Court warning to landlords

Landlords face being taken to court by tenants with a claim for up to four times the amount of their deposit if they haven’t looked after deposits properly and within strict deadlines from April 2012 onwards, warns a Sheffield solicitor.

Landlord and tenant law expert James Murray, of Atteys Solicitors in Sheffield, says landlords will risk heavy financial penalties if they do not place their tenants’ deposits in an approved scheme within 30 days and inform their tenants about this.

He said: “In April the Localism Act is set to come into effect. This includes the requirement for all tenants’ deposits to be protected and information about the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) given to the tenant within 30 days. Tenants should usually receive a leaflet called ‘What is the Tenancy Deposit Scheme?’ and a deposit protection certificate and the landlord should have registered the deposit on the TDS tenancy database.

“The time limit is strict and tenants will be able to make a claim 31 days after paying a deposit if the deposit hasn’t been protected and they can even claim if the tenancy has ended or if the landlord protects the deposit after 30 days. If the landlord has protected the deposit after 30 days the courts will take this into account when they decide on the financial penalty.

“Landlords and their letting agents need to be aware of these new rules and realise that financial penalties are now more likely than ever if they don’t comply.”