Residential Tenancy Deposits - Are you up to date?

Posted by John Burrowes on Friday, May 15, 2015

New rules regarding Tenancy Deposits came into force on 26 March 2015. The new provisions are summarised below.

No need to re-serve the Prescribed Information on renewals

The Prescribed Information now only needs to be served at the commencement of the first letting of a Property by a Landlord to a Tenant. If a fixed term tenancy comes to an end and becomes periodic, or is renewed, the Prescribed Information does not need to be served again. This removes an administrative burden from Landlords.

Deposits taken before 6 April 2007

There are two new provisions affecting deposits taken before 6 April 2007, the date when the Tenancy Deposit Protection legislation came into force.

Where a deposit was taken prior to 6 April 2007, and the tenancy became periodic after that date, the deposit must be protected in an authorised scheme. Landlords have until 23 June 2015 to attend to this, if they have not done so already. The deposit will then be treated as having always been protected. Financial penalties will apply if the deposit is not registered by that date and the Landlord will be unable to serve a valid Section 21 Notice to obtain possession of the Property.

Where a deposit was taken prior to 6 April 2007, and the tenancy became periodic before that date, the deposit does not have to be protected. However, if the Landlord wishes to serve a Section 21 Notice, the deposit must be protected or returned to the Tenant.

A greater role for Agents

If a Letting Agent has dealt with protection of the deposit on behalf of the Landlord, the Letting Agent’s own contact details can now be recorded in the Prescribed Information, rather than the Landlord’s.

Summary

We are now in a position where all tenancy deposits need to be registered. There is greater clarity as to when the Prescribed Information needs to be served. Landlords should review their portfolios to make sure that they have complied with the legislation. The consequences of a failure to comply are significant: a Landlord may incur financial penalties and will be unable to serve a valid Section 21 Notice.