What are the changes to deposits for the Renting Homes Wales Act?

In a sense, there is no substantive change to the deposit system in Wales under the RHWA. The existing system of deposit schemes has been retained under that legislation. However, the scope of deposit protection is considerably widened as all occupation contracts, both standard and secure must have their deposits protected. Therefore almost all residential occupiers in Wales will ultimately be entitled to rely on deposit protection and all landlords will need to ensure that RHWA contracts created after 1 December 2022 have their deposits protected. As with the existing provisions, the key date is the taking of the deposit and within 30 days of that date the deposit must be protected with a scheme, its rules must be complied with, and the relevant information (which is largely the same as existing prescribed information) given to the contract holder. As with the existing regime if this is not done then the contract holder can seek a financial penalty. In addition, it is much harder to obtain possession if the deposit is not properly protected. It is important to note that a financial penalty can be sought not just for a failure to protect but also if the deposit is not with a scheme that the contract holder has been told it is with. So if the deposit is moved or the paperwork is incorrectly completed such that the contract holder is misinformed as to which scheme applies then a landlord will have a liability under the RHWA. Where converted contracts are created from ASTs, then deposits which were already correctly protected under the existing regime will remain properly protected. If converted contracts are created from other tenancies or licences that do not currently require deposit protection then they will not require any protection to be entered into on conversion. Therefore the full weight of the new deposit provisions will mainly be felt in wholly new contracts.