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Do landlords need a section 213 notice?
One of the less well known aspects of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) legislation is that not only does it require the landlord to protect the tenant’s deposit under an approved scheme. Landlords also need to provide certain prescribed information to the tenant explaining how the tenant’s deposit has been protected.

How do professional landlords get their buy-to-let insurance for less?

This prescribed information has also to be given to any third party / interested party (i.e. someone who has paid the deposit on behalf of the tenant whether in whole or part). For example, a parent who pays a rental deposit on behalf of their student off spring.

What information do I need to provide?

The Government sets out within Statutory Instrument 797 of 2007 the details of the prescribed information that the landlord is required to provide which are as follows:

  • 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 landlords don’t provide the prescribed information?
The answer is simple. If a landlord fails to provide this information within 14 days of taking the deposit then the same legal penalties apply to a landlord as if they had not protected the deposit. Failure to provide the prescribed information means that the landlord is potentially liable to a penalty of 3 times of the amount of rental deposit and in the meantime no valid section 21 notice to obtain possession can be served. I have already witnessed ‘chat rooms’ where unscrupulous tenants are planning to use this bit of legislation to exploit uninformed landlords by either making a quick buck or using the threat to bargain their way out of a difficult corner.

The message to landlords is clear. Either don’t take a rental deposit and use specialist insurance to protect your investment property instead or ensure that you use one of the approved schemes and provide your tenants with this prescribed information.

How do I get my FREE section 213 Notice?

Landlords that are registered users of Property Hawk can download a section 213 Notice for FREE.

The FREE SECTION 213 NOTICE is available within Property Hawk’s Property Manager software as one of a selection of FREE forms required by landlords to manage the letting of their investment property.

This includes a FREE TENANCY AGREEMENT. There are a number of other landlord websites that offer free forms, however, some of these websites may not have used a legally trained lettings expert to have prepared them.
The other significant advantage of using the Property Manager is that once a landlord has registered and added the details of their investment property along with the tenancy; the software then automatically fills in the section 213 Notice form with all the relevant details. It can then be viewed as a PDF and printed off. The form remains stored on the landlord’s account to be viewed or reprinted.
There are also significant time advantages to a landlord of using the Property Manager as a posed to using a blank form. This is because most of the details relating to a landlord’s buy-to-let property remain the same. Therefore, when it comes to re-letting the investment property to a subsequent tenant all the landlord needs to do is to create a new tenancy. This process takes a couple of seconds. A new section 213 Notice form can then be generated and a landlord is then able to print off their new set of prescribed information.

Once a landlord has added their basic details by signing up, these are stored by the Property Manager and can be used to pre-populate a whole range of other forms needed by a landlord to manage their lettings business.

Using Property Manager to create your section 213 Notice

Creating a section 213 notice should take no longer than 3 minutes. We have timed it! Having done it once, it will take you even less time next time round. The other good thing about using the Property Manager is that because it is Internet based you can use it at work………when the boss isn’t looking! A great time saving manoeuvre!

Which set of prescribed information do I need?
The forms that a landlord will need to generate will depend on how the landlord intends to deal with the tenant’s deposit. If the landlord is to use the custodial scheme they should download the custodial scheme information along with its terms and conditions. Where a landlord is using the insurance backed scheme they should download the three parts relating to this scheme.

Here are the basic steps to creating a section 213 notice:

  1. REGISTER on the Property Hawk website
  2. Login
  3. Selected the PROPERTY MANAGER tab
  4. Click on the ADD property icon
  5. ADD property details
  6. GO to the tenancy tab & ADD details (TENANCY)
  7. GO to the FORMS tab & GENERATE the prescribed information along with supporting info

Serving the prescribed information
Once the forms have been printed out the landlord then needs to serve the prescribed information correctly on the tenant. In order to do this the landlord should print out one copy for themselves and one for each tenant. These sections should be bundled or stapled together. The form then needs to be signed by all parties to the tenancy agreement. The landlord has 14 days to serve this prescribed information on the tenant. Failure to do so would mean that the landlord becomes subject to the same penalties that they would be if they had failed to comply with the TDS in the first place.

For more information on FREE FORMS go to the LANDLORDS BIBLE

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