Late tenancy deposit protection fines

Late tenancy deposit protection fines

8:54 AM, 11th February 2014, About 8 years ago 72

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I spoke to someone on the NLA helpline this morning who told me that the law is unambiguous – landlords registering deposits later than one month after receipt are liable to be sued for three times the deposit amount.

Looking online, I am unable to find definitive reference to this, and, most importantly, how are courts tending to implement this?

Are landlords being being subjected to these levels of punitive damages?

Can anyone help me with this? Late tenancy deposit protection fines

I am interested to know primarily how this is working out in practice. I would imagine that if it were the case that tenants absolutely have the right to 3X the deposit amount in the case of late registration, there would surely be an epidemic of lawsuits going on right now?

Do you have any direct, recent experience of how this is being implemented or have no cases yet come to court under the new rules yet?

Thanks in advance.

Eric

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Comments

by Jeremy Smith

14:46 PM, 11th February 2014, About 8 years ago

All this very good advice !!!

Firstly Eric,
I would suggest you use a different Property118.com name to your real one (if you haven't already)
- The first time I posted on P118, within hours, when I googled my name, the P118 post was on top of the google list for everyone to see - perhaps also in 3 or 4 years, when the tenants have a different outlook on their past landlords !!

Now a question:
I have some tenants who I took in just after the scheme came into force.
Consequently, I didn't realise I needed to protect the deposits.
Subsequently, 4-5 years later, I have refunded their deposits in full and issued new AST agreements, specifically noting that no deposit is held.
They also signed an agreement stating that they had received their deposit back in full.
I came short of putting in paragraphs stating they would make no claim in the future, etc, etc, so as not to highlight the very point of them possibly being able to claim against me.
I have a very good relationship with them and I felt I would jepodise that if I asked them to sign paragraphs which proved I didn't trust them !!

As I have now refunded the deposits, and they have accepted them, am I free to go, or do I expect to receive further punishment for my crime if they subsequently take a dislike to me ?

by Industry Observer

14:49 PM, 11th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Robert M

Never, ever believe anything any Scheme says unless it is blindingluy obvious that it is. They just do not know, all they are doing most of the time is expressing an opinion a bit like CLG, you or me.

They don't understand the Law any better than anyone else does - witness The Dispute Service reaction to Johnson v Old didn't have a clue what they were saying was totally wrong and not what the lead Judge at CoA had said at all.

Mydeposits totally all at sea pre and post Superstrike.

by Industry Observer

15:00 PM, 11th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Jeremy

Very good advice on anonymity etc on the web I have to do it because I am still active in the industry, but even when not (if ever!!) I will use IO. Because that's what I am anyway!!

Further punishment I'm afraid if the tenancy was still running as at 6.5.12 and you hadn't protected by then.

Repaying the deposit was one of the pre Localism Act loopholes but that, plus protecting late in DPS (still possible but now an offence) and the barmiest of them all, the ex tenant being unable to puruse a claim (when else does the tenant make a claim as deposit is only dealt with after tenancy has ended!!!) were all cosed off.

There are now no loopholes - none.

Repayment is good and will mitigate in any subsequent claim but I am afraid the offence has been committed and lies there until 6 years I would suggest from 6.5.12 but at least you'd probably be down to just a x1 penalty.

Though as others have said that is bad enough.

by Jeremy Smith

15:09 PM, 11th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Industry Observer " at "11/02/2014 - 15:00":

Now I have got confused as to when the 6 years might have started:

I see you suggest from 06.05.12,

Would it have been 30 days after the original tenancy started, when it should have been protected initially?
Or
the last day that the previous tenancy ended (ie just before the refund, the last day it was still in my possession), just before the new TA with no deposit started?
Or
when it lapsed into Statutory Periodic +30 days ?

by Robert M

15:56 PM, 11th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Industry Observer " at "11/02/2014 - 15:00":

A first. I totally agree with a post that Industry Observer has made.

Except, to be fair, I think that at times scheme providers are at a loss dealing with inadequate legislation rather than being totally clueless!

by Eric Kennedy

15:57 PM, 11th February 2014, About 8 years ago

First off, I do completely understand your bafflement Mark as to why a newbie would try to do things solo. I guess hubris, a certain arrogance, a sense of invincibility, or perhaps an instinctive belief that as long as you behave honourably and decently the law will be on your side...? I can't argue with you - thank you for the link you sent, I am going to be in the market for that service soon so there we go, future problems avoided.
As to this new angle about receiving deposits in installments, this is what tripped me up. I received £1500 of a £2000 deposit, and was promised the final £500 which never actually materialised, despite being a condition of the tenancy. Has anyone ever attempted a defence based on only receiving some of the deposit contractually required and waiting for the balance? I know, I know, clutching at straws, I take some comfort from the fact that some commenters say that errors in good faith might 'only' attract a 1X penalty, but I'm left wondering - could it be argued that, since they were on an AST on a joint and several basis, the deposit was never actually received in full?
Further, the woman from the NLA helpline suggested that even if they paid the deposit in £5 increments, you would need to protect each and every fiver, and I have to wonder if she was being dramatic or if that really is the situation.

by Jeremy Smith

15:58 PM, 11th February 2014, About 8 years ago

I thought the fines / compensation had to be commensurate with the losses suffered by the other party

by Robert M

9:50 AM, 12th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jeremy Smith" at "11/02/2014 - 15:58":

You would have thought so.

I am under the impression that if I punched a policeman in the face my punishment would be substantially less than forgetting to hand over a leaflet that can be downloaded from the internet.

by Industry Observer

10:24 AM, 12th February 2014, About 8 years ago

You both miss the point.

This is a fixed penalty for a civil offence. To use your own analogy get a speeding ticket for doing 40mph and it will be different to doing 90mph but they are both set by scale/formula.

TDP is the same. The penalty and that is what it is, or rather was, was a fixed penalty for a fixed offence, was return deposit or protect, plus x3 the amount no discretion.

But with escape loopholes

Localism Act closed all loopholes and allowed 30 days to comply and also made the award the deposit plus discretionary x1 to x3 which is better for Landlords.

Or would you prefer to go back to pre Localism Act, have the loopholes but a x3 penalty if you can't escape.

As I have been saying for 6 years now it ain't difficult just get it right - or use an agent who does.

by Eric Kennedy

10:35 AM, 12th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Nobody has answered my question - if tenants are renting jointly and severally, and the agreed deposit is 2000, can it not be argued that until that full amount is received the deposit has not been paid?


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