#ExpertView: John King, Head of Member Services at TDS discusses ‘Guidance on issuing Prescribed Information for ASTs’

John King Head of Member Services at TDS - TDS

In this week’s TDS #ExpertView we speak to John King, Head of Member Services. We explore guidance on issuing Prescribed Information for ASTs.

TDS often get enquiries about the correct way to protect a tenancy deposit, landlords and letting agent must register a tenancy deposit with one of the approved schemes correctly to comply with the Tenancy Deposit Protection legislation. So just to make sure we have detailed some guidance to assist with the Prescribed Information documents which must also be served on the tenants.

Prescribed Information must be served on the tenants within the period of 30 days from and including the date the landlord (or someone acting on the landlord’s behalf) receives the tenancy deposit in relation to an assured shorthold tenancy, irrespective of whether or not the funds have cleared. 

In addition, the documents confirming the protection details for the tenancy deposit must be given to any relevant person associated with the tenancy.  “relevant person” is a person, company or organisation who, in accordance with arrangements made with the tenant, paid the deposit on behalf of the tenant e.g. a local authority, employer, parent or guarantor. Members are advised to establish, when a tenant applies for a tenancy, whether a deposit has been (or will be) paid by someone other than the tenant, because the member will have to serve Prescribed Information on such a person.

The Deregulation Act 2015 has made some important changes in respect of Prescribed Information and has led to this becoming a less onerous obligation on landlords.

·      If the tenancy rolls over into a new fixed term AST or a statutory periodic tenancy there is no need to re-issue the Prescribed Information as long as:

·       The deposit was properly protected, and Prescribed Information served at the start of the original tenancy as long as:

·       The property let remains the same;

·       The tenant(s) remain the same;

·       The landlord(s) remain the same;

·       The deposit protection scheme used remains the same.

If any of the above conditions do not apply the tenancy deposit may need to be registered again for protection and this needs to be done and the Prescribed Information served within 30 days of a new tenancy or tenancy change. This will depend on whether it is indeed a new agreement.

Remember failure to serve the Prescribed Information within the correct timescale would be a breach of the Housing Act 2004 (Tenancy Deposit Protection legislation) and that could expose the landlord and/or the tenancy deposit holder to legal action for compensation by the tenant and/or the relevant person. 

The Prescribed Information must be served, and this may be attached to the tenancy agreement, or served as a stand-alone document.  Where the landlord / letting agent member receives the deposit at the same time as the tenancy agreement is signed, the member is recommended to attach the Prescribed Information to the tenancy agreement.  The Prescribed Information includes the scheme leaflet What is the Tenancy Deposit Scheme?  This leaflet can be downloaded from our website www.tenancydepositscheme.com, and it must be given to the tenant and any relevant person as part of the Prescribed Information. 

The Prescribed Information is incomplete without this leaflet

 TDS have designed a Prescribed Information template to help landlords and letting agents to collect all the required information in one place, you don’t have to use our template but it may ensure you get this aspect of tenancy deposit protection right first time.

 The template is available from our web pages here https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/agents-and-landlords-documents-and-forms.html

About TDS

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

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