Currently viewing the tag: "deposit protection"
More Home Owners Move To Private Rental Sector

More Home Owners Move To Private Rental Sector

Many new tenants in the private rental sector are former home-owners who have opted to become tenants due to the increasing financial pressures associated with home ownership.

In fact more people are quitting home ownership to become private tenants, than are leaving the private rental sector to become home-owners.

The “Generation Rent” trend was identified by the English Housing Survey, which estimated that there were 22 Million households in England in 2011/12.

The trend underlines the fact that home ownership levels in the UK have continued to fall over recent years as the number of households in private rental sector accommodation has increased.

  • 65% of property in the UK is owned by the occupiers
  • 17% are private rental sector properties
  • 17% are social housing

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Rent paid in advance does not count as a deposit

Court Of Appeal Rules That Rent In Advance Is Not A Deposit

Court Of Appeal Rules That Rent In Advance Is Not A Deposit

The landmark Court of Appeal ruling means that landlords and their appointed letting or property managing agents are not obliged to treat rent paid in advance as a deposit, as that would require protection under the Housing Act 2004.

The Court of Appeal’s decision was made in respect of the long-running case of Johnson v Old, where the tenant was offered a six-month tenancy and was asked for six months’ rent in advance, because she did not have a guaranteed fixed income.

The agreement in the case provided a confusing element as the agreement stated that the rent should be paid monthly in advance, but also said that the rent should be paid six months in advance.

The tenancy was subsequently renewed on the same terms before becoming a periodic tenancy where the rent was paid monthly in advance.

The landlord attempted to gain possession of the property, by serving a Section 21 notice to the tenant, Anne Old.

The tenant countered the Section 21 notice, saying that it could not be legally served because she had paid the rent in advance, which she thought should have been treated as a deposit and therefore protected.

The tenant’s argument was successful at the first court hearing, but was then challenged successfully by the landlord at a second.

The tenant then appealed the judges 2nd decision, and with the help of legal aid, the case then went to the Court of Appeal, which gave its decision in favour of the landlord. 


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Lack Of Deposit Protection Information Costs Landlord Thousands

The Court of Appeal last week witnessed a landmark case as a landlord was ordered to return a tenant’s deposit plus 3 times the amount of the original deposit (the maximum penalty allowable by law) just because of an oversight with regards to the information provided about the tenancy deposit protection scheme used.

Ignorance Is No Defence

Ignorance Is No Defence

The tenant was in the process of being evicted from the property when it was claimed that the landlord was in no position to evict the tenant having not fully complied with the rules of deposit protection.

The tenant claimed they had not been given all relevant information about the deposit protection scheme, despite the information being available in an easy-to-obtain leaflet.

The landlord agreed there had been minor omissions regarding information about the deposit protection scheme, however, the tenant had not suffered in any way as a result.

The case was first brought before the magistrates court where the landlord won the case, but following the tenant’s appeal, the original verdict was overturned by the Court of Appeal and awarded in favour of the tenant.

The total financial cost to the landlord has yet to be revealed but estimates place the amount well into thousands of pounds (GBP).

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The Chief Executive of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme,(TDS) Steve Harriott, has blasted the coalition government over continued disinterest in the UK private rental sector, (PRS) in terms of regulatory measures, and urged all landlords to form their own self-regulatory organisation.

The TDS Chief Executives comments emerged following the sudden closure of another letting agent who closed their doors without notifying the landlords or tenants on their books.

Many hundreds of tenants were left wondering if their tenancy deposits were secure in one of the 3 official Government schemes (TDS, TPS or MyDeposits) or if the agent has closed taking their deposits with them, leaving tenants with no way of reclaiming their deposit monies.

Mr Harriott said he was “Sick of crooked and inept letting agents getting nothing but a slap on the wrist and a fine that can, in most cases, be easily paid for potentially putting tenant lives at risk. There needs to be proper regulation of the private rental sector, and if the government aren’t intending to impose regulatory measures then members of the PRS must band together and organise their own”.

The comments from the TDS Chief Executive come at a time when the latest English Housing Survey (EHS) released data from questioning private sector tenants about deposit protection.

Despite deposit protection being a legal requirement for the last five years,

  • 47% of private tenants said their deposit had been protected
  • 24% said their deposit had not been protected
  • 28% did not know.

70% of private tenants whose deposits were protected had the money returned in full at the end of their tenancy but only 17% of private tenants received only part of their deposit back due to damage or poor maintenance and a further 12% received none of their money back for a number of reasons.

While more than half of tenants were given particular reasons for retention of some or all of the deposit, 40% were not told why their deposits were withheld at all.

Complaints Over Tenancy Deposits Increase

Complaints Over Tenancy Deposits Increase

Homeless charity Shelter is urging private sector rental tenants to make sure their deposits are protected, having seen calls regarding deposit protection issues rise by 80% in the last two years.

According to the homeless charity, the average deposit for a privately rented residential property currently stands at £979 (GBP), meaning that if a deposit is withheld at the end of a tenancy, people will be pushed into debt, or even have difficulty securing to a new home.

Landlords who fail to place their tenants’ deposits in one of three authorised schemes within 30 days will face prosecution but it seems many tenants are unaware of the new deadline, leaving some landlords free to flout the law.

Shelter’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, commented: “It is extremely worrying that we have seen such a huge rise in problems with tenancy deposits at a time when privately renting is no longer just a stepping stone to something better, but a long term reality for more and more families.”

Landlords who don’t protect tenants’ deposits can face a penalty of one to three times the full value of the deposit, which will then be awarded to the tenant.

30 Day Tenant Deposit Registration Deadline

New Rules Mean All UK Tenant Deposits Must be Registered Within 30 Days Of Reciept

New Deposit Protection rules are now in force and the deadline for landlords and letting agents for the registration of a tenant’s

deposit, for every single tenancy, must be completed within 30 days of 6th April 2012, therefore, the deadline will be the 5th May 2012

This Affects All PRS Landlords If They Have Never Previously Taken Action To Protect Tenant’s Deposits

Following the introduction of the Localism Bill on the 6th April 2012, the over-complicated Deposit Protection rules have changed.

These changes will impact heavily on all UK landlords, property management and letting agents, however, many landlords are still unaware that rule changes regarding mandatory tenant deposit protection have occurred.

The new rule changes could result in landlords being left with sitting tenants in their rental properties, that they are unable to gain possession from or they could face being liable to pay THREE times the amount of the original deposit back to the tenant, regardless of any damage to the landlords rental property!

Legal 4 Landlords are aware that the new rules regarding mandatory deposit protection could prove to be a big surprise for unaware landlords and have listed the main changes that came into effect on 6th April 2012 below:-

  1. 1. Deadline for Registration

Under the current rules landlords/agents must register a deposit within 14 days from the commencement date of the tenancy.

THE NEW LAW The Localism Bill has proposed that this time limit be amended to 30 days giving the landlord or property managing agents more time to fulfil the registration requirements.

However, it means that Landlords can’t claim an administrative oversight for any delay in registering the deposit for protection.

Prescribed Information

THE NEW LAW Landlords or their appointed property managing agents must complete and supply to the tenant(s) a Prescribed Information Form within 30 days of receipt of the deposit.

This may require tenant signature and asks for contact information and details of the Landlord and the amount of deposit paid.

  1. 2. Late Registration

If a Landlord or their managing agent does not register the deposit within the prescribed 30 day deadline, then the loophole supplied in Universal Estates v Tiensia will no longer be available. The Landlord/Agent will not therefore be able to register the deposit after the 30 day deadline.

THE NEW LAWThis change has serious implications for landlords and property managing agents:-

a) The tenant will be able to bring a claim against the Landlord and /or their managing agent for failure to register the deposit and under the new rules the court may fine a landlord/agent up to three times the amount of the deposit.

b) Without the deposit being registered a valid Section 21 notice for possession cannot be issued on a tenant and a landlord cannot therefore take back possession of their property.
This basically leaves a Landlord with a sitting tenant and with very limited circumstances in which they can get them out.

The rule changes therefore affect any new tenancy in the UK private rented sector and also any current tenancy where the deposit has not previously been registered (such as tenancies which started before the introduction of the 3 Government backed Tenancy Deposit Schemes) and will mean that the deposit will need to be registered for every single tenancy within 30 days of 6th April 2012

There are still some landlords who have forgotten to register the tenant’s deposit or thought they could register the deposit only if requested to do so by the tenant.

These landlords will be massively affected by the change in law and could end up severely financially penalised. Ignorance is no defence.

Failure To Act Will Cost Landlords Money And Cause Problems Getting Tenants Out!

#deposit protection

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