Further Warnings to Landlords about Tenants Deposit Protection

by Mary Latham

17:21 PM, 9th December 2011
About 9 years ago

Further Warnings to Landlords about Tenants Deposit Protection

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Further Warnings to Landlords about Tenants Deposit Protection

Following my blog The Devil is in the Detail, I want to pass on some information that will help landlords avoid being caught out.

  1. “When you protect a deposit you are asked if there is a third party who has provided the deposit.  Most of us assume that the tenant has provided their own deposit and click the NO box. But did we actually asks the tenant?”

In a recent case, the Mother of a tenant had provided the deposit and, because the landlord was unaware of this, he did not send her a copy of the Protection Certificate and prescribed information about using the scheme. As a result, the mother was awarded 3 times the deposit by the courts.

Good practice- and I shall certainly be doing this myself in future- is to tick the YES box and cut and paste the form onto a word document. When a tenancy is agreed, I am going to ask the tenant to complete the application form and sign it. I will the use the information that they have provided when I protect the deposit on the online form. This has three purposes:-

  1. They will have signed to say that they have given me the information and cannot then claim that I have excluded a third party (if there is one) or not included a valid contact address for after the tenancy has ended;
  2. The tenant will know from the outset that I am a professional landlord and will have more confidence handing over the deposit to me;
  3. It will save me time when I complete the online form.

I only use MyDeposits, other schemes may have different paperwork so you should check this out.

  1. “Many landlords do give the tenant a copy of the Protection Certificate within the legal deadline (currently 14 days but about to rise to 30 days as I said in my first blog) time but we must also give the prescribed information about the scheme. If you do not give this information to tenants you will not have met your legal obligations.”

These documents must be sent to everyone who is involved, all those who contributed to the deposit (if it is a joint tenancy) and anyone who gave them the funds as described above.

The information is on the MyDeposits website and I am sure that the other two schemes will also provide the information on their website.

Many landlords believe that, because there is a “Lead Tenant” who will be the main point of contact for the deposit scheme, they do not need to give copies to anyone else but this simply is not the case. You must give copies to everyone involved.

As an aside,  I heard a case of a mother who tried three times to pay her sons rent to the landlord but the landlord told her that she only accepted rent from “the lead tenant”. This was a joint tenancy for a group for a group of students.  Could you imagine what the courts would make of a landlord would refused the rent three times and then took legal action when the tenant did not pay?! The “lead tenant “is for the purpose of tenancy deposit protection and in all other circumstance all tenants are equal “jointly and severally responsible”

I am sure that I don’t really need to say this, but for clarity, if you refuse rent that is offered in legal tender do not expect to win if the tenant refuses to pay and you take legal action. This also applies to those landlords who “insist” on a direct debit.  This might be your preferred method of payment but if a tenant offers you cash or a cheque (with time to clear by the due date) just say “thank you” and if it is cash issue a receipt or, better still, a rent book.


Mark Reynolds

17:56 PM, 11th December 2011
About 9 years ago

Hi Mark

If you have a PayPal account you can take payments that way - but as I outlined above it is fraught with danger for me to consider it


Ian Ringrose

20:51 PM, 11th December 2011
About 9 years ago

We have on two occasions paid deposits by debit cards (with 2 different agents), as the agent had to check our IDs anyway; it is not hard to check the name on the card as well. With chip and pin it is very unlikely that anyone will be able to dispute the payment.
The other option would have been for us to get cash of the bank, then the agent having to pay to deposit it back into the bank. The agents refused to take a deposit until the day we moved in, I assuming that was so they could make as homeless by changing their mind at the least minutes – bank transfers still take 3 days for anything more than a very small amount.
As for credit cards, I would never be happy taking a deposit on them due to their 3% (or more) charge!

The case of the mother not being listed on the deposit protection on the face of it sounds like the law gone very wrong, however was it the mother that had all contacts with the landlord/agent as the child was not capable of doing so for some reason.

Mary Latham

23:01 PM, 11th December 2011
About 9 years ago

I have taken this from the MyDeposits online form. You can cut and paste it into a word doc and get your tenants to complete it and sign the bottom. This is what I intend to do but I will use the whole form which can be found in the landlords area at MyDeposits.co.uk

Is there any third party who has paid all or part of the deposit on behalf of the Tenant(s)? YES NO (If yes, please supply the following info)
Organisation Name:
Third Party Name: Title: First Name: Last Name:
continued overleaf

Ian I do see your point and this is why I too might have been caught out. My understanding is that an adult is reponsible for his/her side of a signed contact - why there is this quirk I have no idea but lets just cover our backs now that we do know. I am cross with myself for no realising that this question would not be on the form for no reason.

I wonder how many landlords who let to students realise this?

1:31 AM, 13th December 2011
About 9 years ago

Mindful of potential issues is it going a bit over the top having 5 signed copies of the DPR.
This on the basis that in any possession proceedings you have to provide 3 copies of everything to the county court.
If you have the forms why not have all the forms completed and signed and also the tenant will have a copy.
I have had issues in the past in the county court retaining original and copy documents and want fees for me to hve a copy back.
I think you can't have to many copies!!
Ok check takes a few hours but that is what I prefer and it enables full explanation of everything to the tenant.

1:35 AM, 13th December 2011
About 9 years ago

I have to say Mary your posts todate have been very informative and helpful and I have learnt a lot; I think therefore preventing myself from dropping myself in it!!?

9:02 AM, 13th December 2011
About 9 years ago

just goes to prove further that the landlord /tenancy situation is or has become a further mine field and now seems to be a game of who can get a con on a landlord , i ask why on earth should a landlord have to be concerned as to who paid the deposit or part of it it is not the landlords responsibility to know this the question arises ,if the person is over 18 then that is there responsibility ,why not remove the wording in the deposit scheme instead.

10:37 AM, 14th December 2011
About 9 years ago

Both as a landlord and as a lawyer, I think the problem is evidential. If a landlord takes a cheque which is not drawn on the tenant's own bank account they are on notice the tenant has not personally provided the deposit. If however it is cash they can't normally be deemed to know whose cash. I suspect the provision in the regulations exists because there may occasionally be situations where a charity or community organisation provides a "loan" to cover a deposit.but again for the most part Landlords will know if this is happening.
What none of us can cover is the possibility of a soft headed judge taking the view that landlords are all big enough and clevrer enough to know every possible niche of the regulations and finding in favour of the tenant..

11:41 AM, 14th December 2011
About 9 years ago

again we make arguments for the tenant ,what if all the time , never take cheques as first payment ask for cash or have it banked direct before they move in , if an agent is involved take cash on the day minus their costs .With regards to councils or community organizations ,charity paying they will want their name in the deposit protection scheme so there is no problem the provision is red tape , the judges who make such decisions should be sacked for being so narrow minded even they make mistakes so do solicitors and in any case keep out of their way if you can always negotiate if you can some times you just cant and you have to take the matter all the way but lets not make what ifs ,it is what it is .

Mary Latham

18:30 PM, 16th December 2011
About 9 years ago

When my girls were young and they said "Its not fair" as children often do, I told them Life is not fair learn to accept it. Landlords often tell me that the law is not fair - true. That judges are not fair - true Than tenants are not fair - true. Once we accept all of that we are on our guard and that is where we need to be. A very small mistake can be expensive for a landlord, we probably will not be given the benefit of the doubt if we get into litigation.

The message is clear Keep up with legislation and regulation and do what the law requires - this is the only way that a landlord will survive in future.

17:19 PM, 17th December 2011
About 9 years ago

As a Landlord in Scotland, for the past couple of years I have not taken a deposit from any new tenants,,,,,,,,strange you may think ?
I take, two months rent, up front with no deposit.
Commercial Landlords expect 3 mths rent in advance, I only take two.
see how you get on wiyh that one.

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