COUNTY NEWS: Sussex landlords struggle to keep up with changes in law

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Two in five landlords in the south east admit that they struggle to keep up with changes in law relating to letting property a week before a new deadline that could leave them with heavy fines for missing.

There are already more than 50 Acts of Parliament and 70 sets of regulations that govern the private-rented sector.

The new deadline – June 23 – imposed as part of the Deregulation Act, affects landlords and agents in England and Wales who still hold a deposit on a tenancy that began before April 6 2007 – when Tenancy Deposit Protection laws were introduced – but since continued as a Statutory Periodic Tenancy on or after April 6 2007.

Previously deposits taken in these circumstances have not needed to be protected in a government-authorised scheme and landlords are being reminded that they could face fines of up to three times the value of deposit if they fail to protect in time.

CEO of mydeposits Eddie Hookersaid, “It’s important that landlords and letting agents are aware of the legislation changes and how it affects them. They must act now and check whether they need to protect any deposits and avoid a fine.”

Richard Lambert, CEO at the National landlords Association, said, “Everyone will be relieved the Deregulation Act has sorted out the uncertainty created by the Superstrike and Charalambous judgements.

“Now the onus is on those landlords still holding a deposit they haven’t yet protected to make sure they do so before the deadline.”

Landlords who still hold deposits that were taken before April 6 2007, and where the tenancy continued as a SPT prior to that date, aren’t required to protect it. However, if they don’t then they won’t be able to serve a section 21 notice to regain possession of the property.

Eddie Hooker said, “Our advice is simple: if you still have a deposit that was taken before April 6 2007 then the belt and braces approach is to protect it and provide your tenant with all the relevant information as soon as possible. That way you can avoid a hefty penalty and regain possession if needed.

“Protecting a deposit with mydeposits is simple and can be done online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We also have a dedicated team of advisors that are here to help landlords and agents ensure that they act in time to protect older deposits.”

A detailed breakdown of what the Deregulation Act is and how it affects landlords and agents is available on the mydeposits website.

Mydeposits is a government authorised business and is offering a discount to landlords at present.

For any landlords who wish to take advantage of the 50 per cent discount off the mydeposits joining fee, should visit the website and apply online quoting SUM15.