Tenancy Deposit Protection query

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    Tenancy Deposit Protection query

    I entered into an AST for six months in November of 2019. On the same date I signed the Tenancy Agreement, I paid a deposit of £801.66 representing one month's rent. The letting agent never provided me with any information whatsoever regarding protection of my deposit. At that time as a first time tenant in the UK, I was not even aware he was required by law to do so.

    At the end of the 6 months I renewed in May 2020 for a further 5 months and at the same monthly rent. I then assumed the deposit carried over to the new contract since the terms were all the same.

    At the end of the 5 months I renewed the tenancy in October 2020 for 12 months, but this time the rent was reduced to £780 per month, everything else remaining the same. No information about the deposit was provided at that time either. I assumed the same deposit was used for the new contract as well, even though at the time I did not think of the disparity that now existed in the amount of the new monthly rate and the initial deposit.

    Sometime in 2020 it transpired that between November 2019 and June 2020 the property had been an unlicensed HMO and the council advised us, the tenants at that time, that we could make an application for a Rent Repayment Order for that period. It was then that the issue of whether my deposit was protected came up. Upon enquiring with the letting agent, I was given a certificate number for TDS. Upon entering the number in the website's deposit checker, the deposit protection certificate showed that the deposit of £801.66 for the AST renewed in October 2020 was registered with TDS in late March 2021.Searches for the same deposit on the dates when the AST was first entered into in November 2019 and when it was renewed in May 2020 come up empty.

    My question is: was the landlord/agent obligated to protect the deposit again on each renewal of the AST and to send me prescribed information within 30 days of doing so? If he didn't, what is his liability now?

    Thank you.

    #2
    Originally posted by Paul65 View Post
    My question is: was the landlord/agent obligated to protect the deposit again on each renewal of the AST and to send me prescribed information within 30 days of doing so? If he didn't, what is his liability now?.
    If the tenancy was an AST in England or Wales, the landlord was required to protect the deposit and give you the Prescribed Information relating to it within 30 days of receiving it.
    Not doing so is a breach of the regulations.

    If the landlord had protected the deposit, they would not have needed to explicitly reprotect it and supply the Prescribed Information when the tenancy was replaced by an identical one, provided the tenants were the same. They would have been obliged to keep the deposit protected.

    However, because they hadn't previously protected it, the second tenancy (it's not a "renewal", it's a new replacement) is a second breach.
    However, you say that you "assumed[d]" the deposit carried forward, and if there is nothing in the new agreement to reference a deposit, it's possible for the landlord to argue that there isn't one. They possible won't succeed.

    The same is true of the third tenancy in October 2020.

    Protecting the deposit is March 2021 doesn't correct these issues.

    The lack of protection means that the landlord can't serve a valid section 21 notice on you without returning the deposit to you.
    You can claim a penalty of between 1 and 3 times the deposit value from the landlord (a court would set the multiple) and you can claim for each separate breach. So you would be claiming for between £2404.98 and 7214.94 (plus the value of the deposit itself).

    The disparity of the deposit and the rent amount doesn't really matter, the landlord can charge up to 5 weeks rent as a deposit and the value of the deposit is still below that level.

    Whether you do any of that, or pursue the RRO, is, obviously a matter for you and how your relationship with your landlord has been.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you, jpkeates for taking the time to provide such a detailed explanation.

      The AST is in England. Sorry I forgot the important detail.

      The letting agents themselves refer to signing a new tenancy agreement as "renewing the contract," even stipulating in the agreement a £75 fee for doing so, which they have never insisted on, possibly because it's not enforceable(?). That confused me and made me wonder if there were 3 tenancies and one renewed contract, 3 tenancies and 3 agreements or one tenancy and one renewed contract. Do I understand you correctly to mean that there were 3 separate tenancies although all covered (?) by the same deposit, unprotected until March of 2021, and that each one constitutes a separate breach, therefore the "1 to 3 times the deposit x 3" calculation?

      Each one of the 3 tenancy paper agreements I signed with them has a specific page titled TENANCY AGREEMENT (FOR A FURNISHED FLAT OR HOUSE ON AN ASSURED SHORTHOLD TENANCY) detailing all the particulars: the property, the landlord, the tenant, the room, the term in months, the beginning, the end, the monthly rent amount and the very last one the is the deposit itself of £801.66.


      Thank you again.

      Comment


        #4
        Paul65 It's not actually possible to "renew" or extend a tenancy, although it makes perfect sense for people to use the expressions in normal conversation.
        As far as I can see what you have there are three tenancy agreements and three separate, but connected tenancies, where the second and third would be "follow on" tenants in some regulations (because they have the same property, landlord and tenant and the start date of the later one is the day after the previous one).

        If the deposit is protected to the right deadline, it is deemed to have been done for any follow on tenancies, but that didn't happen in your case,

        So, yes " 3 separate tenancies although all covered (?) by the same deposit, unprotected until March of 2021, and that each one constitutes a separate breach, therefore the "1 to 3 times the deposit x 3" calculation" is probably correct.

        Being awarded the penalty isn't particularly easy, though, so don't assume it's just going to arrive any time soon.
        You might be able to do a deal with the landlord, but I'm not sure I'd try it while still a tenant of theirs.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

        Comment

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