Deposit protected and confirmed in writing but no prescribed information?

by Readers Question

9:12 AM, 29th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Deposit protected and confirmed in writing but no prescribed information?

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Deposit protected and confirmed in writing but no prescribed information?

I am landlord with a case on deposit. The tenancy started april 2008. I protected the tenancy and I also informed the tenant about it by writing in a letter below and then enclosed the DPS confirmation. I now notice there is a format that is set on the deposit prescribed information. In addition the tenant denies I ever informed him about it.

Letter sent:

I am enclosing the deposit details (money paid on your behalf to me as your deposit) just for your information. I have permission from the council to deduct for any damages you may cause to the property during your tenancy.

Any balance or if no damages to deduct I should pay it all back to barnet council after your tenancy. Barnet council is recorded as the third party in this case although it is not showing.

I am taking this opportunity to wish you a good stay at …….. I have given you before but no harm in doing it again. My house telephone is ……… in case of any problems. Please forward all my mails to: ……..

My question is where do I stand chance or I am caught up for a heavy penalty?

Many thanks

Alpaper



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:19 AM, 29th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Al,

The rules as you now know do state that you have to issue the prescribed information.

However all the situations I have run across before have been where either the deposit is not protected or is late. I have not seen what sort of penalties have been imposed or what proofs are required in a situation where you have clearly tried to do the correct thing but just missed a bit of paperwork.

Hopefully readers can help with this.

J Aruna

11:54 AM, 29th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Thank you Neil,

All along i thought i had completely followed the rules. I hope to hear from more readers.

sue johnson

18:35 PM, 29th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Al,
We had a long term tenant, he was with us before you had to protect deposits, but when he left someone from Shelter got involved. We put up the case that the deposit was not the tenants money, but the councils. Luckily I still had a copy of the letter from the council saying that at the end of the tenancy any money must be returned to them. We showed this to the Judge, so the tenant had no case.
Hope this helps, Sue

Gary Nock

6:55 AM, 30th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Al,

First of all did you protect in a custodial scheme like DPS or an insured scheme like Mydeposits?

If DPS then you would have had to manually complete the 4 page DPS "certificate"and attach a copy of the Custodial Terms and Conditions. With Mydeposits it completes the Certificate for you as part of the process but you have to enclose a copy of the Information For Tenants Leaflet to satisfy the requirement for Prescribed Information.

A deposit protected but not complying with the Prescribed Information Order can render the landlord liable to a penalty of between one and three times the deposit. It can also prevent you from gaining possession of your property under a Section 21 Notice. It is immaterial that you sent a letter saying you had protected the deposit if Prescribed Information was not properly served.

Alll Iska

11:15 AM, 30th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Thank you Gary.
Can i please ask you, as I protected with dps, the 4 page certificate did you do it as a process or did you have to download or was it sent to you? I ask this because when i protectected they only sent me the confirmation .

Kind regards

Al

Michael Barnes

15:07 PM, 30th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Alll Iska" at "30/04/2015 - 11:15":

You have to go get it.

Gary Nock

15:19 PM, 30th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Al you have to download it from the DPS site

Neil Robb

19:51 PM, 3rd May 2015
About 4 years ago

I would like to point out little or no instructions where given to landlords to the correct way of doing this. And every so often we hear another thing the landlord should have done. And how tenants are trying to claim three months rent for the few case I have read about it is when the landlord did not act or protect the deposit.

The judge may only give a nominal amount back to the tenant but as your deposit was paid by the council the likely hood is he will get nothing. This is why I really dislike the schemes none of them are fair or any good.

I was told do this to comply and yes it was my fault I never read the whole documents.

I have many times wrote why I don't bother taking deposits the time and cost involved and the likely hood of success of a claim is almost impossible. Independent Inventory at start , 3 months checks and end of tenancy independent. Photos and video's , receipts for items age of items. Dispute resolution time involved put a cost on your own. then tell me it is worth the hassle. Most tenants when the cause damage or leave the property owing rent. Now try claim over this hoping to get a payoff.

Neil Robb

20:11 PM, 3rd May 2015
About 4 years ago

Please ignore first post

I would like to point out little or no instructions where given to landlords to the correct way of doing the deposit schemes. And every so often we hear another thing the landlord should have done. And how tenants are trying to claim three months rent. I have heard of a few case's when the landlord did not act or protect the deposit there were bigger penalties.

The judge may only give a nominal amount back to the tenant but as your deposit was paid by the council the likely hood is he will get nothing. This is why I really dislike the schemes none of them are fair or any good. As a landlord do one thing wrong and it is all in the favour of the tenant. yet a tenant does not pay rent trashes the place and still gets compensation. In Northern Ireland the penalty goes to the council not the tenant which I think is a good thing.

I was told do this to comply on the few I have taking. You must give landlords name and address the tenant told where and when the deposit was protected so if you did all these then you would think it was protected but no. Yes I should have read the whole document. But attended meeting and given instructions from the Deposit schemes.

I have many times wrote why I don't bother taking deposits the time and cost involved and the likely hood of success of a claim is almost impossible. Independent Inventory at start , 3 months checks and end of tenancy independent. Photos and video's , receipts for items age of items. Dispute resolution time involved put a cost on your own. then tell me it is worth the hassle. Most tenants when the cause damage or leave the property owing rent. Now try claim over this hoping to get a payoff.

So lets say deposit £500.

cost of three inventory checks £150 that being cheap.

Letting Agents fees for arranging .

Tenant leaves owing rent most stopped paying last month rent £500 but reality they can owe months.

Damage to property Carpets painting cleaning.

your time involved lets say £15.00 an hour goes to dispute ten hours £150.00.

Add these up is it worth the risk for the £500 deposit .

I would rather spend my time sorting my property getting it back into rental condition. Best to get a guarantor either house owner or working. Sorry for the rant.

George Crofts LLB

5:06 AM, 5th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Come on guys, it's not that hard...

Protect the deposit, then give the tenant the minimum information about the scheme that the law requires.

It's not even that much information. You need to tell the tenant which scheme you use and how to use that scheme to dispute any deposit deductions. If you read The Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed Information) Order 2007 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/797/article/2/made) you'll appreciate that this is very basic information that you need to give.

There is no point protecting a deposit if you're not going to tell the tenant who is protecting it and how they are protected. The court said as much in Ayannuga v Swindells and this was 2 and a half years ago.

Any professional, working in any market, needs to understand the legal framework they operate under. If you can't, or won't, do this, maybe pick another profession? At the very least, seek legal advice before putting yourself (and your tenants money) at risk.

In regard to the OP's situation, if you have not given then Prescribed Information, you have failed to comply with the law and a sanction applies. As ever, it's up to the tenant to spot this and chase it up. Ignorance, however, is never an excuse.

More interesting is the involvement of the local authority. If they paid the deposit on behalf of the tenant (which your post suggests), as a "relevant person" they also should have been served with the Prescribed Information (as per S213 (5) and (10) Housing Act 2004). Failure to do this also results in a sanction applying.

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