The DPS Rent Index is here!

Our position as the largest provider of deposit protection in the UK gives us a unique insight into trends in the Private Rented Sector (PRS). This is why we’re delighted to announce the launch of The DPS Rent Index. We’ve worked with leading economists, Professor Joe Nellis and Professor Catarina Figueira, to develop the Index, which has the capacity to inform the rental housing market and shape both public policy and investor decision-making, in the same way that house price indices do for the owner-occupied housing market.

We wanted to create a rent index that stands up to scrutiny and the highest standards of analysis, so we turned to experts with prior experience of creating complex statistical models that illuminate a market. Professors Joe Nellis and Catarina Figueira are leaders in their area and this provides the assurance we believe an index of this stature and importance requires. Indeed, Joe was co-developer of the Halifax and Nationwide House Price Indices.

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We've created The DPS Rent Index using a unique database drawn from 10 years of deposit protection in England and Wales, plus data from our sister schemes, LPS Scotland, and LPS Northern Ireland. The database is the largest of its kind, which makes it the most reliable indicator of rental trends.

So what do the latest figures actually show?

Over the last 10 years, there has been a continuing trend of rents increasing across the UK year on year, despite the global financial crisis (GFC). This saw London’s 3.47% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) representing the biggest regional increase and the 1.12% CAGR experienced in the North East as the smallest.

The average UK rent in the third quarter of 2017 was £775.13, which is £157.69 (25.5%) higher than it was a decade ago, and now represents a third (32.59%) of median monthly salary. Throughout this period, the PRS has continued to grow and is forecast to represent 25% of all UK housing stock by 2020.

The Brexit Factor

However, there are indications that rent growth has slowed since the Brexit vote, with average UK rent only increasing by 1.51% annually (comparing Q3 2017 to Q3 2016), significantly slower than the previous three years and lower than average CAGR for the last decade (2.30%). Average rent also increased at a slower rate than inflation, which was 2.7% for the same period and, for the first time since the GFC, the average UK monthly wage grew faster than rent.

What else has played a part?

A ban on landlords and letting agents being able to charge fees to tenants for renting a property has been proposed and is expected to come in to force by the end of 2018. This has led to widespread industry speculation over whether this will increase rents as landlords look to recoup costs. As a result of The DPS Rent Index, we will now have a clear indication of how rents change over time in every part of the UK, allowing for a better informed view on how the PRS is affected by such changes – and how other economic factors relate to the cost of renting across the country.

Julian Foster, Managing Director here at The DPS, said: “Figures suggest that the rental market has slowed nationally since the third quarter of 2016, and letting agents, landlords and tenants will be keen to see whether this trend continues over the next year.

“This post-Brexit increase is the smallest witnessed since 2012 and comes after three years of particularly high growth, suggesting the influence of other macroeconomic factors such as housing, employment and inflation.

While we're still some distance from seeing the roughly 3% fall that came with the last GFC, the change over the last year identified by the index represents a significant shift for the market.”

You can read the full report here. Watch this space for further updates.

Letting agent fees ban – Thank you for sharing your views

Last year, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced his intention to ban letting agents’ fees in England. With the ban expected to have a big impact on the industry, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launched a consultation to gauge the views of the market. And unsurprisingly, it generated a huge response.  

To make sure letting agents, landlords and tenants voices were heard and to help the DCLG gain a broader picture of the market, we ran our own survey to collate the views of our customers.


Any ban should also include landlords

We received 3,286 responses, and although there were expected divisions between agents, landlords and tenants, it was encouraging to see suggestions that people on all sides of the market could agree on. 

Most of the people who took our survey agreed that any ban should apply to all agents and landlords equally, with data held on rogue landlords and agents shared across the industry to help improve standards. 

It’s expected that rents will increase because of the ban, and tenants are willing to accept the rise, if fair. But according to the responses, 86% of tenants were strongly in favour of capping holding deposits. 

Interestingly agents were fairly evenly split between yes (54%) and no (46%) when it came to charging for a premium service in certain sectors, such as relocations. Tenants on the other hand were comfortable with the charges, as long as they’re known up front and representative of the service given.

Also, most people felt that any measures that remove costs, or spread them over a longer a period of time, will help with the affordability of housing and increase mobility in the housing market. 


Lifting the negative perception of letting agents

One point that came through clearly was that many tenants have a negative view of letting agents. Most tenants (86%) felt that a ban, with strong, effective enforcement will help remove some of their concerns and make them more likely to use a professional agent, a point echoed by 70% of agents and landlords who support the introduction of stronger enforcement measures. 

Such a move would not only increase competition in the market, but also force those letting agents with lower standards out of the market – increasing the overall quality of industry service.


What’s next for the private rented sector? 

Implementing the ban is still on the government’s to-do list, but the information published earlier this year shows their commitment to delivering a total ban on fees that will include landlords and tenants. There was also a proposed cap on holding deposits at one week’s rent, and tenancy deposits at four weeks rent. 

Thank you for taking to the time to complete our survey. Your responses allowed us to present a detailed view of the market to the DCLG. We’ll make sure you to keep you updated as the story develops.

Average tenancy deposits in the UK hover just below £1000

Our latest tenancy deposit ratings are out now. Every three months we crunch the numbers and calculate the average tenancy deposit for 100 cities across England and Wales.

Our sums have revealed that the average tenancy deposit for England and Wales is £970.18 – continuing to hover just below the £1,000 mark.

While the rest of the country maintains a certain level of consistency, London postcodes set a new all-time peak, averaging £1,831.14, which is more than double the figure for the rest of England and Wales (£883.21 without London).
 
To give you a clearer picture of what’s going on in your region, we’ve compared the 100 cities to the national average. How does your city stack up? Click here to find out.

Our Managing Director, Julian Foster said: “…tenancy deposits can be demanding sums for tenants to raise when they move.

“However, both parties can have peace of mind over the money when it is protected with The DPS…” 

It’s clear that these are challenging times for the Private Rented Sector and whether you’re a landlord, tenant or letting agent we’ve got some helpful tips and advice to help you get the most from your tenancy.

Calderdale SmartMove – helping homeless and vulnerable people find their feet

Through the DPS Fund, every three months £20,000 is awarded to charities that help those who are affected by housing-related issues. 

In our eighth round of awards, the applications were stronger than ever so every detail was taken into consideration.  We’re really pleased to announce that Calderdale Smartmove was one of the successful charities. 

Here’s a little bit about what they do…

Calderdale Smartmove

Calderdale Smartmove provides a high quality, client-centred service that helps homeless and vulnerable people find accommodation in their local area.  

Chris Leonard, Senior Business Manager at The DPS said: “Calderdale SmartMove plays an important role in the local community by housing those in need and providing support and education to help people access employment…”

The donation will allow Calderdale Smartmove to provide security bonds that will help them secure accommodation for the people that need it most. 

Craig George, at Calderdale Smartmove, said: “For many people, finding long-term accommodation is extremely challenging, and by giving more individuals and families a helping hand, we can make sure more people have somewhere safe and comfortable to live.

“We’re really grateful to The DPS for the funding, and it’s great to work with organisations that share Calderdale Smartmove’s ethos.”

Good luck to Calderdale Smartmove. We hope the donation helps you continue doing great work.  

Bosco House – A warm and inviting home for single homeless men

Did you know that every three months £20,000 is up for grabs? Through the DPS Fund we donate to charities that do amazing work in a range of housing-related issues. 

We recently visited Bosco House, a successful applicant to our eighth round of awards to hand over a ‘big cheque’ (see the picture below). 

Bosco House 

Bosco society is a small charitable organisation which provides 23 bed spaces to single homeless men. Many of whom have a troubled background, such as misuse problems, mental health issues and other offences.  

“Bosco House undertakes fundamentally important work helping young people find housing and teaching them the skills to live on their own” Daren King, our Head of Tenancy Deposit Protection.

The £5,000 award will help with the opening of a new hostel in Sefton that will house 13 homeless young people.

James Heller, a Senior Worker at Bosco House, said: “We are extremely delighted and grateful to The DPS for the funding provided for our new hostel.  

“The funding provided will go a long way towards providing a safe and secure environment for our clients and will contribute to rebuilding lives and combating homelessness in Merseyside.”

 We look forward to catching up with Bosco House soon, to see how the donation has helped.  

 

The ‘new’ model tenancy agreement

In February the Department for Communities and Local Government updated their ‘Model agreement for a shorthold tenancy’. The agreement is designed to strike a fair balance between the needs of the tenant and the landlord when entering a new tenancy. 

With property prices rising ever higher, getting on the housing ladder is becoming more difficult all the time. As a result, demand for rental properties with longer tenancies is expected to be higher than ever. 

A longer tenancy does have its advantages. A tenant can plan for the future, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be looking for a new place to live in three months. And landlords will have a steady rental income without the hassle of always looking for new tenants (and the hefty fees that often go with it). 

The agreement has a really useful step-by-step process that a landlord and tenant can go through before entering a new tenancy. If you’d like to know more, download the document here

SAFEagent Awareness Week – we’re fully behind it

From the 6-10 June, letting agents and organisations from across the UK will come together in support of SAFEagent Awareness Week. SAFEagent was set up “by the industry, for the industry” to protect landlords’ and tenants’ money. As a company that is committed to protecting tenants’ deposits, we’re fully behind it.

Throughout the week, SAFEagent will highlight the importance of choosing a letting agent that is part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme. In an industry that’s estimated to be worth £2.7 billion, it’s vital that our customers’ deposits are safe. There are still too many cases where tenants are losing money to rogue agents. 

John Midgley, Chair of the SAFEagent Steering Group, says: 

“Choosing a letting agent without CMP in place is a massive risk for both landlords and tenants. Who can afford to lose thousands of pounds? We might finally be getting closer to mandatory CMP but we aren’t there yet. It is so important that consumers understand that they need to choose their agent wisely by asking if they are part of a CMP scheme before entering into a contract with them.”

While it’s not mandatory to protect client money in a CMP, it is now firmly on the Government’s agenda. It’s definitely a step in the right direction and one that is supported by many organisations in the housing industry, including us. 

We’d like to encourage all letting agents to become members of SAFEagent. The blue and black SAFEagent ‘mark’ gives tenants and landlords the peace of mind that their money is protected.

Autumn Statement 2015 – What it means for landlords

Yesterday’s Autumn Statement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer contained some unexpected tax changes that stand to make it harder for small investors to enter the Private Rented Sector as landlords. From April next year, the Government is to introduce new rates of stamp duty for buy-to-let properties and second home purchases, set 3% above the rate for first home purchases.

On a buy-to-let property costing £180,000, stamp duty will be £6,500, whereas under current rules it would add a mere £1,100 to the purchase costs. The new rate applies to all second home purchases, not just buy-to-lets, so investors can’t just purchase a house for personal use and convert it to a rental property at a later date.

The new stamp duty rules, combined with recent increased regulation and tax relief changes for wear and tear replacement and buy-to-let mortgages, suggest that the Government intends to restrict the role of private investors in the PRS, and there is a real risk that landlords feeling the squeeze may exit the market. It’s interesting to note that the higher stamp duty rates will not apply to corporate entities or funds making significant investments in residential property, which indicates the Government is seeking to shift towards a more institutionally managed Private Rented Sector. The Government plans to consult on the policy detail, including on whether an exemption for corporate entities and funds owning more than 15 residential properties is appropriate.

The Government intends to use some of income generated by the increased duty to inject £60 million into the affordable housing budget for communities in England where the impact of second homes has had a particular impact, to help first time buyers get on the housing ladder. It’s not clear how an area will qualify as impacted by second home ownership, nor if new affordable housing can be created in these locations.  

There’s also little indication that the funds generated by the changes will be used to increase the provision of affordable renting. In fact, the statement announces that a pilot to extend right-to-buy to Housing Association tenants will commence shortly with five associations, further reducing the availability of social housing, with the expectation that the Private Rented Sector will absorb the strain.

Many commentators are already decrying the Chancellor’s changes, suggesting that they will in effect choke off investment in the PRS, but it remains to be seen how they will alter the make-up of the market and the type of investors operating in this sector.

A new contract, the same high standards

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve retained the government contract to continue operating our Custodial tenancy deposit protection scheme following a competitive tender.

Our Managing Director, Julian Foster, said: “I’m delighted that the government has again chosen to entrust us with this substantial responsibility.

“This contract reflects the smoothness, transparency, fairness and security with which we have run the scheme over the last eight years – as well as its huge popularity among landlords and letting agents.”

We’re the largest provider of tenancy deposit protection in the UK to date and have been the only operator of a Custodial scheme since our launch in April 2007. We’re thrilled that we have the opportunity to continue providing high quality services to the almost half a million landlords and letting agents we have registered with us, as well as over 2 million tenants who depend on us to keep their deposits safe.

The government invited prospective partners to submit tenders for the scheme in March this year, and as well as awarding us a licence to continue operating our existing Custodial scheme, have given licences to two other businesses to set up new Custodial schemes to run alongside our existing scheme and the three Insured deposit protection schemes.

With the rental sector expanding and evolving, we’ll continue to play a leading role within the industry, focusing on rapid deposit repayment; clear, regular communication with landlords and tenants; and the provision of the best support, whether online, over the phone or in person at events, exhibitions and workshops.

We look forward to building on our relationship with you in the future, and continuing to provide you with the same high standards of service you expect!

The DPS Team

Students, 12 tips to safeguard your deposit and have a happy tenancy

Students, it’s that time again – your new academic year. We hope by now you’ve sorted your accommodation and are looking forward to moving in, if you haven’t done so already.

Here at DPS HQ we’ve been recalling our student days, remembering how we made it through the long hours of study with the help of the great friends we made and some epic house parties…but we also haven’t forgotten the weird unidentifiable objects in the fridge, the post-party disaster zones, and, of course, always being skint!

There’s no good time to lose money but it’s worse when you have hardly any in the first place, which is why we were sad when our research into deposit repayments suggested students are twice as likely to lose part/all of their deposit than other renters.

Common sense should tell you that you’ll need to keep your house clean and in good order to get your money back, but there’s actually a lot more to keeping your deposit than you might think.

To help you, we’ve put together these 12 tips:


1.    First and foremost, make sure your landlord protects your deposit with an authorised deposit protection scheme.

2.    When you move in, agree an inventory with your housemates and return it to your landlord. Take date stamped photographs of any damage or problems that you record on the inventory as evidence.

3.    If you don’t know your landlord, check their name against your university or student union’s list of approved landlords.

4.    Remember, every tenancy agreement can be different: make sure you read yours and understand your obligations.

5.    Record all communication with your landlord in writing, particularly any agreements you make. Follow up phone calls with an email confirming what was agreed. 

6.    Keep copies of any documents, receipts and emails relating to your tenancy.

7.    Report any defects with the property promptly and in writing, including the cause of the problem where you can.

8.    Take photos of problems that arise in the property, and make sure they are date stamped.

9.    Remember your obligations as tenants are what are known legally as “joint and several”: if an individual tenant does not accept personal responsibility when something goes wrong, such as a breakage, then it becomes the joint responsibility of all the tenants.

10.    Keep in mind that with most tenancy agreements you’ll be liable for damage to communal areas as well as your own room.

11.    Remember in most cases you’ll be liable right until the end of the tenancy, even if you move out before your housemates. You could remain jointly responsible for any cleaning or repairs to the property, even if the damage happened after you left.

12.    Attend the checkout inspection at the end of your tenancy and take your own photographs if necessary.

It may seem like a long time before you’ll need to think about moving out, but now’s the right time to be thinking about your deposit, so you don’t lose out. Now you’re in the know, why not do a good deed and share these tips with your housemates and friends? 

And don’t forget to watch our short video to see some amusing ways you could lose your deposit.

Show abusive behaviour the door and let open communication in

You may have read the recent article in The Guardian  (Thousands of tenants in England 'suffering abuse' from private landlords, Wednesday 2nd September) that quotes Shelter’s rogue landlord figures. The numbers quoted, and the article as a whole, give real pause for thought.

The tenancy deposits that we protect are disputed in just 2.5% of cases, however this still represents a large number of people and we’d love to see this figure go down. This is why we encourage and promote open lines of communication between all parties, and lots of our tweets and blogs have been dedicated to this topic.

If a landlord and tenant cannot reach an agreement, they do have the opportunity to use our free Dispute Resolution service. Throughout this process, we encourage the landlord and tenant to be as open as possible with one another and we’ve been encouraged to see around 25% of the cases that go into dispute get resolved before reaching an adjudicator.

All of this aside, any incidence of abusive or unfair behaviour  is completely unacceptable and cannot be taken lightly. Landlords and tenants alike should be fully aware of their rights and responsibilities. They must also respect those of the other party at all times.

In order to foster an open and respectful relationship between landlord and tenant, there are a number of things both parties can do. For example, a detailed inventory should be prepared by the landlord, checked by the tenant, and agreed upon by both parties at the start of the tenancy.

Also, tenants should ask their prospective landlord with whom they intend to protect their deposit. Once the money has changed hands, they should check to confirm this. Shelter’s online deposit checker will help you do this. Landlords must also provide tenants with the ‘Prescribed Information’, explaining how the deposit has been protected.

Tenants should also be invited to attend a ‘check-out’ before leaving the property. Our figures show that as many as 48% either aren’t asked to attend, or fail to show up. The check-out is vital, as it allows landlords and tenants to meet face-to-face and discuss any issues they have with the property, or with the findings of the other party.

Inventories and check-outs are, in our opinion two of the most important factors for any tenancy to run smoothly. More important still, however, is frank, ongoing communication between landlords and tenants, and a sense of mutual respect. 

We'll be sharing our top 10 check-out tips with you shortly. In the meantime, take a look at our inventory top tips to help you create a clear and detailed inventory.

Cuppa Catch Up with… Chris Jackson

Chris, our Special Operations Manager was enjoying his lunch in the summer sun, when we politely interrupted to ask him a few quick questions. This is what he had to say…

Day-to-day, what do you do?

I supervise a team of 10 administrators, who form part of the Special Operations team. We’re only a small team but we have a lot of complex operational responsibilities , ranging from court orders, bankruptcy notifications, reconciliation and payment queries, to name but a few. We also handle any questions that come in relating to our Dispute Resolution service.  

My role is to make sure the team provides the highest levels of customer service possible and if it’s a difficult query, I will give my opinion and hopefully we can resolve it together.

What are you most proud of? 

I’m very proud of the work my team does. We always try to give our customers detailed information and resolve any issues as soon as we can. Given the complex nature of what we do, each member of my team has in-depth knowledge of deposit protection, as well as how the courts work and how we deal with bankruptcy. This makes sure that the right procedures are in place, so that the tenant can reclaim their deposit.   

It’s always nice for me and the team to see good feedback from customers for our customer service. This has a great impact on us and motivates us to do even better.

If you had one piece of advice for landlords, agents and tenants, what would it be?

Keep lines of communication open throughout the tenancy. This makes life so much easier at the end of a tenancy, especially if you’re agreeing on how the deposit is to be distributed. When this doesn’t happen, a dispute is much more likely which is almost always stressful for the parties involved.

Where would your home be, if it could be anywhere?

The Bay of Plenty in New Zealand – I’ve never been there, so it would be a bit of a risk because I’m not sure if I would actually enjoy it. But from what I’ve heard and what I’ve seen it would be bliss.

A helping hand for two charities doing great work

As you may have seen, over the last year we’ve awarded up to £20,000 every three months to charities that focus their efforts on housing related issues. 

For the sixth round of awards since we started our Charity Donations Fund, we’ve had some really strong applications, with every detail being considered. We’re delighted to say we have two successful applicants: Launchpad Reading and H3 (Helping the Homeless into Housing). Both of these fantastic charities will receive £10,000.

Launchpad Reading 

Launchpad Reading has a very simple, yet effective mission statement: We believe everyone in Reading deserves their own home and the opportunity to have a positive future. This is the foundation for all the great work they do in helping Reading’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people turn their lives around and fulfil their potential. 

Launchpad had been unsuccessful in an earlier application, but this time round their application was much stronger – painting a vivid picture of why a donation was needed and how the money would be used. The review panel particularly liked the support they give people to become independent again, which goes beyond just rent and deposit guarantees. 

‘Helping people find a home is at the very core of what Launchpad does. A home is the foundation of all of our support and with the generous donation from the DPS Charity Fund we will together be making a home a reality for many more disadvantaged people in Reading and helping to prevent homelessness in the town.’  Ian Caren, Launchpad Reading CEO

 

H3 (Helping the Homeless into Housing) 

H3 works with those who’ve been homeless before, alongside other agencies, to help homeless people in their local community. It can be very difficult to find social housing for those homeless people who are not considered a priority. H3 gives homeless people the vital support they need to get them back into a life of independence. 

Their application was extremely detailed and clearly explained how their ‘Homefinder’ programme could help homeless people out of their situation. We believe this funding will go a long way to helping many more people over the years. 

 “A lot of people would have very limited options of getting rehoused without Homefinder. We have recently reached a project milestone by housing 100 people since the programme began and being awarded £10,000 from the DPS Charity Donations Fund is a fantastic boost as it will allow us to continue helping local people move into a place they can finally call home.”  Sheila Mason (H3 Trustee/Committee Member)

Have you thought about what would happen if your letting agent went bankrupt?

As a landlord, renting out a property can sometimes be stressful, especially if things outside of your control go wrong.

A new appliance breaking down outside of warranty, rent arriving consistently late or weather damage to your property’s roof… these are scenarios familiar to many landlords and ones you can usually deal with.

But what happens if your letting agent goes bankrupt? Unfortunately, this occurrence is not as rare as it once was, and we’ve seen a small but steady increase in cases over recent years. There’s no doubt this situation has the potential to be incredibly stressful and will have many repercussions, but if it’s protected with us then one thing you don’t have to worry about is your tenant’s deposit. Both our Custodial and Insured deposit protection schemes protect against this scenario, and we work with landlords to allow them to take over the management of the deposit from a bankrupt agent, maintaining protection throughout the process.

We were recently contacted by one of our customers after this scenario happened to them:

When my letting agent was declared bankrupt, I was worried that my tenants’ deposits would no longer be protected.

However, The DPS reassured me and guided me through the process of regaining the deposits. I was really impressed that the excellent systems in place at The DPS are equally secure for both landlords and tenants.
— Landlord

As this Landlord found out, we provide simple, secure deposit protection and you can trust us to keep your tenant’s deposit safe.

If you have questions or concerns about any aspect of deposit protection, you can find a host of information on our web pages, or you can always contact us on 0330 303 0030.


Did you know...

Agents can only use our insured scheme if they're regulated?

This means that all of our agents have client money protection insurance giving you a guarantee that your money is safe in the event of theft or misappropriation. Alongside our deposit protection, it’s the perfect combination.


We’re proud to support SAFEagent Awareness Week

We’re committed to protecting tenants’ money, which is why we’re proudly supporting SAFEagent Awareness Week, running from 1 to 5 June 2015. SAFEagent was set up ‘by the industry, for the industry’ – it’s recognised by the Government and is supported by a number of organisations, including us.

When you see the blue and black SAFEagent ‘mark’ you know that the organisation you’re dealing with protects landlords’ and tenants’ money through a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme.

Client Money Protection Schemes reimburse consumers if clients’ funds are misused. They’re completely independent and don’t act on behalf of any letting agent. There are several schemes recognised by SAFEagent. These are operated by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Law Society and the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA).

To be a member of a CMP scheme, agents and landlords are required to have:

  • professional indemnity insurance
  • defined accounting standards relating to clients’ money
  • a customer complaints procedure 
  • membership of an ombudsman scheme

We’d like to encourage all letting agents to become members of SAFEagent, to give tenants the peace of mind that their money is safe and they’re being treated fairly.

We firmly believe in improving standards in the private rental sector and the SAFEagent accreditation is vital in achieving this goal. You can find out more about SAFEagent on their website

Beware of fraudsters targeting tenants

Con artists and fraudsters are constantly changing their tactics. This is why we continually monitor the use of our service, as from time to time tenants can sadly find themselves a target.

We’ve identified a new scam which is targeting tenants using websites such as spareroom.com.

Here’s how it works:

  • The fraudster advertises a fake property or room – often at quite a cheap rental rate to attract interest
  • To secure the rental, prospective tenants are told to make a deposit payment to The DPS using a set of bank account details that actually belong to the fraudster

How to spot the scam

First and foremost, we will never ask you to make a payment directly to us.

You should only ever make a deposit payment to the letting agency or landlord, and we advise that wherever possible you inspect the property/room in person before doing so. Always obtain a receipt.

In many scams, communication is conducted via email. Tell-tale signs will be bad spelling or grammar and overly informal language (e.g. “finish the deal”). They may also try to make you feel under pressure to do what they want, and will sometimes ask you to confirm information that they should already have.

Protecting your money

Fortunately fraudulent landlords and letting agents are a minority in our industry. The majority are genuine and treat their tenants fairly. For further peace of mind, it’s also worth checking if your landlord or agent is a member of an industry body such as the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), the National Landlords Scheme (NLA). the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), or the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS). Membership of these schemes indicates that a letting agent/landlord is genuine and committed to improving standards in the private rented sector. If you’re dealing with a letting agent, you can also check if they operate a client money protection scheme. The Safe Agent mark is an industry accreditation that shows an agent uses client money protection, which can also give you additional reassurance about the organization or person you’re dealing with.

Staying safe online

Here’s a few other tips:

  • Keep your passwords secret
  • Where possible, use passwords that include numbers, capital letters, lower case letters and symbols to make them more secure
  • Don’t write passwords down or save them in your phone
  • Take a good look at emails before clicking on any link – if it looks fake, or the offer sounds too good to be true, then think twice

You can also watch our video on ‘phishing’ to help you learn more about staying safe from fraudsters using email as a way to gain your personal information.

If you’re still not sure if an email has come from us, please forward it to us here and we’ll let you know if it’s genuine.

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.