(CLG) Tenants and landlords leaflets explaining tenancy deposit protection

A publicity campaign will begin today explaining how Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) will benefit private tenants and landlords in ethnic minorities. The campaign - which will include two leaflets, one directed at tenants and one at landlords and agents, as well as radio and press advertising - will be translated into Bengali, Urdu, Polish, Chinese, Turkish, Welsh, Punjabi, and Gujarati.

TDP comes into force on 6 April 2007 and will require landlords and agents to protect deposits in a Government authorised scheme. This will safeguard the deposit and offer free independent adjudication in the event of a dispute.

TDP will apply to all assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) in England and Wales where the landlord takes a deposit. The vast majority of tenancies are ASTs.

The landlord will be able to choose between two types of scheme:

* A custodial scheme, whereby the landlord pays the deposit into a custodial scheme. At the end of the tenancy, if the landlord and tenant agree on how the deposit should be divided, the scheme will return the money to the tenant and landlord/agent as appropriate.

* An insurance-based scheme, where the landlord or agent will hold the deposit, pay a fee, and any failure on his part to repay it to the tenant will be covered by the scheme's insurance arrangements.

In the case of a dispute over how much of the deposit the tenant is entitled to, the landlord and tenant can use the alternative dispute resolution service (ADR), provided by the schemes, to resolve the dispute.

Tenants from ethnic minority communities are more likely to be in private rented accommodation, and in the case of recently arrived immigrants are less likely to be aware of their rights or have problems with the language barrier. In 2003/4, 34 per cent of tenants from ethnic minority communities didn't have their deposits returned either in full or at all.

The existence of the ADR will also encourage tenants and landlords to have clear agreements, such as inventories, on the condition of the property from the outset - offering additional protection to landlords.

Housing Minister Baroness Andrews said:

"Many people have lost their deposits due to various reasons. We often hear stories of landlords and agents taking advantage of tenants and refusing to refund deposits. Sometimes tenants are not aware of their rights so we are highlighting the schemes to help prevent this from happening.

"At the same time the scheme also provides landlords with a secure way of ensuring deposits are safeguarded by encouraging clear inventories and agreements prior to the payment of the deposit and a free arbitration service to deal with any disputes"