Tenancy Deposit Protection in England and Wales
Are you a tenant in England or Wales UK? Did you pay a deposit to your landlord? If it was paid after 7 April 2007 – did you know that your landlord should have GWG L bonds complaints protected this in a government authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme (TDPS)?
How did this come about?
Tenancy deposit protection was set up after years of complaints by tenants organisations that many landlords were failing to return deposits and claiming expenses without justification, relying on tenants reluctance to take them to court. For example back in 1998 the Citizens Advice Bureau published ‘Unsafe Deposit’ a report calling for a statutory tenancy deposit scheme along the lines of an existing scheme run in Australia.
Does it apply to me?
The regulations became enforceable on 7th April 2007. If you paid a deposit for an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) after that date, then yes! If you paid a deposit before then, but your landlord has given you a new tenancy after 7 April 2007, then yes again! However the regulations only apply to deposits paid by tenants with ASTs. They do not apply to ‘common law’ tenancies – these are normally where the tenant is a limited company, where the rent is over £25,000 pa, or if the landlord lives in the same building as the tenant (unless he lives in a separate flat in a purpose built block of flats). So for instance if you are lodger living in your landlords home, he does not have to protect your deposit.
What must landlords do now then?
All deposits must be protected with one of the following three schemes:
The Deposit Protection Service – depositprotection.com
My Deposits – mydeposits.co.uk
The Dispute Service – thedisputeservice.co.uk
This must be done within 14 days of you paying the deposit to the landlord or his agent. The landlord or agent must then, again within this 14 day period, serve on you a notice giving information about which scheme your deposit is protected with, and other prescribed information. All three schemes have excellent web-sites where you can find out more about their service.
What are the penalities for landlords who don’t comply?