Action for breach of duty under paragraph 1

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:30 pm on 16th September 2004.

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Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Government Whip, Government Whip 1:30 pm, 16th September 2004

The same response applies. The noble Baroness also asked why there was more than one scheme. Landlords have indicated that they are in favour of insurance-based rather than custodial schemes as they can use the deposits as part of their working capital. The clauses allow for the appointment of a public body to administer one custodial scheme, should there be a problem with multiple schemes.

The noble Lord, Lord Lucas, made an interesting suggestion concerning the use of eBay. My children use eBay and are fascinated by it. I know that we have thought of buying items through eBay and it is a very useful facility. My only thought in response to that is: who would validate the information and how would that work? But it is an interesting thought and certainly one on which we shall reflect.

The noble Lord also asked why we should not make dispute resolution binding. I suspect that ultimately the court process will have to be used because that will probably give some finality and closure to an extended dispute. But I think that there is value in dispute resolution, and certainly the scheme as I described it this afternoon should provide for the opportunity of dispute resolution as a low-cost alternative to going to court. In the end, it may well be the case that, where parties cannot agree, the courts have to become involved.

I shall give a little more detail on costs. The custodial scheme will be funded from interest on deposits. There will be no extra cost to landlord or tenant. Insurance-based schemes are likely to charge landlords fees—the trade-off for landlords keeping deposits—but there will be no charges to tenants.

I think that I have covered most of the points. There was one question of fact relating to Schedule 8, to which I referred when speaking to Amendment No. 230B.