Most landlords and agents are aware of the provisions relating to tenancy deposit protection under the Housing Act 2004. The Localism Act which came into force in April this year has sought to rectify some of the underlying problems with tenancy deposit protection (TDP). Dispute Resolution Partner,Michelle Hayter says, “The law requires that all deposits taken by a landlord on assured shorthold tenancies in England and Wales is to be protected in a government authorised deposit protection scheme.”
The new legislation has three main parts :
- the old 14 day timescale for the landlord to protect the deposit has changed to 30 days from the date of receipt
- penalties imposed have changed – the three times the value of the deposit penalty has ended. The court now has a discretionary power to award a penalty of between one and three times the value of deposit.
- loopholes exposed by the courts have been closed – if a landlord fails to protect the deposit within 30 days he is in breach of the legislation and the tenant can issue proceedings against him or his agent. If protection is taken after 30 days or after proceedings have been issued this is not now enough to cure the landlord’s failure. Tenants are now entitled to issue proceedings after the tenancy has ended.
Where the deposit has not been registered and the prescribed information has not been sent to the tenant within 30 days there are not many options left to the landlord if he is seeking vacant possession. The above rules also relate to periodic tenancies therefore when a fixed term Assured Shorthold Tenancy expires the relevant prescribed information must be re-served on the tenant and failure to do so will result in the same sanctions as set out above. It is best to seek legal advice if a landlord finds themselves in a situation where they are in breach of the Acts.
We have offices in the Christchurch, New Milton and the New Forest. Our Dispute Resolution team also cover Bournemouth and Poole. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Michelle or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.