Tag Archives: Landlord Law series

Dealing with Deposits Latest Articles, Landlord Law 2017 Updates

This is the second post in my 2017 Legal Update series.

Today I am looking at Tenancy Deposits

Tenancy deposits were first introduced in April 2007 and ever since then all landlords have had to:

  • Protect their tenants’ deposit within a government authorised scheme within a time limit and
  • Serve ‘prescribed information’

Although many deposits have been protected and dealt with perfectly satisfactorily under the rules, the legislation proved to be most unsatisfactory and has had to be amended twice.

Frankly if they had intended to mess it all up, the Parliamentary Draftsmen could not have done a better job!

The most recent changes came with the inappropriately named ‘Deregulation Act 2015’ which also brought in changes to section 21 which I will be explaining later in this series.

This is how it now works:

Protecting the Deposit

When you take a deposit, you need to protect it in a scheme within 30 days of receipt of the money.

There are two possible problems areas here:

  • Deposits that are paid a long time before a tenancy starts, and
  • Situations where landlords allow tenants to pay deposits by installments.

So far as the early deposits are concerned – the best advice is to just protect them within 30 days.

Some people assume that as the tenancy has not started yet there is no AST to (as it were) hang the need to protect on. However as soon as the tenancy is created you will instantly be out of time. So best to just bite on the bullet and protect.

So far as accepting deposits by installments is concerned this is a VERY bad idea. Each and every installment must be protected within 30 days of payment and many landlords have got into trouble by waiting until all payments are paid. If you must accept installments its best to do this with the rent rather than the deposit.

Serving the Prescribed Information

Prior to the Deregulation Act we had a ridiculous situation (following on from the Superstrike Case) where landlords had to keep serving prescribed information forms whenever the tenancy was renewed, e.g. as a periodic tenancy.

Thankfully the Deregulation Act changes stopped this nonsense. However, you still need to be careful to serve the notice within time.

Remember that it is the information that is prescribed not the form – there is no actual prescribed information form. So, you need to be careful to ensure that all the information is actually provided.

Serving a copy of the certificate and your scheme’s leaflet will satisfy most of the requirements but not all. For example, you also need to tell the tenant the clauses in your tenancy agreement which set out the deductions you are entitled to make from the deposit.

For this reason, it is best to use a properly drafted legal form so nothing gets overlooked – suitable forms are provided by TDS and the DPS and I also have one for my Landlord Law members.

What if it all goes wrong?

The problem about failing to comply with the rules is that you cannot then serve a valid section 21 notice until you are compliant – which includes refunding the money to the tenants.

If you are ever in this situation, I have prepared a Legal Kit which you can read about below, which explains the law and gives step by step guidance.

Tenants are also entitled to bring a claim for up to 3x the deposit sum if you breach the rules. So, it is best to comply so they have no chance to do this.

Further information:

Probably the best source of information is the website for your scheme.  This will have guidance, the scheme terms and conditions and helpful articles.  The schemes also have free telephone advice lines – you can find the number from your scheme website.

The websites are

On my Landlord Law site, I have a lot of help for members on deposit issues, including a ‘compliance checker’ trail you can follow to see if you have complied with the rules, a long article explaining the prescribed information and a prescribed information form you can use.

Members can also ask me ‘quick questions’ in the members forum area.

You can find out more about Landlord Law here.

If you forget the protect the deposit in time, my Deposit Error Repair Kit has step by step guidance to help you comply with the law and serve a valid section 21 notice.

Next time I will start looking at section 21 and the complicated rules that now apply.

Tessa Shepperson is a specialist landlord & tenant lawyer and runs the popular Landlord Law online information service.

To see all the articles in my series please Click Here

Additional course below:

Landlords – if you want to avoid legal problems, penalties and fines, this online course is just the job Please Click Here

Announcing the Landlord Law / Property118 Legal Update series 2017 Latest Articles, Landlord Law, Landlord Law 2017 Updates

Summer is a time for holidays and relaxation. I think it is also a good time to stop and take stock and bring yourself up to date.

There have been a lot of legal changes for landlords and letting agents over the past year – with more to come. To help, I have got together with Property118 to provide this series of articles to bring you up to date. It is aimed at anyone who is a private sector landlord, letting agent, advisor or who works in the PRS in some other way.

Why keeping up to date is essential

For years things have chugged along in the private rented sector, not changing that much – maybe a new legal case from time to time, but no major changes.

However, over the past couple of years there have been a number of massive changes in the law affecting the private rented sector.  It has been a bit of a roller coaster – leaving many landlords worried and confused.

For example, new rules have come in for deposits and section 21 notices, right to rent penalties now include criminal proceedings and Local Authorities have acquired draconian new powers of enforcement.

Local Authorities and others

The main reason why Local Authorities have in the past done little enforcement work is lack of funds. But this is about to change. New Local Authority enforcement powers which came into force in April this year include the right to impose penalty charges and make rent repayment orders and are almost certainly going to be used – as Local Authorities get to keep the money.

This will then allow them to step up their enforcement work, funded by this new income stream.

It’s not just fear of fines though which should make you worry. Tenants are becoming more aware of their legal rights, and Judges are becoming increasingly picky when deciding whether or not to grant possession orders.

So it behoves landlords to know and understand the law – and comply with it!

This Summer Legal Update Series

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be looking at the most important areas of law which landlords need to know about and giving a quick overview.  I will also be giving you links to places where you can find more information.

The series will kick off on Monday, and my first post will be on deposits.

Tessa Shepperson is a specialist landlord & tenant lawyer and runs the popular Landlord Law online information service.

To see all the articles in my series please Click Here

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