New tenancy deposit protection laws on the wayMake Text Bigger
Discussions to change tenant deposit protection rules for landlords are going on behind closed doors, according to information leaked by the Residential Landlords Association.
After a succession of court rulings rubbishing current tenant deposit rules, the government wants to tighten up the law.
Lately, this process has resulted in proposals going out for consultation – but talks to change tenancy deposit protection laws do not seem to be receiving the same treatment.
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has revealed they are negotiating with the Communities and Local Government Department on the issue and expect changes as soon as October, but certainly by April.
The government is proposing:
- The landlord or agent should have 30 days to protect a deposit rather than the current 14 days
- Penalties for breaching the rules will be a minimum of one month’s rent up to a maximum of three months’ rent. The current penalty for failing to protect a deposit is three times the value of the deposit.
- Tenants will be able to claim up to six years after a tenancy has ended. A recent Court of Appeal case held renters could not claim compensation for failure to protect a deposit once a tenancy had ended.
“One concern that the RLA has is that the government currently intends the changes to be retrospective. The issue of failing to give tenants the ‘prescribed’ information also has to be addressed properly, in the RLA’s view,” said a spokesman.
“The RLA also believes that while the government is proposing a minimum penalty of the equivalent of one month’s rent, there may be instances where no penalty is appropriate.
“However, whilst the RLA continues to advise its members to continue to protect deposits and give their tenants the ‘prescribed’ information in line with the Housing Act, the RLA is doing its best to ensure that suitable amendments are made by Parliament.”
Judges and lawyers have suggested that most of the problems with tenant deposit protection rules involve inadequate and ambiguous wording in the legislation.
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