Applications for relief from forfeiture can extend to licences
Simon Beetham | 03.12.2019
30.07.2018 Charlotte Ward
One of the principal areas of difficulty that arises for landlords when they seek to follow the s21 procedure to obtain possession of their property is how the deposit has been dealt with at the start of the tenancy agreement.
The Housing Act 2004 provides that upon receipt of a deposit from a tenant the landlord is responsible for depositing the money received with a registered deposit scheme provider (eg. The DPS, TDS etc.), thereby protecting it. Landlords are required to protect the tenant’s deposit within 30 days from receipt of the deposit. Problems arise where the requirements of the Housing act 2004 have not been complied with and the deposit has either been protected late (i.e. 31 days or more after receipt from the tenant) or not protected at all.
The Prescribed Information
Within the 30 day period from receipt of the deposit, landlords are also required to serve on the tenant and any other interested party (i.e. anyone involved in the deposit) the “Prescribed Information”. This requirement is provided for by The Housing (Tenancy Deposits) Prescribed Information Order 2007. Part of this Prescribed Information is sometimes built into modern tenancy agreements, but not always. Sometimes the letting agent will deal with this step for landlords, but again not always. The Prescribed Information to be provided includes information regarding the tenancy deposit protection scheme protecting the deposit, the deposit and specified tenancy-related information. The tenant must review and confirm they have seen it by signing the Prescribed Information.
Please see the wording of the Order itself to confirm exactly what is required to be provided to the tenant and any interested parties as the Prescribed Information:
Consequences of non-compliance
The obligation to protect the deposit and provide the Prescribed Information lies with the landlord. The tenant will look to the landlord for these steps to be complied with and it will be the landlord (in the first instance) who will suffer the consequences of non-compliance. The consequences of not protecting the deposit or providing the Prescribed Information properly or at all are two-fold:
Given the significant consequences of non-compliance, landlords should ensure compliance with the deposit and prescribed information requirements.
Contact our team for expert advice on deposits and how to deal with them when not handled in line with the requirements of the Housing Act 2004.
Simon Beetham | 03.12.2019
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