Deposit Issues Landlords Need to be Aware Of

All landlords who let their property on an assured shorthold tenancy must protect their tenant’s deposit. This has been a legal requirement since 6 April 2007. But, we still see landlords failing to comply fully with the requirements, which are summarised as follows:

  • The landlord must protect the deposit within 30 days of receiving it. If part of the deposit is paid it must be protected within 30 days and landlords should not wait until the full amount is received. We have seen several landlords get this one (understandably) wrong.
  • Once a deposit is protected the landlord will receive a certificate from the scheme.
  • The landlord must use an approved deposit protection scheme. For example, TDS, DPS or MyDeposits.
  • The landlord must provide the tenant with full details of the scheme used. This must include full contact details.
  • The landlord must provide a scheme leaflet/scheme terms and conditions.

There are two different deposit protection schemes

Custodial Scheme:

This is where the landlord pays a deposit to a company who will protect it.

Insured Scheme:

In this case, the landlord retains the deposit and pays a fee to the scheme to protect it.

With both schemes, the deposits can be protected online. When registering them, the scheme will then supply you will all the information that you are legally required to provide to a tenant.

If a deposit isn’t protected, a landlord could face severe financial penalties (up to three times the value). As well as this, they could suffer a loss of some legal rights. Such as evicting a tenant following the issue of a section 21 notice.

A judge could take issue when reviewing a claim for possession if the required prescribed information has not been supplied correctly, which could result in a delay in gaining possession.

We strongly recommend therefore that landlords check carefully the requirements of each scheme and make use of the useful guidance notes found on the scheme’s websites.

Help Serving Notice to Tenants

If you’re looking to serve notice on your tenants and you would like to ensure that all required documentation has been supplied correctly, please get in touch with Woodstock Legal Services and we will be happy to help.

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