Some say what has happened to the tenancy deposit legislation constituted perverse judicial interference, I’m not so sure. However, the government did decide to act after decisions like Tiensia and Gladehurst severely diluted the original intention of the legislation.
Amendments to the legislation will be made under the Localism Act 2011. The key changes, which are awaiting implementation will include:
- The period for the landlord to comply with the initial requirements of a scheme and give the prescribed information to the tenant will be increased from 14 to 30 days.
- If the landlord fails to comply, the tenant can apply to court even if the tenancy has ended.
- The penalty for failing to comply will be between one and three times the deposit.
However, it Is not yet clear to me whether the appropriate time for assessing compliance will still be the date of the hearing instead of the date of issue of the proceedings. That was the decision in Tiensia and that was really the key weakening of the statutory scheme. The extension of the 14 day time period for compliance to 30 days does not seem to impact upon the assessment date Most practitioners assumed that the issue of proceedings crystalised the claim but that was not so. We will have to see if that remains the case.