Since April 2007 there has been a mandatory requirement for any tenancy deposit taken by a landlord against an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement to be protected through a government authorised scheme.
From our work in this field over many years we see that, whilst the number of landlords trying to comply has recently gone up, there is still a significant proportion of landlords that are either not protecting deposits at all or are not protecting the deposits correctly.
Our government believes that this is a very important issue. Parliament has made a decision that landlords must comply with the tenancy deposit legislation and that, if they do not comply, they have to pay a statutory penalty for their failure. Rightly or wrongly, the government believes that landlords will not change their behaviour
unless there is a financial penalty if they continue to ignore the law on deposits.
As indicated, the government insists that landlords comply. If they do not, there is a penalty to be paid. But the legislation around tenancy deposit protection is very complicated and the government have chosen to pass the responsibility for ensuring compliance over to tenants and former tenants. For that reason, the statutory penalty is payable to the tenants or former tenants, rather than to the government. Similarly, despite the size of the statutory penalty usually being less than £10,000.00, the government has helped tenants enforce this legislation by allowing them to recover their solicitors’ fees if court proceedings are required.
At Tenant Protect we look to assist with ensuring that more future tenants receive the statutory protection for their deposits that the government says they must have. Tenants will receive the statutory penalty the government says they must be paid and we will look to help landlords follow the correct procedures going forward.
We believe that the tenancy deposit legislation is very good law and that it protects both landlords and tenants in equal measures. We want to make sure that the deposit schemes are used when every single tenancy deposit is paid and that, by doing so, the landlord and tenant relationship is made stronger.