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A landlords section 21 options if deposit not protected and the time it takes

housesHere is a question to the blog clinic from Richard (not his real name) who is a tenant

1 – My 6 months Assured shorthold tenancy agreement ends in March 16th 2013 and my landlord needs to give 2 months notices on January the 16th 2013 to take effect in March 16th 2013.

2 – My Landlord did not put how much I paid for deposit, it just says £ 0.00 on the Assured shorthold tenancy agreement..

3 – The Landlord letting agent who took the deposit, told me when the Assured shorthold tenancy agreement ends they will not give back the deposit and I should use it has my last month rent.

4 – I do not think my landlord has protected my deposit with a Government Scheme and they did not provide any proof of it after the after 30 days after I paid the house deposit on 09/16/2012. I only got a receipt saying a I paid £750 as a house deposit.

With the information above do you think

1 – My landlord can use a Section 21 on me when he has not protected my deposit with a Government Scheme ?

2 – If my landlord has given 2 months notices and has protected my deposit with a Government Scheme and I stay in the house after the Assured shorthold tenancy agreement ends, how long would it be until my landlord gets a County Court for possession order from the courts and after that, a warrant of eviction ?

Here are your answers:

1. No, if he has not protected the deposit, he cannot use section 21 to evict you unless he pays the money back to you first.

2. It is difficult to certain how long it would take as some courts are quicker than others.  But it would probably take about seven to ten weeks for the possession order to be made, from the posting of the paperwork off to court.

As you rightly say, after the possession order the landlord would need to get a bailiffs appointment.  Your landlord would not be able to apply for this until the date given in the possession order for you to leave, has passed.

How long it would then take for the bailiffs appointment to be made would depend on how busy the bailiffs office is.  In some busy London courts it can take up to eight weeks.  However in quieter courts he could get an appointment in about two weeks.  It is impossible to say more than that.

For more information on your rights, see my tenancy deposit claim website.



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5 Responses to A landlords section 21 options if deposit not protected and the time it takes

  1. Why oh why are we still having these queries come in nearly 6 years after the law was brought in?

    80% of complaining tenants I deal with as a TRO dont have their deposit protected. When I ask about it they look at me baffled. Tenant ignorance is a driver to this as much as landlord avoidance.

    Last year I did presentations at several conferences and each time I was approached by at least one landlord asking my advice on how to avoid having to protect a tenants deposit, to which I always responded “You cant” and left it at that.

    Part of my job as a TRO is to prevent homelessness and defeat possession claims. When a landlord hasnt protected the deposit or failed to serve the prescribed information it is like shooting fish in a barrel for me.

    Any section 21 served is not valid unless the landlord;
    returns the deposit (even if the tenant owes them rent)
    Returns part of the deposit, with any deduction agreed with the tenant, or
    The tenant has begun court proceedings for the penalty and they are still outstanding.

    Landlords. Do yourself a favour, just comply with the law.

    As for the advice of Richard’s agent……well there is a walking argument for regulation if ever there was one. Althoguh I read this morning that a bill calling to regulate agents has just been defeated, govt arguing it would damage business, so agent’s like Richards can go on giving daft advice that will drop their client landlord right in the crap and cost them a fortune. If I was Richard’s landlord I would sue my agent

  2. Hello Ben,

    “When a landlord hasnt protected the deposit or failed to serve the prescribed information it is like shooting fish in a barrel for me.

    Any section 21 served is not valid unless the landlord;
    returns the deposit (even if the tenant owes them rent)
    Returns part of the deposit, with any deduction agreed with the tenant, or
    The tenant has begun court proceedings for the penalty and they are still outstanding”

    You omitted/neglected/forgot to add

    “If a landlord fails to serve Prescribed Information, (s)he cannot serve a Section 21 Notice until the Prescribed Information has been served – but this can be more than 30 days after receiving the deposit. This will not prevent a tenant from issuing proceedings for late provision of the prescribed information and seeking a penalty award.”

    A landlord doesn’t need to return the deposit just because the prescribed information has not been served.

    Now this is all a bit pedantic and I’m sure you knew it anyway but goes to show, even a post from you can come across a bit confusing- as is the whole deposit protection situation.

    Which is why (semi/professional)landlords are asking you how to avoid protecting a tenants deposit.

    It’s not because they are planning to stitch up the tenant but because they want to avoid a 3x fine (+ God knows what costs) and also lose their right of regaining possession
    (-Yes, I know it’s still theoretically possible to get possession using s8).

    Also, rightly or wrongly, it is perceived that the dispute service is heavily weighted in the tenants favour.

    The deposit protection part is fair and reasonable. The prescribed information part is b….cks.

    Not just because no one reads it anyway and the important information is automatically sent to the tenant by the scheme.

    Even Judges struggle to get it right. It is working against the people it should be protecting.

    Instead of taking deposits, some landlords are now cherrypicking only the tenants with excellent credit records and home owning guarantors instead. It is a sellers market after all.

    A case of not needing to comply with the law. Far safer and easier to choose only tenants with a rich Mummy and Daddy instead.

  3. I think most sensible landlords would pick the tenant they thought was the best risk. I would if I were a landlord! Thats not down to the deposit scheme.

    The adjudications do appear to be skewed towards the tenant but this is because it is the tenants money and landlords have to prove with evidence that they are entitled to a payment – which many landlords don’t do properly (Tom Derrett’s book explains this really well http://www.yourlawstore.co.uk/how-to-win-deposit-disputes/)

    Landlords just need to protect and serve the information. There are lots of places they can find out what they need to do – God knows I have written about it often enough on here.

  4. Landlords just need to protect and serve the information. There are lots of places they can find out what they need to do – God knows I have written about it often enough on here.

    And yet after 6 years, landlords, tenants, lawyers, judges and councils are still getting it wrong.

    I think most sensible landlords would pick the tenant they thought was the best risk. I would if I were a landlord! Thats not down to the deposit scheme.

    The deposit scheme has (slightly)shifted the best risk, away from those who can provide a deposit towards those who have a more reputable background. If I were a tenant, I would prefer to be judged on my own merit.

    That said, I think that the deposit legislation was necessary and long overdue, despite those who have lost out because of it.

    However, the prescribed information part was ill thought out b….cks, of no use to either landlord or tenant.

    FWIW, I have not found the dispute service to be skewed toward the tenant- or the landlord for that matter. In my limited dealings with them, I have always found them to be scrupulously fair.

  5. I know my comment wasnt comprehensive HBW I get fed up enough writing the same thing at work all day long, explaining it over and over again to tenants and landlords. I have written an advice sheet on it all that every staff member has copies of to give out to client because we get so many of these queries every day.

    I agree with you about the prescribed information. Protection should be enough and just tell the tenant where it is. They can always contact the scheme. But it is what it is.

    More deposits would be protected if tenants knew to ask their landlord about it too. It really is an odd law, never in the field of landlord and tenant has so little been known by so few haha.




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About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. She runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 12th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google



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Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


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