Big fines for landlords who flout new tenancy rules. Student landlords are particularly at risk under the new rules, as many students will move in to rented homes that come under the regulations before October 1, and their deposits must go on protection by October 15Make Text Bigger
Landlords could face big fines if they do not act to comply with changes to assured shorthold tenancy agreements from next month.
The change means compulsory tenancy deposit protection comes in to force for assured shorthold tenancies for rent up to £100,000 a year from October 1, 2010.
Penalties can add up to almost £25,000 for ignoring the new law as deposits for £100,000 a year tenancies are generally a month’s rent – about £8,000 – and the compulsory fine is three times the deposit.
Assured shorthold tenancies (AST) currently cover properties with a rental income of up to £25,000 a year.
Student landlords are particularly at risk under the new rules, as many students will move in to rented homes that come under the regulations before October 1, and their deposits must go on protection by October 15.
Many landlords with ongoing tenancies dating from before October 1 may not deliver the funds because neither they nor the tenants have the cash.
If tenants are covered by the new legislation and deposits are unprotected, landlords may not be able to regain possession of the rented property at the end of the tenancy or apply for a possession order if they are in dispute with a tenant before the AST ends.
Landlords must provide details of the protection scheme to the tenant in writing within 14 days of taking the deposit.
If a tenant believes their deposit is not protected, they can apply to the county court to force the landlord to provide the details.
If the court is satisfied that the landlord has not protected the deposit or has followed the legislation and scheme rules, the court must also order the landlord to pay the tenant three times the deposit within 14 days of making the order.
The court also has powers to:
- Order the person holding the deposit to repay it to the tenant
- Order the person holding the deposit to pay it in to a protection scheme within 14 days.
Landlords also need to check their tenancy agreements to ensure the contracts reflect the information required by law regarding tenancy deposit protection.
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