Tenants' worries about deposit returns show just how much we need an alternative like flatfair

Almost one in five (18%) of tenants in the private rented sector say they’ve had to wait more than three months to get their tenancy deposit back, according to a survey by mortgage lender Nationwide.

While the average waiting time was nearly two months, 4% of respondents said they’d experienced a delay of more than six months in getting their deposit back. This is despite guidance from the Tenant Deposit Scheme (TDS), one of the largest in the UK that ringfences or insures tenants’ deposits, saying that a landlord or letting agent should return a tenancy deposit within 10 calendar days of a tenant’s request.

When asked what might be causing such delays, a landlords’ group suggested disputes could slow down the refunding of deposit payments.

“It’s reports like these that prove just how broken the UK lettings market is,” says says Franz Doerr. “On the one hand, tenants can find themselves waiting an unreasonably long time to get large lump sums back; on the other, landlords can find they’re fighting lengthy battles over claims. The system just doesn’t work.”

flatfair, the UK’s fastest-growing tenancy deposit alternative, can help both parties from the get-go. Firstly, tenants can avoid paying hefty upfront deposits by opting instead to pay a one-off affordable membership fee to flatfair (one week’s rent plus VAT split evenly across the household) and then quickly move in. At the end of the tenancy, their landlord or lettings agent can upload any claims online, which the tenants can then view, accept or negotiate before paying online.

In the event a dispute does arise, this is referred to a government authorised independent adjudication service, who will return their findings promptly and transparently. This means that both parties can clearly see where they stand, and quickly. Landlords will then be paid for any lawful charges within 20 days – the scheme, for landlords, is completely free.

“There are so many benefits to renting with flatfair,” explains Ben Yexley, Partnership Manager. “Without the burden of a hefty deposit, tenants are able to move in quicker, with less money required up front, and they can pay for charges at the end of the tenancy rather than the start. Landlords actually enjoy up to double the protection they get with a traditional deposit scheme, and everything can be accessed online 247.”

In the light of Nationwide’s recent report, it’s clear that deposit alternatives that offer this kind of transparency, flexibility and affordability would be of significant benefit to tenants, landlords and lettings agents alike. One thing’s for sure: the old system’s days are numbered.

If you’re a landlord looking for a new way of letting, get in touch with us at flatfair today. Just drop us a line at support@flatfair.co.uk.