I dont think they could actually protect it at all now though jjlandlord without being liable for penalty again?
Deposit was taken way more than 30 days ago and so Pi could not be issued in time. Or are you suggesting superstike case might apply where it's a deemed deposit and protected on time if a new AST is given?
I wouldn't take any risks. The whole protection scheme seems to set landlords up for a penalty. With so little time left I'd be tempted to avoid an AST and avoid any doubt