A landlord demanded their tenant pay an admin fee of £30 to have their tenancy deposit protected. They then requested £50 when the tenancy was renewed after six months.
Landlord Who Required Admin Fee Could Have Broken the Law
The landlord’s six-month renewal letter reads: “As discussed, if you want your deposit protected, please forward payment of £50. Alternatively, I’ll just leave it as it is.”1
However, it seems that the deposit was never protected at all.
The tenant, who is due to move out, is worried about getting her deposit back. But it appears that landlord has broken the Housing Act 2004 twice.
Property law expert, David Smith, says the landlord “cannot make the protection conditional.
“Also, as this is a non-optional fee, it should have been advertised at the point of advertising the rent. If it has been paid it can probably be recovered under the new civil recovery powers linked to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations [CPRs].”1
Smith believes that the tenant could make a double claim against the landlord for two breaches of the law, and advises the tenant to report the landlord to Trading Standards.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) has given its view on the matter: “It’s very clear cut. The landlord must protect the deposit within 30 days and provide the tenant with written details of their protection [prescribed information], also within 30 days of receipt.
“The Housing Act is silent on administration charges to tenants for deposit protection, but this has no bearing on the landlord’s responsibility to protect.
“At TDS, we regularly get well-meaning but ill-informed landlords contacting us because they find out too late that deposit protection regulations exist.
“We advise them to protect as quickly as possible, and should it come to court, a judge may look favourably upon this when deciding the amount of the penalty.”1
It has been over eight years since tenancy deposit protection became compulsory, so landlords should definitely be aware of the rules.