Tenant Deposit Claims - What You Need to Know.
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
While average UK rents fell by 0.8% between April and June (even accounting for corresponding growth in London), the demand for rental properties remains considerably larger than the traditional real estate sector.
However, there’s no doubt that tenants remain far more vulnerable than home-owners, while they’re often required to pay disproportionately high rents to deliver a viable profit to landlords.
Fortunately, Tenancy Deposit Schemes are established to help protect renters, but how exactly do they work and what do you need to know as a tenant who’s considering a claim?
Tenancy Deposit Schemes Explained;
When you sign an Assured Short Hold Tenancy Agreement, you are required to pay a security deposit in advance which is usually equitable to a months rent.
Your security or tenancy deposit is designed to offer a safety net for Landlords in the event that their property incurs identifiable damage during the tenancy or make up for unpaid rent.
When you pay your tenancy deposit, your landlord is required by law to protect this by committing it to any of the three Government backed Tenancy Deposit Schemes namely: Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS), Tenancy Deposit Scheme(TDS), and My Deposit Scheme(MDS)
This ensures your Deposit is kept separate and not leveraged on as a source of income by landlords during your tenancy.
What if the Landlord Fails to Protect Your Deposit?
OK, we hear you ask, but what do we mean by the term ‘tenancy deposit claim’?
You are entitled to file a tenancy deposit claim in England and Wales if your landlord has failed to protect your tenancy deposit within 30 days of it being paid.
If your Landlord has failed to protect your deposit within 30 days of receiving it, they are liable to a penalty of up to three times the total value of the deposit, depending primarily on the extent of the breach.
Interestingly, the amount that you can claim will also be impacted by the number of breaches committed by the landlord, So if you have renewed your tenancy agreement on one or more occasions and the landlord has continued to breach the law by failing to protect your deposit, the sum that you can claim for will be significantly inflated.
You can also make a deposit claim if your landlord fails to inform you where your deposit was registered by providing you with the prescribed information within 30 days of the transaction.
This type of claim should not be confused with a Rent Repayment Order, which essentially enables a tenant or local authority to reclaim paid rent in instances where the landlord has breached certain rules and laws relating to Homes with Multiple Occupants (HMO).
However, this list doesn’t include a failure to protect the security deposit, creating a clear line of legal separation between tenancy deposit claims and formal rent repayment orders.
If you’re in any doubt about your circumstances and whether you are able to pursue a tenancy deposit claim or not, we recommend filling out our contact form or sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can advise on the next steps to take.
This way, you can understand your circumstances in legal detail and make an informed decision about how to proceed.