New laws on letting deposits introduced

ALL landlords and letting agents in North Antrim who take a deposit from a new tenant must now register it with an approved deposit protection service.

The laws – similar to those which already exist in Scotland, England and Wales – came into force last week and were brought in to protect tenants by reducing the number of unfairly withheld deposits.

A recent poll by the Letting Protection Service Northern Ireland (LPS NI) showed some 77% of letting agents thought the industry was not prepared for the new laws.

Any new deposit will have to be registered with an approved scheme like the LPS NI within 14 days. The landlord or letting agent must also supply certain information to the tenant within 28 days of receiving the deposit.

Failure to protect the deposit risks an on-the-spot fine of three times the deposit total or a court imposed maximum fine of £20,000.