Don’t forget your section 213 notice
Don’t forget your section 213 notice! Property Hawk has been urging landlord not to forget about providing their tenants with a section 213 notice since the legislation was first brought in by the Tenancy Deposit rules. A recent court case discussed below where a landlord was fined 3 times the deposit amount underlines the importance of providing this vital bit of information to your tenants after taking their tenancy deposit.
The Prescribed Information refers to that prescribed by the legislation contained in section 213 of the Housing Act 2004. It refers to the information that landlords need to provide their tenants with respect to where and how the tenants hold their tenants deposit. The exact details are set out in statutory instrument 797 of 2007 are:
- The details of the scheme administrator e.g. The Deposit Protection Service Any information contained in a leaflet supplied by the scheme which explains how it operates
- The procedures in relation to holding and repaying the deposit and the resolution of any dispute
- Amount of deposit paid
- The address of the property to which the tenancy relates
- The landlords details
- The tenants details
- Third party details if appropriate
- The circumstances when all or part of the deposit may be retained by the landlord, by reference to the terms of the tenancy
What happens if I don’t?
Most landlords have taken a fairly ‘laissez faire’ approach to furnishing their tenants with these bits of info. Lets face it; on letting your property you have enough to think about. Inventories, keys, rents, tenant deposits during the rental property handover.
As is the case with the failure to protect your tenants deposit the landlord is liable to a fine of 3 times the amount of the deposit if they fail to provide the tenant with the prescribed information on time.
Since the arrival of the Localism Act you now get 30 days from the date of taking the deposit. However, just as is the case of taking a tenancy deposit in the past most landlords took a fairly lax approach to this because of the lack of real sanctions against them as a result of the loopholes in the original legislation.
However, the ruling in a recent case has confirmed the willingness and the ability of the courts to enforce the penalties laid out in section 214 of the Housing Act 2004. This applies to even minor omissions and is subject to the ruling of Ayannuga v Swindell given at the beginning of November in which the Court of Appeal overruled an earlier judgment by the lower court and has taken a hard line on the failure of landlords to comply with the revised legislation. The Court ruled that the landlord had to pay back the tenants deposit in full along with three times the deposit. In essence ‘No mercy from the judges’!
This case has undoubtedly raised the importance of landlords providing their tenants with the Prescribed Information within 30 days of taking the deposit. This case has set an important legal precedent. Failure to provide their tenants with the Prescribe Information now clearly exposes landlords to a real risk of getting a substantial fine.
How to get and send the section 213 notice
To obtain the correct section 213 notice landlords need to sign up to Property Manager 3, login and enter the details for you property and the relevant tenancy. Then click Forms in the right hand column of the software.
To obtain Part 1 of the prescribed information click on the + icon at the top of the screen and then select the relevant version (custodial or insurance) through the drop down menu.
To select Part 2 and Part 2 & 3 click on the standard forms drop down and select the form or forms. They can be all downloaded as a PDF or emailed direct to your tenant.
This new court case redefines the way that all landlords need to approach the issuing of the Prescribed Information. It really does bring to an end the ‘laissez faire’ attitude of landlords towards the section 213 notice and the Prescribed Information.
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