The requirement for landlords to protect their tenant’s deposits is not new. This is why the courts take such a dim view of landlords who fail to use the mandatory tenancy deposit protection schemes.
The move to protect deposits, in one of three government-approved schemes, was first introduced in the Housing Act 2004, but landlords were afforded a grace period, of three years, to comply.
So why, some 16 years later, are landlords still failing to meet their legal obligations? Below are some reasons landlord’s don’t protect tenancy deposits:
Lack of knowledge
Not all landlords will be aware of the legal requirement to protect tenancy deposits in a government-approved scheme. If a new landlord fails to check the rules and regulations around tenancy deposits then they could fall short of their obligations.
Landlords experiencing financial difficulties might prioritise other expenses over safeguarding their tenants’ deposits. For example, they might use the deposit, to meet their own needs such as paying a bill etc., rather than protecting it as required.
Confusion around home ownership
Some landlords mistakenly believe, that because they own the property, they have a right to the deposit not realising the law applies to them. It does.
In some circumstances landlords find the process of protecting deposits a bother and therefore choose to bypass it entirely.
Old habits die hard
Some landlords, who have historically not protected deposits, continue to operate in this way despite the potential legal repercussions.
Deliberately not complying:
Unscrupulous landlords might deliberately keep their tenants’ deposits to retain control of the money should they wish to make deductions without having to justify it as per the tenancy deposit protection scheme.
Whatever the reason, non-complying landlords are banking on their tenants being unaware of their rights and therefore not holding them to account. Unfortunately, this is true for many people who struggle to get their deposit back or are disputing deductions from their deposit with a landlord who hasn’t protected it.
Making a tenancy deposit claim
If your landlord failed to place your deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme, within 30 days of receiving it, you can make a claim. Landlords are typically ordered to pay their tenants compensation, up to three times the deposit amount, for failing to meet their obligations. This penalty is in addition to having to return the original deposit, meaning tenants can receive 4x their original deposit value.
CEL Solicitors specialise in tenancy deposit claims. If you think your landlord failed to protect your deposit, then we will offer a free tenancy deposit check. We work on a no win, no fee basis so there is nothing to pay upfront. We’re experienced in holding rogue landlords to account so, if you’ve been let down by your landlord, then get in touch with our friendly team today.