“Where are the missing billions?” property expert asks

A leading property expert is seeking the whereabouts of at least £1.4bn held in Tenancy Deposit Schemes

£3.2bn of deposits paid by UK renters are currently sitting in the schemes – with much of that money being held by their landlord or letting agent.

Landlords and agents are legally required to place tenancy deposits in one of three government-licensed Tenancy Deposit Schemes – within which money is either held by the schemes themselves in a Custodial Scheme or Insurance Scheme where the money is retained by the landlords and agents

Anti-deposit campaigner Ajay Jagota of sales and lettings firm KIS and insurance backed deposit-free renting solution Dlighted is trying to track that money down, and has asked the Tenancy Deposit Scheme – the largest of the three schemes – to reveal which organisations hold the most money in the Insurance Schemes.

TDS has admitted that £1.4bn worth of deposits are held in its Insurance Scheme but has refused to reveal which companies hold them citing “commercial sensitivity”.

Similar requests have been made of MyDeposits and the Deposit Protection Scheme, along with a Freedom of Information request to the government.

Ajay said:

“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 wider economy

where it could easily end up as tax revenue which could go towards the NHS?

“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!

“Organisations not being 100% transparent about where this money goes, what it is being used form and who is benefiting does nothing to improve the reputation of our industry, which ultimately can only be improved with greater transparency, particularly when it comes it tenants’ money”.

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