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Is your deposit secured......?

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With the increase in people renting rather than buying a property these days, how certain can tenants be that they will get their deposit back at the end of their tenancy? Since the 6th April 2007, the Housing Act 2004 stipulates that all landlords who have granted an assured shorthold tenancy must place a tenant's deposit into a protected deposit scheme. Provided that the tenant complies with the tenancy agreement, this ensures that the tenant will receive their full deposit when their tenancy comes to an end. So how do you know if your deposit has been put into such a scheme? There are various websites (such as www.depositprotection.com and www.mydeposits.co.uk) where tenants can check to see if their deposit has been put into a protected scheme. The Act provides that within 14 days of your landlord receiving the deposit, they must do the following: - 1. Put your deposit into a protected scheme 2. Provide you with the certain information once the deposit has been placed into a scheme: - a. Details of the tenancy deposit scheme your landlord has chosen to protect your deposit (including login details for websites etc) b. Procedures for repayment of your deposit c. The amount of the deposit you have paid d. The circumstances in which your landlord may retain your deposit at the end of the tenancy (for example, if rent has not been paid or the property is damaged) So what if you find out your landlord has not put your deposit into a protected scheme? The Act provides that you can take your landlord to court, and if your case is successful, the court may order your landlord to: - 1. Pay the deposit into an authorised scheme within 14 days of the Order; or 2. Repay the deposit to you and in either case, pay a sum equal to three times the amount of your deposit to you as a penalty. When taking your landlord to court, you should however be aware of the cases set out below. Tiensia v Vision Enterprises Limited (t/a Universal Estates) (2010) The Court of Appeal decided in this case that all landlords will have until the date of a hearing to pay a tenants deposit into a protected deposit scheme. The Court of Appeal stated that it was not a question of whether the deposit had been paid into a scheme within the 14 day period but that the deposit was paid in at some point during the tenant's term. Gladehurst Properties Limited v Hashemi (2011) The Court of Appeal in this case held that a tenant cannot bring a claim for non-compliance by a landlord once their tenancy has come to an end as a tenant always has the option throughout the term of their tenancy to bring a claim against their landlord for non-compliance. • For additional information please contact: Edward Worthy of Gepp & Sons. The above is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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