Tenants across Burnley are being urged to check their deposit is protected by their landlord as shocking figures show that up to a million private sector UK tenants with combined deposits worth up to £1billion are missing out on deposit protection*. Petty’s, locally renowned residential sales and lettings agents, said the number of tenancies affected is likely to grow rapidly as the rental market soars.

It became law in April 2007 that landlords will have to participate in either a ‘custodial’ or ‘insured’ Tenancy Deposit Scheme and provide tenants with the relevant contact details. These schemes were enforced to protect the tenant’s deposit and ensure that it is returned to the tenant at the end of the rental agreement except when the landlord has a legitimate claim on it.

Simon Westwell, Residential Lettings Manager at Petty Lettings says: “Unless told about it, many tenants are actually unaware of their legal rights and unfortunately these startling figures are showing that many tenants across our region are simply not protected.

“It is imperative that the tenant ensures their deposit is protected whether they apply through an agent or a private landlord. It isn’t just for peace of mind, it is also to benefit both parties should there be any form of disagreement encouraging swifter dispute resolution between both parties than via the more costly court route. We are members of the Dispute Service and all our deposits are registered through them giving the tenant the protection that they require.”

Landlords who fail to fulfil the obligations of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme are also at risk with courts able to sanction that they pay the tenant a sum equal to three times the amount of the deposit, on average in Burnley, this would equate to around £1500.

Simon added: “The landlords need to do their homework to comply with the regulations or use a reputable agent with qualified staff to give the correct advice.”