I recently wrote about a case where my tenant left the property and the country with 5 months rent outstanding. He stated that either I take his deposit or I take him to court and then to international arbitration where he would make a counterclaim of up to 3 times his deposit.
Where he got the idea of 3 times his deposit is from the fact that he claims I have not provided him with the Deposit Prescribed Information. I used the OpenRent Rent Now service which emails the tenants with this prescribed information however he claims that according to the guidance on https://www.depositprotection.com/im-a-landlord/starting-a-tenancy/ive-protected-a-deposit-what-next/prescribed-information/ the landlord “must give the tenants an opportunity to check and sign the Prescribed Information to confirm that its contents are correct.”
Does he have any grounds on this? Is there any legal duty to actually use the template DPS provides and make the tenants sign the prescribed infromation?
Any advice and links to the regulations on this would be extremely heplful.
The deposit information I give to my tenants and get them to sign for it, Get them to sign for EVERYTHING that applies eg boiler check cert, EPC etc
Hi Colin, do you use the Rent Now service that OpenRent provides? They email the tenants with the prescribed information as everything is done electronically. I was under the impression that there was no need for the prescribed information to be signed for but that the tenants have the opportunity to check it and make amendments if it is incorrect.
yes electronic is fine as long as you can prove it was sent. I do everything personally as I get to see my tenants on a regular basis and I am not an electronic man! So I make a check list that they sign… I get deposit and one months rent cash or into bank which I then check its gone in and THEN they get the keys. send off deposit and thenget them to sign they have the verifiction. I only advertise the property thru Openrent , then use experion and all else i do myself. I even have some tenants with whom I collect the rent in cash, !!
Hi Jose, in Rent Now, the tenants provide their digital signature when sent the AST and the prescribed deposit information. It is not possible for the tenancy to proceed unless the tenants have done this.
For more help, you can email https://www.openrent.co.uk/faq#i-have-more-questions and our team will be able to assist
Hi Sam, The tenants provide their digital signature for the AST but I dont see any for the prescribed deposit information. Can you please let me know where I can find this?
Hi Jose, As far as I know , Prescribed information does not need tenant’s signature and I have read this somewhere in My Deposit scheme. Serving Prescribed information to tenant is mandatory. Open rent tenancy agreement also has all of information on tenant’s deposit, scheme etc and their contact number. Looks your tenant is trying to misuse the laws which no one should it.
Rest assured, the prescribed information is contained in the AST that all parties have signed - this includes the details of the deposit amount, where it will be protected and how it will be treated.
We also email tenants as soon as the deposit has been protected. This email, which you will have been copied into, re-iterates all the required information, and includes a copy of the deposit scheme terms and conditions, as well as a copy of the government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide.
This goes beyond the minimum legal requirement; the law states the information is provided to the relevant parties, so printed signed forms are not necessary:
Please email https://www.openrent.co.uk/faq#i-have-more-questions if you have any further questions
Thank you Katie. That’s a very helpful response.
Just to provide clarification. My tenancy agreement, like that of OpenRent, contains all the information to be quoted in the legally required Prescribed Information. However, your tenant might be like me, and not feel that is good enough, especially as they may not know that. I provide the DPS produced Prescribed Information in addition to my Agreement simply because I cannot trust myself, despite believing that I do not need to.
Your tenant maybe thinking they need the Prescribed Information as a separate document, when it is not needed. A decent agreement has the Prescribed Information embedded in it without having to highlight that it is that, e.g. by asterisk, italic text or whatever way one can imagine doing so.
The law does not require the Prescribed information to be issued as a separate document from the Agreement.
This has nothing to do with whether or not prescribed information was sent. Your tenant is clearly looking for a loophole to get out of paying you. And this is where we are - it’s no longer about fairness. It’s getting to the point it’s such a minefield out there with so many opportunities for it all to blow up in your face (with the benefit of the doubt clearly falling on the side of the tenant, politically and legislatively), it’s no longer the domain of the amateur. And they will leave in droves…
Hey Joseph_1. How did it go with that tenant of yours? It’s interesting to know how everything unfolded.
Hi Leonid, the law states you need to provide the deposit certificate/prescribed information but it is not a legal requirement that the tenants have to sign it. Since they rented the house as a whole and one of his housemates signed it then there is enough evidence that we provided the information required.
In the end we used a debt collections agency and were successfully able to collect the rent due and any damages to the property (he damaged a brand new bed and left the room unclean).
Since this has happened, I made sure to get confirmation from the tenants that they have received the deposit certificates and I also make them sign it when they move in. It’s just better to cover your back at all times, as sad as that may sound.
Although the tenants dont have to sign it, they must be offered the opportunity or the deposit wont be properly protected. In @Joseph_1 case, Openrent say they included the PI in the tenancy agreement, (presumably along with the schemes terms and conditions, which is also a requirement) and so the condition was met when the tenant was asked to sign the TA.