One of the most common problems we see in the Property Dispute Resolution department is the issue Landlords face in serving Section 21 notices and regaining possession of their properties. More often than not the issues arise because the Landlord is not aware of the obligations under the Housing Act 2004 and Deregulation Act 2015.
Tenancy Deposits and Prescribed Information
The Housing Act 2004 was introduced to ensure tenancy deposits were protected and took effect from 6 April 2007. Whilst this Act has been amended over the years, where a Landlord enters into an Assured Shorthold Tenancy from 6 April 2016 they MUST:
- Protect a tenancy deposit within 30 days of receipt; AND
- Provide the tenant(s) with Prescribed Information regarding the protection of the deposit within 30 days of receipt.
Failure to do so means that a Landlord cannot serve a valid Section 21 notice to evict tenants and the tenant can apply to the Court and seek a financial penalty of between one to three times the amount of the deposit.
How to Protect a Deposit
You must place your tenant’s deposit into a tenancy deposit protection scheme such as the TDS or DPS. You can protect the deposit online and have the option of protecting it under either a custodial scheme or an insured scheme. The custodial scheme is when you pay the full amount of the deposit into the scheme and the insured scheme allows a Landlord or their Agent to hold the deposit but they pay a fee to the scheme to have the deposit protected.
Other Prescribed Legal Requirements
The Deregulation Act 2015 further clarified the steps that need to be taken by a Landlord to protect a tenancy deposit and confirmed other legal requirements a Landlord must comply with. In addition to protecting the deposit, Landlords must:
- Provide tenants with an EPC and Gas Safety Certificate (if applicable) before the tenancy begins
- Provide tenants with the “How to Rent: the Checklist for Renting in England” guide
Failure to do the above means a Section 21 notice cannot be served.
As tenants are becoming more aware of the obligations imposed on Landlords, it is important that Landlords themselves have knowledge of the law they MUST comply with.
If you are unsure of your obligations and need assistance with evicting a tenant, please contact Davies and Partners Property Dispute Resolution team who would be happy to assist.