The Government have issued an amnesty for landlords who have not registered their tenants deposits in one of the official schemes, but this will expire on June 23rd and they may then face a hefty fine of £3,600 (based on an average deposit of £1200) if they have failed to comply. The fine is calculated by tripling the initial deposit.
Legislation requiring the protection of deposits was initially introduced in 2007 but it is estimated that around 1 in 3 of the 1.5 million private landlords in England and Wales have failed to register with a deposit protection service.
Not all landlords will be affected by this – university lets and lodgers under a licence are generally excluded. All landlords who have an ‘assured short hold tenancy’ agreement must register with one of the official government backed schemes. These schemes are the Deposit Protection Service, My Deposits and Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Scottish and Northern Ireland landlords are not included in the scheme.
Deposit protection became compulsory some eight years ago in order to mediate disputes at the end of the tenancy. If there is a dispute between landlord and tenant the deposit will be protected in the scheme until the dispute is settled.
Landlords have thirty days from receiving the deposit to register with one of the schemes which are all provided at relatively low cost.
Michelle Hayter, Dispute Resolution Solicitor says, ‘Even now we often hear of deposits not being protected and tenants, who are wise to their rights, successfully bringing claims against landlords in this regard, a claim that could easily be avoided by taking the right advice and the right steps when letting a property.’
We have offices in Christchurch 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.