Lost deposits are set to be avoided completely if new plans are put in place to overhaul the private rental sector.
The new scheme would see that an independent third party hold all deposits. If any disputes should arise they will make the decisions. The Social Development Minister, Margaret Ritchie, stated that the rented sector could be utilised as a way of meeting housing needs.
One of the central ideas up for consideration aims at putting tenants’ deposits into a central scheme so that landlords are not able to simply refuse to pay them back without reason. There will also be a Government guarantee for those who cannot afford a deposit.
This move was welcomed by the Citizens Advice Bureau who claim that many tenants simply do not know their rights, and do what they are told by the landlord.
Welfare officer of Queen’s Students Union, Fergus McAleavy, stated that the new proposals who could help many students who are forced to pay with their deposit for things that the landlord should cover.
However, some landlords have voiced concern over the new proposals. One landlord, Declan Boyle, stated that landlords do not always hold deposits for no reason.
The key elements of the proposals mean that landlords would not be able to withhold deposits for ‘flimsy reasons’, and an independent body would manage any disputes. It will encourage greater awareness of the rights of tenants, and give longer notice periods to quit for long term tenants.