Legal advice from David Jones, a commercial litigation and employment paralegal at FDR Law, Palmyra Square, Warrington
Q: I want to evict my tenant due to rent arrears. Unfortunately I failed to secure his deposit in an official Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Will this cause me a problem?
A: Sadly you have not complied with your legal responsibilities as a landlord so you may find it more difficult to evict your tenant. Since April 2007 it has been mandatory for a landlord in England or Wales to lodge their tenant’s deposit in a recognised Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) at the start of a residential Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST).
Most short term residential rentals fall into this category and as such your tenant’s deposit must be secured in an official TDS. Before 6 April 2012, you had 14 days to do this from receipt of the deposit, after April 2012 you are allowed 30 days to comply.
This new legal requirement was designed to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords and the Court can impose a number of sanctions if you fail to comply. For instance you may be prevented from recovering possession of your property or you may be required to pay a fine to your tenant up to three times the value of the original deposit.
We have dealt with several cases where a landlord has assumed their property letting agent would take responsibility for securing the deposit. For future reference, the responsibility for performing this duty and providing the relevant information to a tenant rests solely with the landlord.
If you have failed to secure your tenant’s deposit in a TDS or the deposit was registered late, it is very important you seek legal advice before attempting to evict your tenant.