Gabbs Partner, Simon Freeman (pictured), who has extensive experience in the field of landlord and tenant law, reports that new rules concerning deposits on rented properties are about to come into force.

He says: "With effect from 6 April 2012 some important changes affect the rules concerning deposits taken by landlords for residential lettings.  The time limit for providing evidence to a tenant that the landlord has protected the deposit with an authorized scheme has been extended to 30 days from the date it was taken.  This applies both for a new tenancy and a renewal.  Failure to comply with this requirement can result in the courts ordering that the deposit either be protected or returned to the tenant. In addition, the landlord can be ordered to pay the tenant between one and three times the deposit amount as a penalty.  The tenant can still seek compensation whether or not legal proceedings have yet to be started and even if the deposit is protected late or the tenant has left the property.  These provisions are intended to close various loopholes that have been exploited in the current regulations."

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