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Time limits for compliance

This content applies to England

A landlord or agent must protect a deposit paid by an assured shorthold tenant and provide the prescribed information within the statutory time limit.

A landlord/agent who fails to comply within the relevant time limit is liable to financial sanctions and restrictions on the use of a section 21 notice to end the tenancy.

There are set time limits within which a landlord should comply with the requirements of the tenancy deposit scheme. These will depend on when the tenancy deposit was received by the landlord.

Deposits received on or after 6 April 2012

For a deposit received on or after 6 April 2012, the landlord/agent must protect the deposit and serve the prescribed information within 30 days of receiving the deposit.[1] If s/he does not do so:

  • The tenant will be able to make a section 214 claim for a sum of between one and three times the value of the deposit
  • The landlord will be prevented from serving a section 21 notice in most circumstances (see use of section 21 notice).

Deposits received between 6 April 2007 and 5 April 2012

For a deposit received between 6 April 2007 and 5 April 2012, the landlord/agent had to protect the deposit and serve the prescribed information within 14 days of receiving the deposit.[2]

As a result of case law, the landlord/agent could avoid any sanctions by complying with her/his obligations at any time before the court hearing.[3]

However, from 6 April 2012, the requirement to comply within 30 days of receiving the deposit was introduced.[4] In order to avoid sanctions, landlords/agents of assured shorthold tenancies still in existence on 6 April 2012 had until 6 May 2012 to comply if they had not done so already.[5] If the deposit was not protected and/or the prescribed information given by this date:

  • the tenant will be able to make a section 214 claim for a sum of between one and three times the value of the deposit
  • The landlord will be prevented from serving a section 21 notice in most circumstances (see use of section 21 notice)

Deposit received before 6 April 2007

Even though the law governing the protection of tenancy deposits came into effect on 6 April 2007, most assured shorthold tenancies that commenced before this date are affected by the legislation as set out below.

Statutory periodic tenancy arose on or after 6 April 2007

Where a deposit was paid in respect of a fixed-term tenancy before 6 April 2007, and the tenancy became a statutory periodic tenancy on or after that date, then unless the deposit had been returned or the tenancy had ended, the landlord/agent had to protect the deposit and serve the prescribed information by 23 June 2015.[6] If the deposit was not protected and/or the prescribed information not served:

  • the tenant will be able to make a section 214 claim for a sum of between one and three times the value of the deposit
  • The landlord will be prevented from serving a section 21 notice in most circumstances (see use of section 21 notice).

Statutory periodic tenancy arose before 6 April 2007

Where a deposit was paid in respect of a fixed-term tenancy that became a statutory periodic tenancy before 6 April 2007, and has never been renewed since, the landlord/agent is not liable to a Section 214 claim if s/he fails to protect the deposit or serve the prescribed information.

However the landlord/agent cannot in most circumstances use a section 21 notice to end the tenancy.[7]

It is not clear whether a failure to serve the prescribed information would invalidate a section 21 notice in this instance.

Wales

The legislative references and the footnotes on this page reflect the law in England. In Wales, very similar rules made under Welsh legislation apply, but the references may be different. Visit Shelter Cymru for more details about the law in Wales.

[1] s.215(1), s.215(1A) and s.215(2) Housing Act 2004, as inserted by s.32 Deregulation Act 2015.

[2] s.213(3) Housing Act 2004, before introduction of amendment.

[3] Vision Enterprises LTD v Tiensia [2010] EWCA Civ 1224.

[4] s.184(2) Localism Act 2011.

[5] art 16, Localism Act 2011 (Commencement No. 4 and Transitional, Transitory and Saving Provisions) Order 2012 SI 2012/628.

[6] s.215A Housing Act 2004, as inserted by s.32 Deregulation Act 2015.

[7] s.215(1) Housing Act 2004.

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