The Association of Residential Letting Agents says the government’s controversial Deregulation Act, which is now in force, is creating critical new tenancy deposit deadlines which agents must take into account.
In 2007, the government introduced compulsory deposit protection schemes as part of the Housing Act 2004. But it was unclear whether or not existing tenants, who had moved in and paid a deposit prior to 2007, would be affected.
The confusion was built upon following the ruling in the Superstrike v Rodrigues 2013 case, extensively reported on Letting Agent Today.
This case ruled that tenancies which became statutory periodic tenancies but that had started before April 6 2007, were considered to be new tenancies and therefore the deposit was required to be protected again at that time. ARLA says this was of serious detriment to landlords and agents, who were suddenly subjected to the vexatious claims of a minority of tenants who took issue with the unprotected deposits.
“Now, under the Deregulation Act 2015, this confusion has been addressed. All deposits received before April 6 2007, that have since been renewed or become statutory periodic tenancies on or after April 6 2007, must be protected under one of the government approved protection schemes” says ARLA managing director David Cox.
“Landlords have until June 23 2015 to comply with this new provision” he says, urging letting agents to check with their clients whether their existing tenancy agreements will be affected.
“If landlords fail to comply they could be liable for sanctions which include a potential claim by the tenant for compensation of up to three times the amount of the deposit paid or find themselves unable to bring a tenancy to an end through a Section 21 notice” says Cox.