A section 213 notice is a prescribed form notice which must be served on your tenant, or another person, if they provided a deposit for a rental.
If you have taken a deposit for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) in England & Wales (the rules in Scotland & Northern Ireland are similar but may differ), to comply with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) legislation you MUST serve on your tenant a Section 2013 notice (Housing Act 2004).
The law says that landlords / agents must protect deposits within 30 days of receipt into one of the Government approved tenancy deposits schemes*. In addition to protecting the deposit a statutory notice (s213) must be served on the tenant, or where the deposit (or part of it) was provided by a third part, the third party must also be served notice.
The s213 notice must provide certain prescribed information to the tenant explaining about the chosen tenancy deposit scheme and the rules of this scheme – what happens when the tenancy ends, how claims and disputes are handled etc.
All the Deposit protection schemes will provide the necessary forms to enable landlords / agents to comply with the notice requirements in prescribed form. Download these documents from the appropriate scheme website.
The information required is set out in a 2007 Statutory Instrument number 797 – https://www.landlordzone.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/uksi_20070797_en.pdf
Failure to comply with any of the TDS legislation will mean (1) you cannot use the section 21 eviction process and (2) you could be subject to a fine of up to 3 times the deposit amount.
The information required in the s213 notice: Prescribed information relating to tenancy deposits:
2. (1) The following is prescribed information for the purposes of section 213(5) of the Housing Act 2004 (“the Act”)—
(a) the name, address, telephone number, e-mail address and any fax number of the scheme administrator(1) of the authorised tenancy deposit scheme(2) applying to the deposit;
(b) any information contained in a leaflet supplied by the scheme administrator to the landlord which explains the operation of the provisions contained in sections 212 to 215 of, and
Schedule 10 to, the Act(3);
(c) the procedures that apply under the scheme by which an amount in respect of a deposit may be paid or repaid to the tenant at the end of the shorthold tenancy(4) (“the tenancy”);
(d) the procedures that apply under the scheme where either the landlord or the tenant is not contactable at the end of the tenancy;
(e) the procedures that apply under the scheme where the landlord and the tenant dispute the amount to be paid or repaid to the tenant in respect of the deposit;
(f) the facilities available under the scheme for enabling a dispute relating to the deposit to be resolved without recourse to litigation; and
(g) the following information in connection with the tenancy in respect of which the deposit has been paid—
(i) the amount of the deposit paid;
(ii) the address of the property to which the tenancy relates;
(iii) the name, address, telephone number, and any e-mail address or fax number of the landlord;
(iv) the name, address, telephone number, and any e-mail address or fax number of the tenant, including such details that should be used by the landlord or scheme administrator for the purpose of contacting the tenant at the end of the tenancy;
(v) the name, address, telephone number and any e-mail address or fax number of any relevant person;
(vi) the circumstances when all or part of the deposit may be retained by the landlord, by reference to the terms of the tenancy; and
(vii) confirmation (in the form of a certificate signed by the landlord) that—
(aa) the information he provides under this sub-paragraph is accurate to the best of his knowledge and belief; and
(bb) he has given the tenant the opportunity to sign any document containing the information provided by the landlord under this article by way of confirmation that the information is accurate to the best of his knowledge and belief.
(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(d), the reference to a landlord or a tenant who is not contactable includes a landlord or tenant whose whereabouts are known, but who is failing to respond to communications in respect of the deposit.
When you serve the s213 notice make sure you read the contractual terms of your tenancy agreement with your tenant to make sure you comply with any specified methods of service. The common methods usually apply; i.e. in person, through the rental property letter box (with witness) or by first class mail (with proof of postage).
Proof of service of the s213 notice is crucial as you may need to provide proof should the tenant deny receiving it, possibly when you are processing a possession claim.
Because of a general lack of awareness in the landlord community regarding these rules, many landlords are vulnerable to spurious claims by tenants and also some lawyer firsm are now targeting this area, operating for tenants on a no-win-no-fee basis.
*The government approved Tenancy Deposit Schemes:
– Deposit Protection services (DPS) – custodial & insurance schemes – http://www.depositprotection.com
– MyDeposits – Insurance Scheme – http://www.mydeposits.co.uk
– The Dispute Service – Insurance scheme – https://www.tds.gb.com
By Tom Entwistle, LandlordZONE®
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©LandlordZONE All Rights Reserved – never rely totally on these general guidelines which apply primarily to England and Wales. They are not definitive statements of the law. Before taking action or not, always do your own research and/or seek professional advice with the full facts of your case and all documents to hand.