Deposit protection: this is just the start...

It’s now almost a month since tenancy deposit laws came into force in Northern Ireland but, says LPS Northern Ireland director Kevin Firth, there’s still further to go.

Lawmaker: Kevin (left) meets Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland

Lawmaker: Kevin (left) meets Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland

For deposit protection it was a long road to Stormont. You might already know Northern Ireland was the last region to enforce the laws which have been such a success elsewhere in the UK.

The Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland want to raise standards in the lettings industry; and we’re very pleased and proud to have a role in that process.

For the industry we’re in there are challenges still to meet. It’s no secret that for quite a small market Northern Ireland is very well served with protection schemes – there are no fewer than seven at the last count.

At those ratios, making any of the schemes financially viable is going to be a huge challenge. We’re confident that our greater experience and dedication to providing the best service in the market will play a part in meeting that goal.

The timescales given to landlords to register deposits – 14 days – is the shortest in the UK. In Scotland, England and Wales landlords have 30 days; which allows them enough time to not accidentally fall foul of the law with a poorly timed holiday, for example. That means landlords and letting agents in Northern Ireland need to be more vigilant than their colleagues elsewhere in the UK.

Guinness record

Before the laws came into force it was our pleasure to undertake a mini “tour” of Northern Ireland, holding seminars on best practice in Belfast, Derry and Coleraine. The reception we received was truly fantastic – huge thanks to everybody who came along.

To single out Coleraine: what a lovely part of the world! Not only do you have the Giant’s Causeway on your doorstep but the price of a pint of Guinness was a cheerful £2.50! As someone who’s recently had to pay £4.80 for a pint of Guinness that felt very good...

We’re planning to return to Northern Ireland soon to carry on building our relationships with the industry; relationships which have already got off to such a good start.

So if you’ve got a big event planned then just let us know – we’d love to hear from you and hopefully we might come along.

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