Letting agents have a responsibility for tenancy deposits too

The legal requirements for tenancy deposit protection is covered within the Housing Act 2004 as amended by Localism Act 2011.

The requirement to supply information is detailed further within the Housing (Tenancy Deposits)(Prescribed Information) Order 2007  (SI 2007, No.797).

Irrespective of what some letting agents may tell you they too have legal duties that are enshrined within the Housing Act.

Letting agents commonly offer Let Only/Tenant Find services and claim to have nothing to do with the deposit saying they simply pass it on to the landlord and it was nothing to do with them citing it is ‘not part of our service’. Sorry you cannot contract out of your legal duties.

Section 212(9)(a) of the Housing Act 2004 reads:
(9) In this Chapter—
(a) references to a landlord or landlords in relation to any shorthold tenancy or tenancies include references to a person or persons acting on his or their behalf in relation to the tenancy or tenancies, and with certain prescribed information within 30 days of receiving the deposit.

In Draycott v Hannells Lettings Ltd, PainSmith Solicitors had been acting for the Defendant lettings agency. One of the issues before the Court was the question of whether an agent could be held liable for a failure to protect a deposit or was it entirely a matter for the landlord.

The Court decided that the wording of section 212(9)(a) was clear in stating that in the section of the Act relating to deposit protection:

references to a landlord or landlords in relation to any shorthold tenancy or tenancies include references to a person or persons acting on his or their behalf in relation to the tenancy or tenancies…

Accordingly, the Court found against Hannells on this point. More details here

Has your letting agent been acting responsibly when accepting deposits on your behalf or have they tried to ‘pass the buck’?

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