Hi,thanks for your question. My name's XXXXX XXXXX I'm going to assist you with it.
If the tenancy is an "assured shorthold tenancy" (let me know if you need any assistance on determining this) and the deposit was paid after 6th April 2007 (which it will have been), the landlord must protect the deposit within 30 days of the start of the tenancy. If not, the tenant has a potential claim for the deposit to be returned or for an order that the deposit be protected. She is also entitled to compensation between 1 - 3 times the value of the deposit. Compensation of 3 times the deposit is no longer mandatory and the amount actually awarded is at the discretion of the judge.
Practically speaking, what a tenant does in these circumstances depends on what she wants to achieve. If she simply wants to ensure that his deposit is protected, a letter should be written to the landlord reminding him of his obligations, asking for evidence that the deposit has been protected and, if not, it should be protected within 14 days or further action will be considered. The tenant can then review her next steps depending on his response.
If, instead, she intends to bring a claim for return of the deposit along with compensation, the tenant will need to consider whether or not she wants to remain in the property. If it's a long term home, she may not want to bring proceedings straight away. Some unscrupulous landlords might wait until the end of the fixed term and (then so long as the claim has been resolved or he has returned the deposit) evict a tenant under s.21 (in retaliation).
However, if the tenant intends to leave at the end of the fixed term she could bring the claim without delay. A tenant should bear in mind that court proceedings will affect the relationship between the tenant and the landlord so, again, it might be preferable to wait until the end of the fixed term before making a claim to recover the deposit and compensation. The procedure for bringing a claim is not straightforward so it is best to seek the advice of a solicitor. I also understand that there are a number of online companies that can assist with these actions.
Can I clarify anything for you?