All landlords with properties in the UK should know by now that they must protect a tenant’s deposit otherwise they are unable to evict a tenant until the deposit has been returned and unlikely to recover any money if there is damage or rent arrears. They will also have to pay compensation to the tenant equivalent to three times the deposit.
“The worrying development is that the group of unrepentant, no win no fee litigators are now looking for another victim after the PPI cases and have set their eyes on unsuspecting Landlords.” says Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham & Reeves Estate Agents (www.benhams.com). “With the law making unprotected deposits illegal and awarding an automatic return of the deposit to the tenant, plus automatic compensation of three times the deposit, there is big money to play for. Landlords are going to get caught as these litigators will not take any prisoners in their quest for fees.”
Tenancy deposit laws were introduced in the UK to ensure deposits paid to landlords are kept safe and that a tenant gets their deposit back at the end of the tenancy, so long as there has not been a breach of the tenancy agreement, such as unpaid rent or damage to the property. Marc says: “It is now more important than ever that landlords are aware of the laws governing tenancy deposits to avoid succumbing to a court case and big fines.”
Landlords letting out properties in England and Wales on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST,) started after 6th April 2007, must safeguard the tenant’s deposit in a government approved tenancy deposit protection scheme within the first 30 days of receiving the money.
In addition, landlords are legally obliged to give tenants “prescribed information” which details; the scheme the deposit is registered with, who is holding the deposit, how much the deposit amount is, who paid the deposit and the contact details of all parties. Landlords must also by law give tenants a booklet (provided by the scheme) which is a tenant’s guide to what the scheme is about as well as advice on getting the deposit back at the end of the tenancy. Marc continues: “All landlords need to be aware that if they do not give a tenant ALL of this information within 30 days of paying the deposit then a tenant may have a legal claim to compensation. Furthermore, if a Landlord is using an agent, make sure the Agent is protecting the deposit as the landlord is ultimately responsible”.
For more information on Benham & Reeves Estate Agents, please call 020 7433 6670 or visit https://www.benhams.com
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