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Concerns over tenancy deposit scheme

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CONCERNS have been raised by backbenchers about the States tenancy deposit scheme following reports that some Islanders have waited for more than a month for their money to be returned.

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Grouville Constable John Le Maistre told the States Assembly that he knew some parishioners had waited much longer than five working days to get their money back, despite this being how long MyDeposits say it would take.

The scheme, which was introduced in 2015, specifies that landlords and letting agents must place their tenancy deposits with MyDeposits within 30 working days of receiving them from tenants.

MyDeposits take a £20 administration fee, plus GST, from each secured deposit.

If the tenant and the landlord cannot agree over any deductions from the deposit, the issue can be settled with the UK-based company acting as an mediator.

During States questions, Housing Minister Anne Pryke said the company were looking at issues that had been raised.

‘Since the scheme was launched in 2015 more than 6,000 deposits have been protected,’ she said.

‘We are aware of concerns where tenants have waited some time to get their deposits back. Steps have been taken to ensure that doesn’t happen and we improve the service.’

Deputy Montfort Tadier suggested that automatic penalties should be introduced for landlords who did not comply with regulations.

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The minister replied: ‘Tenants should be taking up any issues with their landlord in the first instance, if they are waiting too long for their deposit to be returned. MyDeposits have said they are rectifying the issues that have been raised. If more can be done, then it will be done.’

She added that a review of the scheme was due to take place next year.

A spokesman from MyDeposits said that there had been some delays recently but this was mainly because of incorrect bank details being submitted.

‘MyDeposits Jersey processes deposit release payments on average within one working day of a deposit release being agreed by both parties,’ he said.

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‘Over the past six months, 98 per cent of tenants received their deposit back into their bank account within five working days of the request being lodged.

‘We are aware of a few isolated cases where a tenant may have waited longer than five working days.

‘However, in most of these cases this has been as a result of incorrect bank details being provided to MyDeposits Jersey.

‘As part of our ongoing commitment to continuously challenge and review our own processes, in September we switched from three-day BACS transfers to same-day faster payments.’

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