What’s the law over my tenant’s deposit?

I have a really good tenant who wants to stay in my property after his tenancy ends. I'm going to let him stay but do I have to register his deposit with the tenancy deposit scheme again?
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Question: I have a really good tenant who wishes to stay on in my property after his 12-month assured shorthold tenancy ends. I’m going to let him stay and let the tenancy roll over, which I have done before for others. I know I don’t need to issue another tenancy agreement but what about the deposit? Do I have to register it again with the tenancy deposit scheme?

Answer: By letting your tenant stay on after the end of his tenancy you will create a statutoryperiodic tenancy, and recent case law has found that some of the requirements of the deposit protection scheme must be repeated. This means that the deposit which your tenant paid at the outset must remain protected in whatever scheme you have used. However, you must re-issue all the prescribed scheme information to him within 30 days of the end of the original assured shorthold tenancy. The information you must give your tenant covers such matters as the address of the property, the amount of deposit and how it is protected, the name and contact details of the protection scheme and its dispute resolution service, along with grounds for keeping the deposit, how the tenant gets it back, what happens if there is a dispute, what the tenant must do if he cannot get hold of you at the end of the tenancy, and the contact details of any letting agency you use. Your scheme will usually have rules that you can print out and a form that you can complete which will comply with all the statutory requirements.

If your scheme does have such documents available, you should use them. If you fail to do so you will not be able to seek possession of your property when the tenancy comes to an end, and you may find yourself having to pay your tenant a financial penalty of up to three times the amount of the deposit as compensation for not complying with the law.

What’s your problem? If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona McNulty is a partner in the residential property, farms and estates team at Withy King LLP (www.withyking.co.uk).

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