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No sign of my deposit!


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Sorry for the long post.

 

Between 1 July 2006 and 30 June 2007 I rented a student house from a letting agent, along with 4 other people, each of us paying a deposit of £250, making a total of £1250. At the end of the tenancy we gave the house a thorough clean, handed all the keys back, paid all the final utility bills (along with proof of this to the letting agent) and gave stamped self-addressed envelopes for the return of our deposits. We were told we should get it back within 6 weeks.

 

After 6 weeks there was no sign of our deposits so I emailed them, to which I got no response. A few friends who had also rented from the same letting agent had not received their deposits either. More worryingly, they had been down to the letting agent’s office, only to be told that the letting agents we had rented from had moved to a different address. Upon investigation this new address was nothing more than a PO Box. If this wasn’t suspicious enough a new letting agent was now operating at the old address, which has a very similar name, almost identical logo, many of the same staff bar the old manager and had even taken over the management of the old letting agents properties.

 

We managed to get in contact with the manager over the phone where he told us the deposits were being processed. Further to this call we sent of a letter to the new address requesting the return of our deposits within 10 working days. Unsurprisingly, this deadline passed without any correspondence. Our next step was to visit Unipol, a charity set up to help students with housing issues, where we issued a formal complaint. We were not the only ones to of done so. By the time the issue was heard at a tribunal on 11 October, there were 93 different properties with the same complaint, and the story had been in the local news.

 

BBC News Player - Students get cash back

 

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/Students39-landlord-in-clash-over.3263517.jp

 

The decision of the tribunal was as follows:

 

The Panel agreed that Mr X was in breach of the sections of the code relating to deposits returns. Although it recognised the fact that he was no longer operating as a landlord, the Panel decided it wished to send the strongest possible message by ‘expelling’ him from membership of the Code. It also made a recommendation to Unipol that this decision be taken into account should Mr X apply to either re-join the Leeds scheme or any other accreditation scheme operated by Unipol.

 

Anyway, I received a letter today stating that the reason my deposit is being held is due to rent outstanding by another housemate and that my deposit will be returned when the rent is paid. Having phoned my former housemates they all told me they had paid their rent. However, as they were checking there bank statements it has emerged that the letting agent has not cashed a cheque from one of them for 1 month rent (£239). He has a receipt from the letting agent to say that they had received the cheque; they just haven’t bothered cashing it. Clearly this is fault on their part.

 

I am now wondering how to proceed with the matter. Obviously the housemate in question doesn’t want to pay the rent. He is owed more in deposit (£250) than owes in rent arrears (£239) and if he pays the rent runs the real risk of never seeing his deposit again anyway. The only means of now contacting the letting agent is through a PO Box address and given that it took over a month for them to respond to our last letter the situation doesn’t look like getting resolved any time soon.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Read this thread: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/landlords-tenants/116081-unfair-deposit-deductions.html

 

The landlord is the person who owes you the deposit, not the agent. If you have to sue it is the landlord that you must sue. Contact the landlord.

 

Read this thread: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/landlords-tenants/116805-how-find-out-landlords.html

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Thanks for your reply Ed. On our contract whenever the landlord is mentioned, the name and address of the letting agent has been given, not the actual landlord. Is it still the landlord we would have to sue?

 

 

Only you can know who the landlord is.

 

Presumably you have some reason for thinking that it is someone other than the person named on the tenancy agreement, in which case the thread I've already referred you to sets out how to find the name and address of the real landlord.

 

I suggest you pay the £3, and get the certificate from H M Land Registry for the property in question, which will contain the name and address of its freehold owner. That would usually be the true landlord (unless there has been a sub-letting).

 

Alternatively, write to him at the property you were renting. That is his property, and therefore that is his address.

 

You must sue the landlord. Do not sue the agent. The landlord is the one who has liability to you. The agent will just say, "Oh, I was only obeying orders".

 

Ed

 

 

 

Advice & opinions on this forum are offered informally, without any assumption of liability. Use your own judgment. Seek advice of a qualified and insured professional if you have any doubts.

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