As many of you may be aware, The Deregulation Act 2015, which received Royal Assent on 26th March 2015, contained important changes to TDP legislation and the deadline is today, 23rd June 2015 for landlords to protect deposits.
For those that aren’t sure what the Deregulation Act 2015 changes mean here’s a guide below.
What the Deregulation Act 2015 changes mean?
If either of these scenarios affect you then the below changes are important to understand:
- If you took a deposit on any Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) before April 2007 and have not protected it then the deposit must be protected and Prescribed Information (PI) served, otherwise you will not be able to issue a Section 21 notice at any point in the future. However, it’s important to note that there are no penalties for any landlords who don’t protect deposits in these circumstances. This effectively confirms the decision in Charalambous vs Ng.
- If you took a deposit on a tenancy since 6 April 2007 and protected and served the PI, and the tenancy has since either rolled into a SPT or been renewed, then as long as the deposit is still protected in the same scheme and the tenancy details have not changed you will be deemed to have complied. In other words, this specific change overturns Superstrike vs Rodrigues judgement.
- If you took a deposit on an AST before April 2007 and the AST subsequently rolled into a SPT or was renewed after April 2007, then the deposit must be protected and PI served by 23rd June 2015. You will not be able to serve a Section 21 notice and WILL be liable for penalties for non-compliance until you’ve protected the deposit.
- The final change (which isn’t in relation to Superstirke or Charlambous) allows the agent’s details to be used on the PI where they have taken and protected the deposit on the landlord’s behalf. Previously there was doubt as to whether the agent’s details could be provided instead of the landlord’s when the agent took the deposit and protected it on the landlord’s behalf.
In addition the Act also made changes to the section 21 procedure which protects tenants who complain about a premises’ condition.
The change now means that a landlord can’t issue a section 21 notice if the tenant has made a written complaint to the landlord about the condition of the premises before the notice is issued and the landlord hasn’t replied or replied in a suitable way. However, this doesn’t apply if the tenant is in breach of its duty to use the premises in a tenant-like way; the premises are on the market; it’s social housing or the mortgagee wants to sell and needs vacant possession.
Additionally, a landlord can’t issue a section 21 notice at the beginning of an AST, to make sure that tenants are given two months’ notice.
Landlords must also give tenants information about the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant and won’t be able to serve a section 21 if they haven’t done this.
On a final note, landlords don’t need to specify within the section 21 notice the last day of a period of tenancy as the date on which the AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancies) comes to an end.
The changes come into force on October 21st 2015.
Raj Naphray, as the Director of Choice Lets, I am committed to offering Landlords and property owners knowledge of how best to maximise their return on their property investment whilst protecting them from the pitfalls in renting.