Date Published 03 May 2012

Here is an important reminder. Landlords and agents are now in the last chance saloon as far as tenants' deposits are concerned.

That is because the 30-day grace period for AST tenants' deposits to be protected AND the prescribed information given to tenants is nearly at an end.

The time is up on May 6 – this Sunday.

The deadline is important where there were on-going tenancies on April 6, when the tenancy deposit rules changed.

The new rules do not catch tenancy agreements retrospectively, ie, where the tenancies ended before April 6. But they do catch continuing tenancies where the deposits were not protected and/or where the prescribed information was not given.

Thus, urgent action is required right now for any deposits not protected and any prescribed information not given.

Under the new rules, tenants will be able to bring claims even where their tenancy has ended after April 6, and will be able to do so for up to six years. Be aware that the new rules have been purpose-designed to make it impossible for courts not to impose penalties.

Be aware that if you have a tenancy that started before tenancy deposit rules were brought in at all (April 2007), good advice is to ensure that these old deposits are also now protected. If you are uncertain as to whether the prescribed information was given or given correctly, then serve another copy. As solicitor David Smith says, `if in doubt, protect, protect, protect`.