Can the tenancy deposit laws be challenged in the courts?
Tenancy deposit law has been with us for several years now, and most people are getting used to it, even if many of them don’t like it. However one website I spotted recently still has big questions.
The website is Buy to Let Building Insurance and they are asking UK Lawyers to comment on whether tenancy deposit law is legal or not, pointing out that in the past many tenants got their deposit back on the day they moved out:
Now the tenant has to wait 10 days and a request for the deposit has to be sent by the landlord and tenant to the DPS if there is no dispute. In the meantime some tenants will have to borrow for their next deposit.
Is it not the case that the deposit is at all times the property of the tenant and so the government and the law have no right to interfere with how he wishes to use it and who he wants to hold it as long as the purpose is not illegal?
If this is the case then could making the use of the scheme compulsory be overturned by appeal to a High Court or a European Court as the law deprives the tenant of the right to do what he wants with his own money?
This sort of question is rather outside my area of expertise, but I note that three Court of Appeal Judges recently spent a long time looking at various questions about the tenancy deposit laws in the Tiensia case, and did not question its legality, although I suppose that was not a matter before the court.
My view is that a law which passes through both houses of Parliament and has the Queens approval is probably sufficient to force landlords to protect other people’s money held by them, when there is clear evidence that in the past many landlords (not all but a substantial minority) were seriously abusing their position.
After all as a solicitor, I have to comply with rigid rules about holding other people’s money, and have to have my accounts specially audited and a report sent to the Solicitors Regulation Authority every year.
But what do you think?