From next year, landlords will have 30 days in which to protect a tenant’s deposit, rather than the current 14.
The change is part of ‘tweaks’ made to tenancy deposit protection in the new Localism Act 2011 and comes as a result of RLA lobbying.
These were made following court cases over the rights of a tenant to sue for a breach of the deposit protection legislation or when deposit money was not protected within 14 days, but by the time of a court hearing.
The revised legislation also does away with mandatory penalties of three times the deposit if the deposit is not correctly registered and the ‘prescribed information’ not properly given.
Instead, courts will be allowed to use their discretion to hand out penalties worth between one and three times the value of an unprotected deposit.
The current legislation has had a number of challenges within the courts, which have issued varying rulings – some in favour of tenants and others in favour of landlords. By introducing a more realistic time-frame and to allow courts more jurisdiction over the penalties, it is intended that the courts will feel more inclined to enforce the law rather than try to find ways round it.