On 6th April 2012 changes to the legislation were enacted via the Localism Act allowing landlords and letting agents more time to protect a tenant’s deposit. The changes now mean that landlords and letting agents have 30 days to protect their tenant’s deposit, an increase from the previous 14 days.
The tenant must be provided with proof of the deposit protection and the Prescribed Information within this 30 day limit by the landlord or agent.
Prescribed Information means all key information relating to the deposit protection which includes details about the scheme used to protect the deposit, instructions about disputes and key contact information.
Failure to protect a deposit can result in the following penalties for the landlord, should the tenant decide to take action:
- unable to obtain a Court Order to regain possession of the property (under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988) unless and until the deposit is protected
- required to either return the deposit to your tenant or to lodge the full amount with the authorised custodial tenancy deposit scheme
- may be instructed to pay your tenant compensation equal to three times the amount of the deposit within 14 days of a Court Order
Dispute Resolution Partner, Michelle Hayter, says “This change in legislation has been introduced to ensure landlords and agents protect deposits in a timely fashion and it follows some successful appeals by some landlords against the penalties imposed on them for protecting the deposit late, or protecting it after the tenancy had ended. These amendments have closed that loophole.”
In should be noted that deposits can still be protected after the 30 day period, however the tenant can still seek compensation even if the deposit is protected after the 30 day period, but before going to court. Tenants can also make a claim after they have left the property.
For a free initial meeting please call 01202 499255 and Michelle or a member of her team will be happy to discuss any questions you may have.