By Craig Smith
In another recent case a Landlord has been found to have not complied with legislation when protecting their tenant’s deposit. It can be a bit of a minefield if you are new to the industry but the rules are becoming clearer and clearer.
Not Just Deposit Protection
Where a deposit is covered by the legislation it isn’t enough to just protect the deposit. The Prescribed Information (PI) must be provided to the tenant at the start of the tenancy, usually within 30 days of the deposit being paid. The PI contains the information the tenant needs to know about where the deposit is going to be held and who has access to it. This recent case also proves that the tenants must be provided with the terms and conditions of the relevant deposit scheme.
What Information to Give?
You may have read my post about the DPS before so you’ll know that it is that scheme that our office uses. We must always give our tenants a set of the DPS terms & conditions which is a lengthy document but is worth its weight in gold should a case arise. The legislation states that it is the responsibility of the Landlord to ensure the information is given to the tenant and it is not up to the tenant to go looking for it. The terms and conditions are an important part of the PI as the case has proven. In this instance, the Landlord had registered the deposit in line with the legislation but hadn’t given the correct PI to the tenants.
There are also a lot more handy documents available through the DPS giving both tenants and Landlords advice on how to use the scheme. Don’t forget that each scheme differs slightly in the way their information is presented and they may not have an official set of terms and conditions, so to speak. 5 minutes checking you have the right stuff is better than 5 years recouping unnecessary costs!
Some of the information that needs to be provided may seem trivial but it is very easy to get hold of. Certainly with the DPS, the documents are free to download and can be found with a few clicks on their website.
The majority of tenants seem to ask what they need to do at the end of the tenancy anyway as the documents seem to get overlooked. You only need to read the details of the case mentioned here to see how really important they are!