Landlord and Tenant
The Government has made changes to the Tenancy Deposit Protection legislation which affects deposits that were taken on or after 6 April 2012.
Under the changes a Landlord/Agent has more time to protect deposits but the penalties for failing to do so will be more strictly enforced.
A Landlord/Agent will now have 30 days from receipt of the deposit in which to protect it. Previously this has been 14 days.
Within this 30 days period the Landlord/Agent must provide the Tenant with proof that the deposit has been protected together with Prescribed Information (e.g. confirming amount of deposit and where the deposit is held).
If these steps are not adhered to the Tenant can make an application to the Court.
If a deposit has not been protected within 30 days the Court will order the deposit to be protected or returned in full to the Tenant.
The Court must order the Landlord/Agent to then pay the Tenant a sum between one and three times the amount of the deposit as a penalty.
Previously the Landlord/Agent could avoid paying a penalty as long as the deposit had been protected before the case went to court. Tenants can now also make an application to the court after the tenancy has ended – something that was not allowed previously. In these cases the Court has the discretion as to whether the Landlord/Agent has to repay all or part of the deposit to the Tenant.
If a Landlord/Agent fails to comply with this legislation within the given time period the right to serve a Section 21 Notice (a notice which must be served to claim possession of a property) will be lost. This is unless the deposit has been returned in full (or with agreed deductions) or following the Tenant’s claim being decided, withdrawn or settled.