correct details because you will be able to see the last three numbers of any phone number registered, and the first three letters of any email address registered.

Thanks for reading.

The DPS Team

Stay safe and watch our anti-phishing video

Online fraudsters are a constant threat. So-called “phishing” is where they send emails posing as legitimate organisations - trying to get at your security details.

We have produced this video to help our customers spot the tell-tale signs. We hope you find it useful.

The DPS rules out membership and annual renewal fees for new Insured Scheme

We are pleased to announce the pricing structure for our new insurance based deposit protection scheme. Offering customers the easiest and cheapest option

  • Value for money - We will offer the industry’s cheapest published option for landlords and letting agents to protect their deposits.
  • Easy - The DPS insured scheme will not be charging membership or annual renewal fees to its customers, so no membership paperwork to contend with either!
  • Convenient - Letting Agents will be charged per deposit monthly by direct debit; the (ex vat) fee to protect each deposit will be just £9.50 (further discounts will be available for volume).
  • Landlords will be charged just £15.00 per deposit for deposits under £500 (inc vat), and only £22.20 per deposit for deposits over £500 (inc vat) on a pay-as-you-go basis.

We’re delighted to be able to provide our customers with the best value for money deposit protection options. Our goal is to deliver excellent service to the industry and offering the most cost effective insured scheme alongside our custodial option will ensure landlords and letting agents have the best choice of protection.

 

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A ‘one stop shop’ for deposit protection

We currently run the only custodial based deposit protection scheme in England and Wales and we are the first scheme to offer landlords and letting agents both protection options.

Following in the footsteps of The DPS custodial scheme, landlords and letting agents will be able to register with this service online as well as by phone; and manage both custodial and insured deposits via one easy, integrated online account. Our new insured scheme is due to launch on the 2nd April 2013 and we’re pleased to see landlords and letting agents are already registering in advance.

To find out more about The DPS (Insured and Custodial), please visit www.depositprotection.com or contact us direct at media@depositprotection.com

 

Congratulations to our survey prize draw winner!

We recently sent out a survey to our letting agents to ask for feedback on our service.  That feedback will help us to enhance our product offering and service delivery ensuring that we continue to provide a positive customer experience for all our members. Thank you so much for the 1,100 responses we received! We really appreciate your feedback.

The prize draw for an iPad Retina has been made – and congratulations go to Debbie Rayner of Freelancer Lets who was the winner!

Debbie spoke to us and told us “We are absolutely thrilled to have won the iPad, thank you so much DPS!

“As a new company we will find all sorts of uses for this fantastic prize including onsite inventory preparation which will save time and effort, and the ability to log into our cloud based letting system from wherever we might be. We have no doubt our new iPad will help us to improve our efficiency and the service we provide to our landlords and tenants alike.

“Aside from providing an excellent service for the protection of tenant deposits, through their choice of prize DPS have proven themselves to be completely in tune with the needs of landlords and letting agents. Thank you once again.”

Merry Christmas from The DPS!

It’s impossible to miss the tinsel, wreaths and Christmas jumpers that have sprung up all over the country in the last couple of weeks which can only mean one thing – it’s nearly time for us all to down tools, enjoy lots of food and the joys of Christmas TV. As you know however, you can never fully switch off from your responsibilities as a landlord, whether that’s making sure your property is kept in good condition over the festive period, completing deposit disputes or even taking on new tenants.

There are a couple of things you can do to make sure your properties are in order, ensuring the safety of your tenants and hopefully a stress-free Christmas for you.

Are your tenants leaving the property over Christmas?

Our adjudication team receives a lot of claims following severe winter weather. The majority are usually the result of burst or frozen pipes at student houses where tenants had left the property to spend Christmas with their families.

In the worst cases seen by our adjudicators over the years burst pipes have resulted in damage to carpets and flooring, kitchen appliances needing replacing and claims for lost rent whilst damage is repaired. Some landlords have faced repair bills of several thousand pounds.

To avoid this stress and expense, contact your tenants to see if they’re going away for the festive season, to ensure that the proper measures are taken to avoid this kind of damage.

Be aware of evidence submission deadlines

If you’ve currently got a deposit in dispute then don’t forget to stick to your evidence submission deadlines. The DPS is not extending any deadlines but is making allowances for bank holidays so if you’re concerned about a deadline then get in touch so we can see what we can do for you.

Our Christmas opening hours

If you’re taking on new tenants over Christmas or the New Year you can submit deposits at any time online. If you need assistance our contact centre opening hours are:

Monday 24th – 8:30am – 4:00pm

Tuesday 25th – CLOSED 

Wednesday 26th – CLOSED 

Thursday 27th – 8:30am – 5:30pm

Friday 28th – 8:30am – 5:30pm

Monday 31st – 8:30am – 4:00pm

Tuesday 1st – CLOSED

You can also get in touch via online form or why not ask Emma, our online customer service agent.

Finally, a very merry Christmas to you from everyone at The DPS!

Keep safe, stay safe, #fraudprevention

We are aware of emails using our name asking customers to transfer money via wire transfer – these emails are fake and they are not from The DPS. If you receive one of these emails please ignore and delete it. We will be working with the relevant authorities to investigate who is sending these emails.

 

We are also aware of emails using our name which asks recipients to click on a link in the email which takes them to a fake log in screen. To try and fool the user, this fake log in screen may also contain links to our real website. These emails are fake and should be ignored and deleted. If you are ever unsure of the authenticity of an email, please do not click on any links within the email, but instead open a new web browser and go directly to www.depositprotection.com.

We will never email you to ask you to transfer money, or to ask for confidential information such as your username, password or answers to security questions. If you receive an email asking for this information, do not click on any links in the email or agree to any of the email requests.

All legitimate transactions with The DPS are completed via our secure website www.depositprotection.com only. If you are unsure, please go direct to our website or call us on 0844 4727 000.

When completing a transaction at www.depositprotection.com you will see our secure website starting with https:// so you can rest assured our site is safe and protected.

We will be tweeting online safety hints and tips with the hashtag #fraudprevention – spread the word and pass this information on to your tenants to protect our industry from fraud.

 

Keep web safe

We hear all too often in the news examples of consumers becoming victims of identity theft, so here are a few tips for our customers to help you stay safe on the internet. Don’t give out personal information, such as any PIN numbers or even your DPS repayment ID (it’s like a PIN number too!).

Remember to keep your passwords secret. If possible, use passwords that include numbers, capital letters, lower case letters and symbols to make them more secure, and don’t write them down. Don’t leave any of your ID details in public view, as these details can also be used by someone trying to impersonate you.

Take a good look at any emails you receive before you click on any links. If there are spelling mistakes or the sender is asking you for information it should already have, then the email may be fake and potentially dangerous. We will never email you to ask for details such as your username, password or answers to security questions.