The merits of the tenancy deposit scheme have been debated by the founder of online property site

David Amstell said that the initiative, which was introduced by the government a couple of years ago, "does protect a tenant against unscrupulous landlords"who do not want to return a deposit.

It works because both private landlord and tenant have to agree about how a deposit is shared out at the end of a tenancy agreement, he added.

Commenting on private landlord regulation more generally, Mr Amstell said: "The problem is that in theory regulations are all very good, but in practice it usually just ends up as an income producing scheme for the government and never actually works out as anything practically useful."

His comments come in the month that the government announced new proposals to protect tenants, with the introduction of a landlord register making up part of the plans.

Written by Mark Garner

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