Renting Your Family Home? Here’s how to get your deposit back

Guest blog from Natasha Batty, Principal Solicitor at Natasha Hall Law.

How to get your deposit back

If your family has an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, then you could be eligible for a “no win, no fee” claim. Your family can also claim up to three times the amount of your original deposit. This applies to any form of family home accommodation from a private landlord.

At the start of your tenancy, once you legally hand over your deposit to your landlord, they have 30 days to put your deposit to one of the three authorised deposit protection schemes.

The purpose of these government-approved tenancy deposit schemes is to make sure that you get your deposit back, only if your family:

  • Meets the terms of your tenancy agreement.
  • Did not make any damages in the property.
  • Paid the necessary rent and bills.

Making a claim against a landlord

Your family is entitled to make a claim once your landlord fails to do one of the following:

  • Put your deposit to an authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme.
  • Send you any of the prescribed information within 14 days of receiving your deposit.
  • Send a written confirmation from a scheme administrator (where your deposit is being held).

Prescribed information

Prescribed information is information related to your tenancy. Your landlord is required to provide these details to your family, these are:

  • The amount of the deposit.
  • The property address.
  • The contact details of the scheme administrator (where your deposit is being held).
  • Procedures relating to the tenancy deposit scheme, e.g. when should the deposit be paid or repaid to the tenant at the end of the tenancy.
  • Contact details of your landlord and any other parties who have contributed to your deposit.

What will the impact of Brexit be on family law?

impact of Brexit on family law

Some of the potential problems with the United Kingdom leaving the European Union (EU) may be addressed by incorporating EU law into domestic legislation. This is not an ideal resolution, though, as it doesn’t address the requirement for reciprocity and cross border recognition of Family Law Orders.

Provisions for transitionary arrangements must be taken into great consideration to ensure legal certainty for families during the transition stage. Much more so in giving consideration to issues or concerns affecting those engaged in family law proceedings, specifically those who are negotiating and legislating in advance of Brexit.

With the freedom of movement and of residence (right of every citizen of the Union to move and reside freely within the territory of the member states) in place, it means that there are nearly 4 million EU citizens living in the UK and around 1.5 million UK citizens living in the EU.

If, for example, a couple who are citizens of one member state but are currently living in another member state gets divorced, the issue of which country they get divorced in is governed by the EU Council. Various European instruments are applicable to when such couples get divorced.

In accordance with Regulation 2201/2003 (also known as “Brussels II A” or “Brussels II bis”), there is a race to the court called the “Lis Pendens” rule. The rule holds that the first party in time to issue proceedings at court secures the jurisdiction for their divorce in a particular country. The law only works because of reciprocity between all EU member states.

UK and EU

In accordance with the EU Maintenance Regulation (Council Regulation 4/2009), a framework for jurisdiction and enforcement of maintenance awards between the EU member states should be provided. In some instances, couples may also agree in advance where any dispute about maintenance should be decided upon.

 Same-sex couples

There are already existing issues and concerns within EU countries when it comes to the great jurisdictional difference between same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples. With Brexit in place, this issue will further be exacerbated specifically for those couples who are looking to leave the EU.

Domestic violence

The current EU regulation provides protection to victims of all ages from domestic abuse. Individuals are ensured that they will be able to receive protection orders to be recognized and introduced across the EU. With Brexit in place, this approach across the EU will no longer be relevant and each country should be able to have their own requirements and laws relating to domestic violence.

What is the Children’s Act?

Children's Act

The Children Act 2004 holds:

The interests of children and of young people are substantial when taking safeguarding and welfare into account.

It is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard children.

Safeguarding children and young people is achievable through the improvement of their:

  • health;
  • education and development;
  • safety; and
  • economic circumstances.

In accordance to the guidelines enacted by the Children Act 2004, people specifically working closely with children should be able to determine how a child should be taken care of, regardless if they are in an educational or non-educational environment.

The purpose of this Act is to make the UK a safe environment for children by creating a Children’s Commissioner—in which each local authority will need to appoint a director for children’s services. In line with this, the government may create electronic records for each and every child in England, Scotland, and Wales to centralize tracking of children in different local authorities and government services.

The principles of the Act focuses on:

  • allowing children to be healthy;
  • helping children to be happy and enjoy their lives;
  • allowing children to be safe in their environment;
  • helping children succeed;
  • helping children achieve economic stability for their future; and
  • helping to make a positive contribution to the lives of the children.

Generally, the Act is prioritizing the wellbeing of children. If in case a child suffered from maltreatment, it is a must to let it be known to relevant local authorities. In several areas of the Act, it is emphasized that inter-agency cooperation is a must when dealing with matters relating to the welfare of children. This element of the Act particularly ensures that when an agency becomes aware of a child’s maltreatment, other agencies that might be of help in protecting the child will also be informed.

Children’s Trusts

The Act also deals with agencies that were set up independently of Health and Social Services together with government agencies wherein there’s an introduction of extended cooperation between agencies, teachers, parents, guardians, and children. This is to prevent dismissal of intervention coming from outside sources.

Children’s Funds

The Act also made a provision for a Children’s Fund designed to help or assist in eliminating poverty and financial struggles of children and their families who aren’t privileged enough because of their financial situation and capabilities.