Tenancy deposit protection schemes
What all Tenants should know!!
If you have signed or are considering signing a new Tenancy Agreement make sure you know how your deposit is to be protected.
The Landlord or Letting Agent will usually require, at least, 1 month’s rent to be paid in full prior to moving into the property. This is what is known as your deposit.
In the event that you damage the property, contents or you breach your Tenancy obligation in respect of rent your deposit will act as security for the Landlord.
However, many Tenants are not aware that the Landlord also has an obligation in respect of the deposit monies.
If your Shorthold Tenancy Agreement started after 6 April 2007, the Landlord or Letting Agent must ensure that your deposit is placed in a government-backed Tenancy Deposit Scheme. A legal duty is imposed to ensure that your deposit is placed in one of these protected schemes within 30 days of having received it from you. The Landlord or Letting Agent also has a duty to write to you within that time period informing you where your deposit is held and protected.
If at the end of your Tenancy Agreement there is a dispute between you and the Landlord about how much of the deposit should be returned to you, the deposit will remain in the protected scheme until a mutual agreement is reached.
Representations can be made by you to the deposit scheme setting out why you disagree with the proposed deduction of the deposit. The deposit scheme will seek to mediate between you and the Landlord to try to reach a mutual agreement.
In the event that an agreement cannot be reached you are entitled to bring a claim in the small claims court for the money owed to you.
Landlords and Letting Agents should all be aware of their obligation to protect Tenant deposits and provide the Tenant with the prescribed information regarding this. However, in reality some Landlords do not protect the deposit in which case you may be able to bring a claim against the Landlord in respect of compensation for your original deposit and an additional award of up to three times the value of the deposit. In deciding the amount of compensation the Court will consider the amount of the unprotected deposit, whether it was protected at all during the life of the Tenancy and the behaviour of the Landlord.
A S Solicitors advise about all aspects of landlord and tenant disputes, including deposit protection scheme issues.