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TDS Northern Ireland racks up five years and industry award

Friday 27 April 2018

Tenancy Deposit Scheme Northern Ireland (TDSNI) has been named as the best Deposit Protection Scheme in the sector for the third time, the same month it celebrates the five years since taking its first deposit.

From its inception in April 2013, it has grown to be the industry leader, responsible for looking after around 80% of all tenancy deposits in Northern Ireland.

The not-for-profit received the prestigious accolade at The ESTAS, the UK awards for the property industry. TDSNI were presented with the award by TV Presenter Phil Spencer after receiving the highest rating of all schemes by its letting agent members.

In 2012, the Northern Irish Assembly decided to follow the model of tenancy deposit protection that England and Wales introduced in 2007. Backed by the Department for Social Development (now Communities), TDSNI started operations in April 2013.  

In half a decade, TDSNI has protected over 93,300 deposits worth over £56 million. It currently holds around £25 million between its Custodial and Insured Schemes. As well as protecting deposits, TDSNI also provides free dispute resolution services when disagreements between landlords/agents and tenants arise.

TDSNI’s operations manager, Eamonn Hunt has been with the only not-for-profit deposit protection scheme since its inception, managing the day-to-day running, and educating landlords and agents on deposit protection legislation.

He said: “It’s fantastic to have the work that we do for our members recognised and we thank them for their support.

“When tenancy deposit protection was first introduced, there was an initial reluctance, reticence and suspicion among landlords and agents. There was a lack of knowledge in the beginning but over the years, we’ve worked closely with various stakeholders to educate Northern Ireland’s Private Rented Sector (PRS) on its legal obligations with tenants’ deposits.

“Education is a fundamental part of what we do to ensure that everyone involved in the PRS knows what their rights and responsibilities are, creating successful tenancies.

“The way that the scheme operates has also gone through some pretty significant changes in the last half-decade. We’ve moved from managing vast quantities of paperwork around lodging deposits and dispute resolution to a primarily online process.

“Our ability to adapt to changes in the industry is one of the reasons why TDSNI has asserted itself as the leader in the market. Having a local presence with local knowledge also sets us apart from the other schemes.

“Our team has a great depth and breadth of experience working as agents, or in other roles in the industry. We also have great relationships with the bodies that we partner with who provide insight and advice on specific industry matters across Northern Ireland.

“Knowing the challenges that local property professionals and tenants face allows us to provide excellent customer service, which we’ve been recognised for at UK-national awards.

“Although we’re in a healthy place in terms of our share of the market, there are considerable challenges facing the sector over the next five years.

“For example, proposed legislative changes making deposit protection retrospective would also have a huge impact on the industry.  If passed, it will mean a huge rise in the numbers of deposits requiring protection, which provides both a practical challenge, but also significant opportunity for growth.

“The road ahead might sometimes be difficult, but the future for TDSNI certainly looks bright.”

Over the last five years, the scheme has become the market-leader and is the only scheme operating in Northern Ireland that is based in the country.

TDSNI is run in partnership with ARLA Propertymark, the National Union of Students-Union of Students in Ireland and the Landlords Association of Northern Ireland. 

To find out more about how tenancy deposit schemes work please visit www.tdsnorthernireland.com.