Posted On / 01.06.2015

Warning Notice for Landlords

Warning Notice for Landlords

Landlords: note a very important date: 23 June 2015.

Most landlords are aware of the need to secure or register any deposit received from a tenant with a tenancy deposit scheme and provide prescribed information to the tenant within 30 days of receipt.

This has been the case since 6 April 2007 when it became law. Landlords of tenancies that started before this date, that have continued on a periodic basis, have not had to secure the deposits.

However, the Deregulation Act 2015 has changed this. Deposits taken for tenancies that started before 6 April 2007 which became periodic after that date and still continue have until 23 June to get it into one of the three tenancy deposit schemes and provide the prescribed information to the tenants.

Falling foul of this requirement could prove expensive for landlords and lettings agencies, with court action by tenants for the return of the deposit and a penalty payment becoming a real prospect.

The new law also means that a landlord or letting agent will be unable to give 2 months’ notice (Section 21) to take back their property if they have not registered the deposit.

There are other options if there are rent arrears and breaches of the tenancy but the landlord could be subject to a counterclaim if the deposit is not registered.

Furthermore, landlords should be aware that even though the tenancy deposit scheme sends confirmation to the tenant of the fact that a deposit has been registered, this is not enough. Landlords themselves must still send specific information to the tenant.  There are penalties for failing to do this which can be claimed.

A welcome provision of the Act is if a landlord registers the deposit when it is first received and gives the tenant the prescribed information within 30 days, they no longer have to repeat that if the tenancy continues after the fixed term or a new tenancy is entered into as long as the landlord, tenant and property remain the same.

There are other changes affecting landlords. From 1 October 2015, they will not be able to serve a Section 21 Notice on a tenant for six months if they have complained about the condition of the property, if the landlord has failed to adequately respond and/or carry out the repairs and the local authority has imposed an Improvement Notice on the Property.

Other changes are afoot affecting landlords including a new Section 21 notice which must be used, a shake-up of energy performance ratings, unlimited fines for landlords without HMO licences and immigration checks.

However, the Deregulation Act – especially in relation to deposits – is the most pressing of these and it is vital that landlords and letting agents act now.

For more information please contact me on 01935 846254 or email at Jacqui.swann@battens.co.uk or visit www.battens.co.uk.