Buy-to-let landlords who recently let their properties through a well-known online BIG name estate agent could potentially face fines running into thousands of pounds after it emerged that the online estate agency failed to comply with the most basic legislation by placing tenants’ deposits in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme.
When renting out a property, the online agent, like most letting agents, opt to take a deposit from the tenant prior to the tenancy starting. The deposit gives a level of protection to landlords and means that should the tenant breach the terms of the tenancy agreement, such as causing damage or not paying rent, their client (the landlord) can then make appropriate deductions from the deposit.
However, yesterday it transpired that several deposits taken on assured shorthold tenancies by the well-known online agent were not registered with any one of three government-backed insurance based or custodial deposit protection schemes operated by My Deposits, Deposit Protection Service (DPS) and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), in accordance with the rules.
Bruce & Simpson Property Management Ltd are proud to be members of The DPS and all bonds are deposited within 72 hours, with all parties involved receiving confirmation of this.
Some landlords could now face fines due to this companies socking error if it emerges that that the deposits secured were not protected with a government recognised scheme within 30 days.
Tenants can apply to a local county court if they think their landlord has not used a deposit protection scheme when they should have, and if found guilty, the court can order the landlord to pay up to three times the deposit within 14 days of making the order.
Landlords could also face penalties if their agent failed to comply with the tenancy deposit regulation.
If a landlord, or their agent, fails to protect a tenant’s deposit and it is reported, they may not just face substantial fines, but could find that their position is considerably weakened where a dispute does arise, whether it is over property damage or rent arrears.
Landlords should also bear in mind that it is possible that a judge may not grant a landlord a possession order when trying to evict a tenant if their deposit has not been protected within the required 30 days.
The online estate agent spokesperson added: “We are currently communicating to the affected landlords and tenants.”
If you have any queries regarding Deposits, then feel free to contact me
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