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Deposit protection schemes - what happens if deposit was put in after the 30-day time limit?

(10 Posts)
parakeet Sat 30-Mar-13 22:49:12

Hi - I'm a landlord and I have had tenants in a residential letting for about two years and I stupidly failed to put their deposit in a protection scheme when they first moved in. Is there any point me doing so now or would it be invalid because it's past the 30-day time limit?

They have no plans to leave at the moment but when they do so I would like to be able to deduct some money from their deposit because I have discovered there is some damage. They have let the bathroom walls get so mouldy it is damaging the grouting between the tiles. I am worried that this will cost at least a couple of hundred to have the walls regrouted.

I guess my options are (1) put the deposit in a protection scheme now and hope I will still be able to deduct money from it even though it went in way past the 30-day time limit, or (2) keep hold of the deposit myself, return it to the tenants minus the amount the repairs cost and hope to goodness they don't take me to court over it. Does anyone know what happens if a deposit is put in a scheme past the 30-day time limit?

Thanks for any replies.

sunshine401 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:55:26

You will not be able to take any money off them now. However you DO need to put the money into the scheme ASAP it will cost you a load of money if you do not.
I had to pay my tenants £3,600 when i last forgot to do it sad.

sunshine401 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:55:55

and they trashed my house on leaving....

bran Sun 31-Mar-13 19:59:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CajaDeLaMemoria Sun 31-Mar-13 20:05:43

You can't take any money off them now.

You need to enter the deposit into a scheme ASAP.

If the tenants notice that you failed to protect the deposit in time, they can take you to court. If the deposit is still not protected, you're likely to be hit with the maximum fine. If you've protected it eventually, you can at least show that you did try.

You'll have a lot of difficulty taking anything from their deposit now, even when it is protected, because it's likely to be noted during the dispute (if they dispute it) that the deposit wasn't protected immediately.

I wouldn't go down the route of never protecting the deposit and trying to take money, because the tenants will take you to court. It's very easy to do, and will cost them nothing, as you'll have absolutely no defence. Citizens advice, estate agents, insurance companies and the deposit scheme will all tell them this, so it's very unlikely that they won't try to take you to court.

CajaDeLaMemoria Sun 31-Mar-13 20:07:31

Note that it's also an offence not to provide the deposit scheme number to your tenants, so you'll need to do that, and that will likely draw attention to the fact that you have only just protected it. Certainly, it shows when my deposit was protected. If you are careful with wording, they may not check when it was protected.

bran Sun 31-Mar-13 20:15:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bevelino Sun 31-Mar-13 23:06:20

As other posters have pointed out your tenants deposit (which is their money and not yours) needs to be placed into one of the protection schemes. Furthermore there are penalties if you fail to do so and you may be liable to pay your tenants up to three times the amount of their original deposit even after the tenancy has ended. If deductions from the deposit is needed for damage to your property and you and your tenants are unable to agree the amount, the deposit protection scheme will appoint an adjudicator to decide the amount to be deducted following consideration of the evidence.

As you have been in breach of the rules for 2 years you now need to place the funds into a protection scheme and be prepared to act peacefully with your tenants in order to minimise any squabble over the amount of deposit to be returned. This will also reduce the chance of them suing you for failing to protect their deposit in the first place.

TheChaoGoesMu Sun 31-Mar-13 23:24:58

You need to get it in to a scheme or you run the risk of them taking you to court and claiming 3x the amount of the deposit back from you.

parakeet Mon 01-Apr-13 12:36:48

Thanks for all the advice, I will do it right away. (In case anyone thinks I am some kind of unscrupulous landlord who steals people's deposits, I have never witheld anyone's deposit apart from once to cover their last month's rent which they left owing me.)

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