Help! I forgot to register my tenant’s deposit

Q.  Can you please help? I am a private Landlord with a few investments and have always been quite happy to Let and Manage the properties myself until now. However, I have found myself in quite a predicament. One of my tenants vacated a week or so ago and never cleaned the property sufficient enough when he left so I have been trying to resolve that prior to releasing his deposit. Now however he has asked me for a copy of his Tenancy Deposit Certificate and to my great horror I discovered that I failed to protect his deposit in my usual scheme. It wasn’t intentional of course, it must have just slipped my mind! What does this mean, am I going to have major ramifications from this noncompliance?

A.  Oh dear, you have got yourself in quite a mess there haven’t you! I’m sure you are fully aware of your responsibilities as a landlord surrounding protecting deposits. The government requires that you must place your tenants’ deposit in a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme if you rent out your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. There are three schemes available if your property is in England or Wales:

Your tenants can apply to a county court if you don’t use a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme given it is a legal requirement to do so. They can do this at any time during the tenancy. If the court finds you haven’t protected the deposit, it can order you to either, repay it to your tenants, or pay it into a custodial TDP scheme’s bank account within 14 days. The court may also order you to repay your tenants up to 3 times their original deposit within 14 days of making the order. Another spanner in the works as it were is that at the end of the tenancy the court may also decide that your tenants don’t have to leave the property when the tenancy ends if you didn’t use a TDP scheme when you should have. Tenants are very savvy and know their rights and even if they don’t a friend will, and with a reward that large sad to say many tenants are actually hoping they rent from a landlord that isn’t shall we say as up to date with his responsibilities as he should be. It’s worth noting too that they have the right to sue for up to 6 years from when it should have been protected (30 days after deposit paid). So, it pays to ensure you are compliant.

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