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Don’t become a Target of ‘Ambulance Chasers’

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As a landlord you’ll know that you must protect a tenant’s deposit – if you don’t, you won’t be able to evict a tenant until the deposit has been returned and you’re unlikely to be able to recover any money if there is damage or rent arrears. You will also have to pay compensation to the tenant equivalent to three times the deposit.

No win, No fee – Lawyers are Targeting Unsuspecting Landlords

But there’s a new, worrying development. Unrepentant, no win no fee litigators are now looking for another victim after the PPI cases – and they have set their sights on unsuspecting landlords. 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 from landlords who unwittingly get it wrong. Landlords are going to get caught as these litigators will not take any prisoners in their quest for fees.

The Law relating to Tenancy Deposits

Tenancy AgreementTenancy deposit laws were introduced 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. 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. All landlords need to be aware that if they do not give a tenant ALL this information within 30 days of paying the deposit then a tenant may have a legal claim to compensation. Furthermore, if the landlord is using an agent, make sure the agent is protecting the deposit as the landlord is ultimately responsible.

The Despute Service

The Dispute Service

Benham and Reeves Estate Agents is a member of The Dispute Service www.thedisputeservice.co.uk a government approved provider of tenancy deposit protection and alternative dispute resolution in England and Wales, so you can be sure we have all bases covered. Their website has all sorts of useful information about tenancy deposits so is a good place to find all the facts you need.

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About the Author

Marc has been a board director since 2001 and oversees the company’s rental operations as well as developing new business. He is instrumental in the company’s expansion and works closely with Managing Director Anita Mehra to develop its core services. Read more about Marc von Grundherr here - Read full profile

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