Tenants be aware – Landlords beware!

Surely you would think, that all Landlord’s are aware that their AST (assured shorthold tenancy) deposits must be secured in a recognised scheme?

It would appear not, as we increasingly come across properties with unprotected deposits.  I am sure there are some new landlord’s who are unaware of these regulations, which we now take for granted?  Further, there is no doubt a small minority, for whom the initial concern of falling foul of the law has passed and a more ‘relaxed’ approach to deposits appears to have taken hold and so, our reminder: 

Since 6 April 2007, all deposits paid by occupiers under an AST must be protected in a recognised scheme, please visit the private renting pages of www.direct.gov.uk for more information on the schemes available.  This must be done within 14 days of receiving the deposit or sanctions could apply.  These sanctions mean that the tenant could ask the court for the return of the deposit and an order requiring the landlord to pay them three times the deposit and in addition Landlords, please remember, you cannot serve a section 22 notice to gain possession of your property as long as the deposit remains unprotected.

Since The Assured Tenancies (Amendment) (England) Order 2010 came into force on the 1st October 2010 this now applies to annual rents of upto £100,000 from the original £25,000, so even more private rentals are covered by the deposit scheme. 

Our final word?  To all tenants, check your deposit is protected.  All the information regarding the deposit scheme your landlord or their agent use should be included in your AST agreement.  To all new landlords, we would strongly recommend that you seek professional advice before entering into an assured shorthold tenancy agreement.  Your advisor could help you avoid a costly mistake.

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