Tenancy Deposit Scheme legislation – important changes

As from April 6th there have been some changes to the way the Tenancy Deposit Scheme works. These changes are important for both landlords and tenants.

(These changes aren’t relevant to Scotland – click here for information on Scotland’s new tenancy deposit regulations)

Why have the changes been made?

Since the legislation was introduced in 2007 there have been a few significant cases that have highlighted loopholes in the legislation. The new changes aim to close these loopholes.

What’s changed?

There have been several changes to the legislation. The most significant being:

  • Extending the time limit for protecting deposits (and providing the tenant with the prescribed information) from 14 days to 30
  • Changing the penalty for non-compliance from 3 times the amount of the deposit to between 1 and 3 times the amount. This allows courts more discretion when deciding penalties
  • Clarifying that penalties still apply even if a landlord complies after the deadline

When do the changes take effect?

They already have – the new legislation came into force on April 6th 2012

What about existing tenancies?

In cases where deposits aren’t protected landlords have a 30 day window to comply. If not they become subject to the full range of penalties. The 30 day window means the deadline is May 5th.

Don’t forget, the legislation only applies to Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs). If you have a lodger, for example, the rules don’t apply to you.

What happens if I don’t comply?

If you don’t comply with the legislation:

  • Legal proceedings can be instigated and a fine of up to 3 times the amount of the deposit can be handed out
  • A section 21 notice can’t be relied on so it may be difficult to evict your tenant(s)
  • The tenancy becomes an Assured Tenancy

In a nutshell

  • Landlords now have more time to protect deposits and provide tenants with the information required
  • Compliance after the deadline doesn’t exempt landlords from being penalised
  • The amount of penalty charge is now more flexible to allow courts discretion
  • Landlords have a 30 day window to comply if they’re holding existing, unprotected deposits

Another month, another Live Rent Free winner

This month’s recipient of a whole month’s rent, courtesy of SpareRoom, is Alex Fisher.

Alex lives in lives in Peckham (SE15), where the average rent for a double room plus bills (and therefore her prize) is £546.

alex

Alex says:

“That’s amazing news!! I can’t beleive it! I’ve literally never won anything ever!! And after entering every month for over 2 years I’d almost given up hope! I’m a Quality Assurance Analyst working in Aldgate and living in the mighty Peckham, SE London. I moved to London in 2008 after a year teaching in Japan and moved straight into a shared house. Living in London is so expensive and, with rent going through the roof, sharing is a really excellent way to make it affordable and meet some great friends along the way. I’ve met a boatload of fun and interesting people and sharing definitely helped me settle into London life! The money will come in really handy as, being 28, apparently I’m at ‘that age’ and all my friends have started to get married! So I think I’ll be using the cash to make sure I’ve got some fantastic outfits for the 4 weddings I have lined up this year! Maybe it will stretch to a few glasses of champers too.”

To be in with a chance of getting your rent paid next month head to our competition page. Alex, like 90%, of our winners, won with one of her loyalty entries (extra entries we give away free) so don’t forget to check out the ways you can earn more chances to win while you’re at it.

Good luck!

The SpareRoom team.