A recent report by the Centre of Economics Business Research for Money.co.uk shows that whilst 85% of landlords are compliant in protecting their tenant’s deposits, around 300,000 of UK landlords are estimated to not be. The research suggests that currently up to £514 million’s worth of deposit money is not protected, putting landlords at risk of fines up to three times the deposit value. As a landlord, it is therefore essential to know about your Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) obligations.
What is Tenancy Deposit Protection?
Tenancy Deposit Protection was introduced in April 2007, as part of the Housing Act 2004 for all assured shorthold tenancies in England and Wales where a deposit was taken.
Why was it introduced and what are its benefits?
The legislation was introduced because the Government recognised that many deposits were being withheld unfairly at the end of a tenancy. The introduction of TDP was therefore identified as a way to raise standards in the lettings industry and ensure tenants are treated fairly.
Landlords can feel as though they are not trusted with deposits, however in reality the deposit is not their money, but instead the tenants. Deposit protection removes this element of trust, allowing the landlord-tenant relationship to become more transparent.
What are your legal obligations?
From April 2012, as a landlord, you must protect any deposit you receive within 30 calendar days of receiving it.
In England and Wales deposits can be registered with:
Once you receive the deposit you must inform your tenants on the following within 30 days:
The address of the rented property
How much deposit you’ve received from the tenants
How the deposit is protected
The name and contact details of the TDP scheme and its dispute resolution service
Why you would keep some or all of the deposit
How to apply to get the deposit back
What to do if there’s a dispute over the deposit
(Please visit gov.uk for a more exhaustive list)
The legislation also introduced standards for the way in which deposit disputes are handled. All TDP providers offer a free Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service for occasions where tenants and landlords can’t agree on if and how much should be deducted from a deposit.
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