The Dispute Service, which operates the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), has released its 2020 Annual Review. This annual report is a popular publication in the private rented sector (PRS) with interesting insights on tenancy deposit disputes over the recent period, how the Dispute Service operates, and how it aims to make a difference.

This latest review provides a detailed look at how the process of disputes works, from start to finish and highlights the top reasons for disputes from 2019-2020 across the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, TDS Northern Ireland and SafeDeposits Scotland. The 2020 review also reveals how quickly TDS resolve them, which will be of particular interest to landlords and letting agents.

The Dispute Service aims to not only raise the standards of the private rented sector but to make a genuine difference to the lives of landlords, agents, and tenants. Both the TDS Charitable Foundation and SafeDeposits Charitable Trust were formed to make a difference to the private rented sector, with a focus on improving the management of private rented housing in the UK.

The review also highlights the importance of customer service and the role it plays in the organisation’s efforts to maintain its award-winning support levels. “Customer excellence is at the heart of what we do. It’s what makes us stand out from the crowd. It’s who we are and what we believe in” said Steve Harriott, Group Chief Executive.

Building on that, the report details how the Dispute Service has dealt with the Covid-19 challenges looking at how differently the business operates today as a result of its agile strategy. “We continued to provide a full suite of services without any disruption right from lockdown through to the time of writing the report in the autumn of 2020” said Chair of the TDS Board, Martin Partington CBE QC.

The importance of fairness and impartiality is a prominent theme in the 2020 review. Having dealt with over 16,000 tenancy deposit disputes in the past year, the Dispute Service explains what’s required of their adjudicators. “As adjudicators, we abide by a clear code of conduct which requires all adjudicators to exercise independent judgement on disputes without fear of favour to either side. This commitment to fairness is at the heart of what we do,” commented Alison MacDougall, Director of Resolution at TDS.

Furthermore, the 2020 review introduces TDS Resolution, which was launched in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to encourage early mediation for rent arrears disputes. The service, which is explained in more detail within the report, is designed to remove the need for unnecessary court hearings, assisting both landlords and tenants to negotiate rent repayment plans as an alternative to eviction.

The Annual Review 2020 is now available for download here.

About the Dispute Service

The Dispute Service was established in 2003 to operate Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) across the UK and to provide dispute resolution services.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

TDS Resolution is a resolution scheme intended to resolve rent arrears between landlords and tenants.

The Dispute Service also help to establish SafeDeposits Scotland Ltd as a subsidiary of the Dispute Service to operate a scheme in Scotland.  Dispute Service also formed TDS Northern Ireland to operate a scheme there as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dispute Service Group. 

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