Section 213 of The Housing Act 2004
This section, when put into layman’s terms, states that a landlord (or their letting agent) who signs as Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) with a tenant must protect a tenancy security deposit in one of the 3 government approved schemes (MyDeposits, DPS – Deposit Protection Service, TDS – Tenancy Deposit Scheme) within 30 days of receiving the security deposit.
It also states that the landlord or their agent must send you certain bits of information – practically, this means sending you a copy of the Deposit Protection Certificate.
If this is not done, they face the penalties laid out in Section 214.
Section 214 of The Housing Act 2004
If a landlord has not protected your deposit according to Section 213 of The Housing Act 2004, they must pay the full deposit back as well as 1-3 times the deposit amount as compensation.
In our experience helping many tenants claim the compensation they are entitled to by law, we have found that judges tend to award 2 times the deposit as compensation, unless there are unusual circumstances or a landlord has behaved particularly badly. If you want to discuss the specifics of your claim, please speak to an advisor.
Unfortunately, Section 213 claims must be done using Part 8 procedure. This means that they can’t be heard in Small Claims Court. Practically, this means that you will need a solicitor. It is not impossible to handle these cases on your own, however you must be aware that you can technically win your case, but manoeuvrings by experienced solicitors can mean that you end up having to pay Court costs and legal fees for the other party which can be considerably more than the court award that you receive. You also need to be aware that there are strict Pre-Action Protocols that need to be followed and there may be a directions hearing before the case is heard in Court.
Justice For Tenants has worked hard to build a relationship with a solicitor’s firm who have the most experience of any firm in the country with these cases, and operate on a No Win, No Fee basis, and only charge 36% of the Court award. This means that the tenant always ends up with significantly more than their deposit, and they do not need to worry about the risks of doing a Court case themselves or hiring a poor-quality solicitor.