Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Alternative Dispute Resolution Service (ADR)?

  • What is the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Service?
    The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service is an independent service and a free alternative to going to court. It includes collating and summarising the evidence and submissions from the parties, and provides adjudication by an independent legally qualified and suitably trained independent Adjudicator appointed by The DPS who has considered and analysed the evidence submitted by both parties.
  • How does it work via Joint Deposit Repayment? (paper only)
    Once we have had notification of a dispute via a duly completed paper Joint Deposit Repayment Form, we will retain the disputed amount and issue an agent/landlord’s Evidence Form to the agent/landlord. This form must be fully and properly completed and received by us within 14 calendar days of it being issued. On receipt of this form, we will summarise the evidence and send the summary to the tenant with a blank tenant’s Evidence Form.

    The tenant’s Evidence Form must be fully and properly completed and received by us within 14 calendar days of it being issued. The lead tenant must complete the tenant’s Evidence Form on behalf of all tenants.

    Finally we will provide the agent/landlord with a summary of the tenant’s evidence and allow the agent/landlord seven calendar days to either accept or disagree with the contents of the tenant's reason for dispute, as summarised, and to submit any additional evidence. Whether or not we receive a response from the agent/landlord within seven calendar days, the dispute will be referred to the Adjudicator.

    The Adjudicator will have 28 days from the date of receiving the file in order to make a decision based on the papers provided by the parties.

    When issuing Evidence Forms, if we have a valid email address or mobile phone number, we will send an email or a SMS message to the party concerned, informing them that the form has been posted and that they have 14 days to return the form, together with their evidence.If either party wishes to have copies of the other party's evidence, a written request must be made to The DPS.

    Please note the ADR process for Online Repayments and Single Claim disputes differs from the above.

  • How does it work via Single Claim?
    To use the Single Claim process, either the agent/landlord or lead tenant claiming part or all of the deposit must provide us with a Statutory Declaration at least 14 calendar days after the tenancy has ended. The Statutory Declaration must be sworn or affirmed in the presence of a Solicitor, Commissioner for Oaths or Magistrate and must be filled out completely, including any details of the last known address or contact details of the other party, if known. In the case of the agent/landlord being the claiming party, it must also include the basis on which the amount of the deposit claimed is calculated, with particulars of any facts relied on to justify claiming that amount.

    If The DPS receives a Statutory Declaration Notice disputing part or the entire amount claimed by the Single Claim during 14 days of statutory notice, The DPS will write to both parties notifying them of the dispute. Both parties will then be given seven calendar days in order to submit any additional evidence before the case is referred to the Adjudicator.

    The Adjudicator will have 28 days from the date of receiving the file in order to make a decision based on the papers provided by the parties.

    The dispute will be referred to The DPS’ Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service unless either party indicates that they do not wish to use The ADR service, or notifies The DPS in writing of their intention to resolve the dispute using the County Courts or another dispute resolution service.When issuing a Statutory Declaration Notice, if we have a valid email address or mobile phone number, we will send an email or a SMS message to the party concerned, informing them that a Notice has been issued and that they have 14 days to return the Notice.

  • How long does it take?
    The length of the ADR process depends on whether the case is started via Joint Deposit Repayment or Single Claim. Please see ‘How does it work when a Joint Deposit Repayment form is submitted?’ and ‘How does it work via Single Claim?’ for specific details on each process.
  • How do I use the service?
    The process is started once both parties have completed a Joint Deposit Repayment form, and may also be used where a Statutory Declaration for a Single Claim is disputed by the responding party. Please see ‘How does it work when a Joint Deposit Repayment form is submitted?’ and ‘How does it work via Single Claim?’ for specific details on each process.
  • How much does it cost?
    The service is free.
  • How long does it take to receive the deposit once the adjudication has been made?
    Repayment of the disputed amount, in accordance with the Adjudicator’s decision, will be released within 10 calendar days of the decision being reached.

    If you still have questions on this matter please contact us using our Online Form.

  • What happens if one party does not agree to use the ADR service?

    The ADR service can only be used where both parties agree to resolve the dispute through it, and to be bound by the decision. If one party states that they do not wish to use the ADR service, then resolution of the dispute will have to be taken through the County Courts or resolved by way of an agreement. In the event that Court action is being taken, please see ‘The dispute is being dealt with through the County Court; what information is required to release the deposit?’.

    We will hold the deposit until a court order is received or agreement by both parties is received indicating a resolution to the dispute.

  • Who will The DPS communicate with in respect of a dispute?
    We will only communicate with the named agent/landlord and the sole/lead tenant about evidence submissions and dispute resolution.
  • Will the Adjudicator contact me directly?
    Only in very exceptional circumstances. The Adjudicator may raise a query regarding the evidence or make a request for further information or documentation which they consider is necessary in order to settle the dispute in a fair and reasonable way, in line with the law. The query will be passed to the relevant party by one of our Case Handlers. Any such additional information must be provided within the time limits set by the Adjudicator. If either party does not provide the additional information or documents within the time set, the Adjudicator will continue the adjudication as they consider appropriate, which may include providing a decision based only on the information and documents already provided.

    The Adjudicator is not obliged to raise such queries or contact the parties, and therefore the evidence supplied to us must include all the relevant supporting documentation that is to be relied upon.

    If it appears that a key part of the evidence is missing (e.g. there are pages omitted from the tenancy agreement submitted), the Adjudicator is likely to request the missing evidence. Likewise, if a party’s correspondence to us states that a particular document (such as a check-in inventory) is submitted but it cannot be found within the papers by the Adjudicator, it is likely that the Adjudicator will request this document. However, if there is no indication that the party intended to submit such documentation for the Adjudicator’s consideration, the Adjudicator will not request it. Likewise, if it is apparent from the submissions made that such documentation exists but the parties have not submitted it to the Adjudicator, the Adjudicator is likely to complete the decision based solely upon the evidence presented to them.

  • Who makes the adjudication decision?
    The adjudication will be undertaken by a legally qualified and suitably trained independent Adjudicator appointed by The DPS.
  • Can the adjudication be appealed?
    No. The Adjudicator’s decision is binding and cannot be appealed via the ADR procedure.

    If you still have questions on this matter please contact us using our Online Form.

  • What happens to the undisputed amount?
    If part of the deposit is undisputed, it can be released to the tenant without affecting the disputed amount. Any undisputed amounts must be detailed via the online deposit repayment process or the paper Joint Deposit Repayment Form.

    If you are using the online deposit repayment service, you will only be given the option of using the ADR service if there is a disputed amount entered - this can be all or some of the deposit. If the Single Claims process is followed, any undisputed amounts can be clearly indicated on the statutory forms.

    Alternatively, if you do refer the full deposit to the ADR service, you can instruct us at a later date to repay any undisputed amounts. This must be done in writing or by email and must be agreed by both the landlord/agent and the tenant.

    Once we have received the applicable instruction, The DPS will release any undisputed amount, in accordance with the instructions provided to The DPS, within 10 calendar days of receiving the correct instruction.

    If you still have questions on this matter please contact us using our Online Form.

  • How do I ensure the dispute is initiated successfully?
    You will need to include your Repayment ID - if you have lost it, please contact us as soon as possible.

    The following points may be helpful if you are making your dispute notification request using the paper Joint Deposit Repayment Form:

    1. Write legibly and clearly. If you make a mistake, cross it out and clearly mark the correct amounts, but if necessary call us to request a new form.
    2. Ensure that the amounts you enter in Section 2 exactly match the deposit amount.
    3. Do not photocopy previous forms for different deposits. Each form is individual to the deposit and must be completed as such.
    If you still have questions on this matter please contact us using our Online Form.

  • The dispute is being dealt with through the County Court; what information is required to release the deposit?

    If the deposit is disputed between the Landlord/Agent and the tenant(s), there is usually no need for The DPS to be a named party to the County Court action. This is because The DPS is the custodian for the deposit and simply holds the monies on behalf of the Landlord/Agent and the tenant(s).

    The successful party should make sure that the Court makes an order which refers to the amount of the Deposit, who it should be released to and ordering The DPS itself as the scheme administrator to release those monies. It is not sufficient to obtain an order for rent arrears or for possession for the property only.

    In the event that the final Court Order does not comply with the above, the successful party may apply to the Court for a Third Party Debt Order, which could direct The DPS to pay part or all of the deposit to them. Please be aware if The DPS is listed as a party we will make an application to the Court to change the parties to the Court action to represent Landlord/Agent and Tenant(s).

    If you still have a question on this matter please contact us using our Online Form.

  • Will the Adjudicator consider my claim if I do not have an independent third party inventory?
    It is possible for any party to provide an inventory, and any such evidence will be considered by the Adjudicator. However, the inventory documentation may be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the dispute between the parties. Whilst there is no reason why a landlord cannot provide a fair and accurate inventory, it is best practice for the inventory to be provided by a third party, in order to avoid any argument regarding bias.

    If you still have questions on this matter please contact us using our Online Form.

  • What do I need to submit if I am asked to provide additional evidence before my case is submitted for adjudication?
    If you are asked to provide additional evidence before the case is submitted to the Adjudicator, you may submit supplementary evidence to support your initial evidence submissions. This can include documentary evidence, photographs or video clips. If you are a landlord/ agent, please do not raise any new claims against the deposit at this stage. The Dispute Resolution Team will review your submissions and, if new claims become apparent, this will extend the ADR process.

    If you still have questions on this matter please contact us using our Online Form.

  • How do I submit evidence?
    Evidence can only be submitted on request by The DPS. If evidence is sent to us when a deposit is not in dispute resolution, it will be returned to the sender.

    In accordance with the ADR procedure, we will make a request to each party for their evidence by sending them an Evidence Form or by writing to the parties following a Single Claim dispute. Evidence submissions may be made by post or by email to disputes@depositprotection.com. If you are sending your evidence submissions by post, we advise that you do so by recorded delivery to ensure safe receipt within the relevant period. If you are sending your evidence by email, please note that we may not receive your email if your attachments are larger than 20Mb.

    If you have problems submitting your evidence within the relevant period you should contact The DPS at the earliest opportunity. Failure to do so will invalidate your claim via the ADR service.

  • Will you contact me if you need more evidence in respect of my dispute?
    No. We do not request specific evidence from either party, nor do we issue specific guidance on what evidence should be submitted to support a party’s claim to a deposit. It is the party’s sole responsibility to submit all evidence that they feel is required to substantiate their claims.
  • What evidence should be supplied?
    It is advisable to set out the precise details of the issues which are in dispute as well as the reasons for the amount of any deposit claimed by the agent/landlord.

    It is essential that the valid written tenancy agreement for the tenancy to which the deposit relates is submitted, in order for a claim to be considered by the adjudicator under the ADR service.

    It is strongly suggested that the following evidence is submitted, where appropriate:

    1. The signed and dated check-in inventory and schedule of condition
    2. Vacating instructions
    3. The signed and dated check-out inventory and schedule of condition
    4. If a letting agent is acting on a landlord’s behalf, a copy of their terms of business/ management
    5. A schedule of the cost of any works sought from the deposit together with estimates, invoices and receipts (produced by an independent or third party) and photographs
    6. A statement of the rent account, if relevant
    7. Where housing benefit has been paid, a letter from the Housing Benefit Department stating when it will stop, or that it has stopped
    8. Any other relevant information including photographs, DVDs, correspondence or receipts. Any photographs or digital evidence must be signed or a statement should be attached signed by the party providing them, showing clearly the date on which they were taken
    9. Confirmation of contact between the tenant and the agent/landlord and copies of any correspondence between them or details of their discussions.
    Adjudication decisions can only be reached on the basis of the evidence received by The DPS from both parties. The DPS will not chase either party for evidence. It is the sole responsibility of each party to ensure that all supporting evidence is received by The DPS within the timescales allotted to them. Any evidence received after a dispute has been sent to the Adjudicator may not be taken into account.

    If you still have questions on this matter please contact us using our Online Form.

  • Will The DPS return my evidence after a decision has been made?
    At any stage of the ADR process whereby you are asked to provide evidence or supporting documentation, clear and legible photocopies/scans should be provided rather than the original documents. The DPS is unable to return any documentation once it has been submitted to us. Therefore, to avoid the loss of any original documents, we ask that you only submit copies.
  • Is it worth submitting a claim of low value?

    Although there’s no minimum value for claims entering our dispute resolution process, we recommend you consider the value of your claim against what you’ll need to expend in terms of your time and effort to prepare your evidence, plus any costs you might incur such as postage or other kinds of outlay. The adjudicator can’t make any award for costs incurred through the dispute resolution process, so you will have to cover these yourself.

    It’s also worth noting that adjudicators can reject claims they consider to be without good grounds, or deliberately raised to cause annoyance to the tenant, and they may view claims for small amounts in this way.

  • I have an enquiry relating to my deposit which is currently in Alternative Dispute Resolution - how should I contact you?
    To ask a question about a particular case, please email disputes@depositprotection.com.
  • Is it worth submitting a claim of low value?

    Although there’s no minimum value for claims entering our dispute resolution process, we recommend you consider the value of your claim against what you’ll need to expend in terms of your time and effort to prepare your evidence, plus any costs you might incur such as postage or other kinds of outlay. The adjudicator can’t make any award for costs incurred through the dispute resolution process, so you will have to cover these yourself.

    It’s also worth noting that adjudicators can reject claims they consider to be without good grounds, or deliberately raised to cause annoyance to the tenant, and they may view claims for small amounts in this way.

  • How does it work via Online Repayment?

    Once the landlord / agent has initiated a dispute and both parties have agreed to use our Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service, we will issue Evidence Requests to both parties.

    Supporting evidence or confirmation that you have no evidence to submit must be received by us within 14 calendar days. If either party fails to submit evidence or confirmation, within 14 calendar days of the invitation being issued by The DPS. We will release the full amount claimed by the other party within 10 calendar days of the deadline for the Parties’ response.

    Once received, the dispute will be referred to the Adjudicator.

    The Adjudicator will have 28 days from the date of receiving the file in order to make a decision based on the papers provided by the parties.

    Please note the ADR process for paper Joint Deposit Repayments and Single Claim disputes differ from the above.

  • Can I submit evidence through a cloud or file sharing site?

    Because we’re committed to data security and customer confidentiality we’re unable to accept evidence sent to us using file-sharing sites such as DropBox, GoogleDrive and WeTransfer.

    If you’ve tried to submit evidence using a file-sharing service, you’ll need to resubmit the evidence to us using one of the following methods:

    > By email, with attachments. We can only receive emails smaller that 20mb in size, but you can send as many emails as you need.

    > Videos can be submitted via our YouTube channel(youtube.com/depositprotection). You’ll need to make sure the video isn’t set to private, and your settings should be adjusted so that only those who receive the link to the video can view the contents.

    > By post to the following address:

    The Deposit Protection Service
    The Pavilions
    Bridgwater Road
    Bristol
    BS99 6AA

    As well as paper evidence and photos, you can send evidence on CD or USB devices. We recommend all postal submissions are sent by recorded delivery.

  • Will you tell me the name of the Adjudicator?
    We are not compelled or obliged to provide the names of the Adjudicators, however the qualifications of each individual Adjudicator are set out within the decision document sent to the parties at the end of the dispute.
  • How can I be sure that the Adjudicator is impartial?
    Our Adjudicators act independently of the case handling process and are therefore fully independent and impartial.
  • Can I send video evidence?
    The Adjudicator will consider video evidence submitted by either party. It may be useful however to note the relevant points of video (for example: 3 mins 40 seconds – damage to carpet) in order to direct the Adjudicator to the relevant parts of any footage.
  • Can I send photographic evidence?

    The Adjudicator will consider either printed or digital photographs. Printed photographs should be signed, and the date when the photographs were taken confirmed. It may be helpful to submit a statement from the person who took the photographs confirming this information. Adjudicators will check the “properties” tab of digital photographs to verify the date when they were taken. Again, a statement from the person who took the photographs may be useful. The photographs should be as clear as possible – small sized “thumbnail” copies of photographs may be insufficiently clear. The Adjudicator should be provided with actual copies of the photographs. The Adjudicator will not access photographs uploaded via photo sharing websites such as Flickr or SkyDrive.

  • How will you let me know the outcome of my claim?
    The Adjudicator will prepare a detailed decision document, which summarises the details of the claim, the reasons for the dispute, and the reasons for their decision. This will be sent to you by the Dispute Resolution Team by email where an email address has been provided, or otherwise by post.

Contact Us

The Deposit Protection Service
The Pavilions
Bridgwater Road
Bristol
BS99 6AA

Or call our dedicated help line on 0330 303 0030.

Our customer service centre operates Monday to Friday from 08:00 – 18:30.

Copyright © 2011 Deposit Protection Service, a trading name of Computershare Investor Services Plc. All rights reserved. Registered address: The DPS, The Pavilions, Bridgwater Road, Bristol, BS99 6AA.