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