From 2 November 2015, any landlord taking a rent deposit in connection with a residential tenancy agreement will be obliged to enter into an agreement with the States appointed scheme administrator – Mydeposits - and to place the deposit monies with them within 30 days of the date of the lease. Any landlord failing to comply with this risks a fine of up to £2000. The scheme is not retrospective although a landlord may choose to pay a deposit into the scheme if he wishes.
The scheme aims to remove the risk of tenants' deposits being withheld unfairly by landlords or managing agents when a tenancy comes to an end and will assist landlords and tenants in the management of deposits.
The cost of the scheme has been publicised at £21 per deposit and this will be deducted from the deposit when it is released. No interest on the deposit monies will be paid to the tenant.
At the end of the tenancy, if the landlord and tenant agree as to the amount of deposit to be repaid, the scheme administrator will be notified and must release the amount promptly albeit this may mean a week or two. In the event of dispute, the scheme administrator will hold onto the deposit until the dispute has been resolved. This will follow either the parties coming to an agreement between themselves, the decision of an adjudicator (the scheme includes access to a free and independent alternative means of dispute resolution (ADR) service) or by order of the Petty Debts Court.
A government-backed tenancy deposit scheme has operated in England and Wales since 2007. However, unlike the UK where there are several national scheme providers offering either insurance or custody-based schemes, Jersey will have a single custodial tenancy deposit scheme with Mydeposits. The Jersey Landlords Association has expressed concerns about the cost of the scheme and the potential delay in releasing monies to a tenant moving to a new rental property or leaving Jersey.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.