Thursday, 9 August 2018

Landlords - make sure you secure the security deposit!

I was reading through a landlord forum online when I spotted a post from a landlord struggling with their tenant’s security deposit. They’d protected it 31 days after receiving it and thus missed the deadline to do so by one day. The knock-on effect was that several years later, with the tenant £5,000 in rent arrears, the landlord’s notice for the tenant to leave was thrown out of court. The landlord was told to give the deposit back in full before re-serving the notice. Oh, and just for good measure he had to pay compensation to the tenant in the amount of three times the deposit!

All this must be done within 30 days of receiving it (but why wait?) and then it’s job done. Part of my move-in process is to have tenants sign and initial two copies of the required information (one for me and one for them) as proof this has been served properly. My move-in checklist, also signed by the tenant, again proves this has been done - as per my opening paragraph, the penalties of not doing so are severe!

CRJ Lettings is a member of the DPS (Deposit Protection Service) and their custodial scheme. It’s free to use (so why is it some agents charge for this?) and it means the landlord or the letting agent isn’t holding the tenants security deposit - it’s held in a government-backed ring-fenced account, courtesy of the DPS.

Some ‘insured’ schemes allow the landlord or letting agent to hold the deposit in their own bank account. Personally, I would recommend landlords and tenants avoid letting agents who hold deposits in their own accounts; there’s been too many stories of fraudulent (or just poorly managed) letting agencies dipping into this fund to cover their own cashflow, or even going bust and losing the deposit monies in the process (which the landlord will have to cough up when the time comes to repay the tenant).

Another tip I’d give to landlords who self-manage but use a letting agent on a ‘tenant-find only’ basis is to protect the deposit yourself. It will then be under your watch for the duration of the tenancy and you won’t be beholden to an agent (and possibly their fees) to process it at the end of the tenancy.

If all this sounds like too much trouble, or you’re a landlord who hasn’t been doing this (or worse, you’re with a letting agent who hasn’t) give me a call to take the burden from you.

(This article was featured in the Chichester Observer's property section on August 9, 2018)

Clive Janes, CRJ Lettings

If you are looking for an agent that is well established, professional and communicative in Chichester, then contact us to find out how we can get the best out of your investment property.

E-mail me on or call 01243 624 599.

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