RENTING: How to check your deposit is safe

Burnley tenants are being urged to check whether their housing deposits are protected this month.

The Citizens Advice Bureau has found that many private tenants in the area are still unaware of a change in law that means that they are protected against unfairly losing their deposits to landlords.

Signing up to one of the three government-backed deposit schemes became a legal requirement for landlords in April 2007 but CAB have found that a “worrying number” of Burnley tenants don’t know if their deposits are protected.

CAB supervisor, Paul Hoggarth, said: “If you find your deposit is not protected, get advice straight away.

“If your landlord is threatening you with notice to quit and your deposit is not protected, do get advice as you may have a defence against eviction.”

Any private landlord or agent who hasn’t registered to one of the three schemes is committing a civil offence, making it harder for them to evict tenants, which could lead to them having to pay out three times the value of the deposit. The schemes are supported by free, independent dispute resolution services that settle any arguments about whether the money should be returned at the end of a tenancy.

Mr Hoggarth added that this law should end cases in which tenants lose out on hundreds of pounds in unfair deductions.

Tenants can find out if their deposit is protected by contacting the Deposit Protection Service on 0844 472 7000, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme on 0845 226 7837 and My Deposits on 0871 703 0552.

For more information and advice consult Burnley CAB or go to the citizens advice website on www.adviceguide.org.uk.