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This is a question from Rupert who is a tenant:

Hi, is the Landlord legally obliged to re protect a deposit if the terms of a renewal fixed term Tenancy Agreement materially change, eg increase in rent or if there is a new landlord. Thank you

Is a renewal tenancy the same as a replacement tenancy?

Answer

In most cases, provided your landlord has protected the deposit within 30 days of receipt of the deposit money, it will not need to be protected again.

There was a case in 2013, called Superstrike v Rodrigues, discussed in our post here, which held that landlords needed to re-protect deposits every time the tenancy was renewed, either by a new agreement or by continuing as a periodic tenancy.  However, this changed with the Deregulation Act in 2015.  Now in most situations, landlords only need to protect the deposit once and this is carried over when the tenancy is renewed.

However, if the parties change (either the landlord or the tenants) then this will need to be notified to the scheme protecting the deposit and the landlord should re-serve the prescribed information.  But landlords will not need to reprotect if the rent goes up.

As regards the meaning of ‘replacement’ and ‘renewal tenancies’ – the terms are not (so far as I am aware) defined in statute and do not have a precise legal meaning.  A ‘renewal’ is often used to refer to a document that is given to tenants at the end of the fixed term giving them a further fixed term often at a higher rent.  ‘Replacement tenancy’ to me sounds more like the landlord giving a new copy of the tenancy agreement to a tenant who has lost it.  But as I said, there is no statutory or prescribed meaning to these terms.

Bear in mind that all three schemes have different terms and conditions and these also vary depending on whether the scheme used by your landlord is a ‘custodial’ one (where the money gets paid over to the scheme) or an ‘insurance based’ one (where the landlord hangs on to the money and pays a fee).  They do not all work in the same way (although they are similar).

So if you are not sure whether your landlord is doing the right thing or not, the scheme terms and conditions should always be your first port of call for information.  You will find them on the scheme website.  The schemes all also have telephone helplines.

Note that tenants can now also find help on the Renters Guide website.



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