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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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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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