Tenancy Deposit – Held Securely?

At SMQ Legal we understand that renting a property can be a complex issue for both a tenant and landlord as there is often large sums of money at stake, and the properties people call home. We work all over Oxford and the larger surrounding areas and often see the same issues come up in many different cases, the one we wanted to showcase today is an issue that can arise  in respect of deposits.

Deposits form a vital part of any renting arrangement. For landlords it provides reassurance that no matter what happens to the property while a tenant is living in it, they will never be out of pocket trying to fix any damages or make up for unpaid rent. For tenants, it often represents a large sum of money, and therefore a big investment, making it really important to them that that money is held securely and returned fairly. Here at SMQ Legal we work with both tenants and landlords to ensure ta just and fair result when an issue regarding deposits (or any other matter related to renting arrangements) occurs.

We thought we’d give you an update on what both landlords and tenant should be doing to ensure that deposits are safe and treated correctly. If you are renting a property on an assured short-hold tenancy that started after the 6th of April 2007 then your landlord has to put your deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme and they must do this within 30 days of receiving it. This means that in England and Wales your deposit can be registered with the Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits, or the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. These schemes ensure that you will receive your deposit back if you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement, don’t damage the property, and pay both your rent and bills. The deposit will then be returned to you within ten days of you agreeing on any deductions at the end of your tenancy. If you believe your deposit has not been protected then you should seek legal advice before applying to your local county court who can then order payment of the deposit to you or into a tenancy deposit scheme. You could also receive up to three times the deposit as compensation. This means it is equally as important for a landlord to take note of this and ensure that they put the deposits they receive from tenants into one of the name tenancy deposit schemes.

We hope this has helped to give you a simplified run down of the legal duties in place regarding deposits.

Jennifer Smith

Reading University – Work Experience Student

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