Nearly £900m of tenants' deposits has been safeguarded under the Government's tenancy deposit protection scheme in its first year, new figures released today by the Communities department show.
The figures also reveal that 1m deposits have been protected at a rate of more than 2,500 a day since the scheme started on April 6, last year. At the current rate, £1bn will be safeguarded in the next six weeks.
Under the rules, landlords and agents have a legal duty to sign up to one of three Government-backed schemes when they take a deposit for a new assured short-hold tenancy.
Marking the first anniversary of the scheme, Housing and Planning Minister Caroline Flint said: "With the average deposit now nearly £1000, the changes we have made mean thousands of tenants no longer risk waving goodbye to their cash. We want to ensure bitter disputes between tenants and landlords are a thing of the past. The new rules we have brought in achieve this by striking a fairer balance between the rights of both parties."
There are 1.7m assured short-hold tenancies, to which tenancy deposit protection applies, accounting for just under one in twelve of all households in England (2005/06).
Landlords not protecting a deposit taken since 6 April are committing a civil offence, which could lead to them having to pay tenants three times the value of the deposit and forfeit their right to possession of their property.