As a landlord you must put any deposit received in a Government backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDS) if you rent your property on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6th April 2007. The deposit can be registered with;
- Deposit Protection Service
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
You can accept valuables (eg a car or watch) as a deposit instead of money, but they are not required to be protected by a scheme.
You must put the deposit in a TDS within 30 days of receiving it. At the end of the tenancy, the deposit will generally be returned to the tenant if they have met the terms of the tenancy agreement, haven’t damaged the property and have paid all rent and bills.
At the end of tenancy you must return the deposit to the tenant within 10 days of you both agreeing how much the tenant will receive. If you are in dispute with your tenant, then your deposit will remain with the chosen TDS until the issue is resolved.
Once the deposit has been protected landlords have 30 days to provide the ‘Prescribed Information’.
If you do not protect a tenants deposit then the tenant can take action in the Court. If a Court finds you have not protected it they can order you to repay it along with up to 3 times the deposit.
Further, if you do not protect a deposit you cannot evict using the accelerated procedure nor serve a valid Section 21 notice.
If there is a dispute over a tenant’s deposit then the TDS offer a free dispute resolution service. Both landlord and tenant have to agree to use it. The TDS will ask for evidence and will make the final decision about the deposit.
If you require any further advice about protecting your tenants deposit then please do get in touch online, or telephone 01536 276300.
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