Has anyone seen a missing £1.4bn?
Leading property expert Ajay Jagota of sales and lettings firm KIS, is looking for the whereabouts of this money, which is held in Tenancy Deposit Schemes.
Tenancy Deposit monies
£3.2bn of deposits paid by British renters are currently sat in one of the three tenancy deposit schemes. Much of this money is being held by a landlord or letting agent.
At present, landlords and letting agents are legally permitted to secure tenancy deposits in one of three government licensed schemes:
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
- Deposit Protection Service (DPS)
Tenants’ deposits are then held either in a Custodial or Insurance Scheme, where the money is retained by landlords and agents.
Mr Jagota is attempting to ascertain where the missing money has gone and has asked the TDS-the biggest of the schemes, to say what organisations are holding most of the cash in insurance schemes.
TDS has admitted to £1.4bn worth of deposits being held in these schemes, but is refusing to reveal what companies are holding them due to, ‘commercial sensitivity.’
Jagota observed that, ‘this is a significant amount of money-it doesn’t seem unreasonable to ask where it has gone and what the people who have it are doing with it. It’s not that I’m suggesting any wrongdoing whatsoever, I just think the money could be better spent elsewhere.’
‘Instead of just gathering interest for agents and landlords it could be helping renters save for a home of their own, or being channelled into the wilder economy where it could easily end up as tax revenue which could go towards the NHS?’
Where is £1.4bn being held in the Tenancy Deposit Scheme?
‘I cannot for the life of me see what is commercially sensitive about this information. What is commercially sensitive about it being known that landlords and letting agents have deposits held in Tenancy Deposit schemes like they legally have to? If they are large, listed companies as I suspect many of them are, this information will in all likelihood be contained in their published accounts. In which case, it’s not that commercially sensitive!’ he continued.
Concluding, Jagota said, ‘organisations not being 100% transparent about where this money goes, what it is being used form and who is benefitting does nothing to improve the reputation of our industry, which ultimately can only be improved with greater transparency, particularly when it comes to tenants’ money.’