Have you protected your tenant’s deposit? Legislation has been in place since 2007 obliging landlords to protect their tenant’s deposit. This is a two stage process; but we are still finding it common that landlords are unaware of this or don’t complete it correctly.
The two stages are:
- The landlord must protect the tenant’s deposit with a government recognised scheme (TDS, DPS or MyDeposits) within 30 days of receiving the deposit, regardless of whether a tenancy agreement has been signed; and
- The landlord must then serve the prescribed information on the tenant or relevant person within 30 days of receiving the deposit.
The prescribed information is provided by the deposit protection scheme. It should detail the scheme the deposit is protected under and their dispute resolution service; details of the landlord and tenant; details of the deposit; the circumstances under which money can be deducted from the deposit; and usually an advisory leaflet. If the tenant or relevant person does not receive this prescribed information within the 30 day deadline the deposit is not correctly protected.
Failure to protect a tenant’s deposit correctly could make it difficult for a landlord to later legally terminate the tenancy. The tenant is also entitled to their full deposit back and compensation of between one and three times the deposit amount.
It is essential that the landlord both registers the tenant’s deposit and serves the prescribed information on the tenant or relevant person within 30 days of receiving it to protect themselves from any claim by a tenant; but if these steps have not been taken, careful management of the problem will be needed to ensure the landlord can still terminate the tenancy.
Image by Lydia under a creative commons licence