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Landlord deposit: WHat is maximum time landlord can withhold


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My blood is boiling.

 

We vacated a flat in SE23 3AP more than a month ago, despite several requests by the landord (emails, SMS) he has failed to respond and neither has he returned our deposit of GBP2250. Suddenly, more than a month after we vacated he's responded and not returning my money.

 

What is the maximum time a landlord can withhold deposit, and if he withholds for longer, what are my rights ?

Can I use the Small Claims online to reclaim my deposit ?

 

- We vacated on 07/09/2009.

- The landlord first inspected the property on apparently 10/10/2009.

- The landlord failed to hold inspection before or even after we vacated.

- Landlord appointed a estate agent who inspected and approved.

- We had flat professionally cleaned when vacated.

- The landlord is witholding the full deposit. He has not provided with any reason of withholding the deposit, neither has he shown any quotations for repairs.

- The check-in list has none of the landlord's claimed faults listed as their was none (to our knowledge) when we moved in. The faults we discovered we informed the landlord and had it duely repaired.

- The flat was unfurnished, basically empty inventory.

- We have pictures of flat (for personal use) of the flat about a week after we moved in.

- When we moved in the landlord was not present himself. The previous tenants handed over to us (keys, inventory, etc). We met and took over from his previous tenants without ever meeting the landlord. We vacated property as we found it. We never met or saw the landlord.

 

The landlord just emailed me a list of 'faults' in the flat and he is withholding the FULL deposit. Long before we left the flat we informed the landlord of the issues. I have a recording by the landlord where he admits to being informed.

 

In my previous tenancy I had a similar experience and only after I went on Small Claims Court Online did the landlord return my money.

 

Do I have a case to get my money back ?

https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/csmco/index.jsp

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Common sense says yes.....I would either write a letter before action / or get a solicitor on to it !!!

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Mods - can we move this to the appropriate forum?

 

- Did you sign the check in inventory?

- What was the monthly rent?

- Did you receive notification of the deposit being held in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme?

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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Moving to Residential/Commercial lettings forum

PLEASE NOTE - I am not a legal expert, what is stated is my own opinion and from what I have learnt from this forum and my own experiences.

 

DEBT COLLECTION LETTER/SAR/AGREEMENT TEMPLATES ARE HERE - http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/content.php?65-legislation

 

IF WE HAVE BEEN HELPFUL -PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE GIVE A DONATION TO HELP US TO CONTINUE HELPING YOU

 

I AM HAPPY TO RECEIVE PM's AND I WILL RESPOND IF I FEEL I CAN ASSIST BUT WHEN YOU DO CAN YOU PLEASE PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR THREAD ON WHICH YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO COMMENT - THANK YOU

 

IMPORTANT - If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.

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cheers 42 ;)

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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- Did you sign the check in inventory?

 

Yes. There was no one present when we vacated. The landlord first visited the flat more than a month after we left and is making first claims more than a month after we left. The landlord did not respond to requests to inspect the property prior to vacating and neither did he respond to emails until a month after we vacated.

 

- What was the monthly rent?

 

GBP900 per month. *EDITED ADDRESS*.

 

 

- Did you receive notification of the deposit being held in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme?

 

No. I was not aware of existence of an deposit scheme until after we moved in. The contract stated that rent wil be kept in a non-interest bearing account.

 

Thanks.

Edited by 42man
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Can I strongly advise that you remove the address from that post.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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Oh just noticed lack of move in date.....when did you move in? :)

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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When did you move in? :)

 

Occupation from 20/08/2008 - 07/09/2009.

 

We paid 1 months rent + depost in advance. We paid rent monthly in advance and was never in arrears. All rents paid in advance.

I have my bank statements + and all evidence pointing to full payments.

Outstanding amount is £2250.

 

Dunno if the following would make a difference....

We vacated the flat and moved to South Africa semi-permanently, keeping our mobile numbers and bank accounts and we are both British citizens.

 

.

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Simple.

 

Sue, but sue for 4 x the total deposit amount - your deposit, and 3 x deposit as a fine for the lack of tenancy deposit scheme compliance.

 

Search the forums for this - plenty of threads.

 

Easy victory.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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I am sure Mr Shed will advise further, but at laest the deposit should have been protected, thats to avoid these sorts of problems, and as such if there is dispute the scheme shoould resolve, however you always have recourse to court action. Normally the deposit should be returned within 14 days of leaving or claim for it back. if in dispute only the disputed amount is held or payed into the scheme by the LL and the remainder returned to the tennant. As you have vacated and the deposit was not protected then you can claim for all the deposit plus 3x the amount. So write LL and tell that unless deposit returned you will take him to court which will inclide the 3x amount.

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. Normally the deposit should be returned within 14 days of leaving or claim for it back. if in dispute only the disputed amount is held or payed into the scheme by the LL and the remainder returned to the tennant.

 

Thanks for the helpfull answers. I did search 'net before I posted. My internet connection is very very slow which makes finding answers cumbersome. I'm far out in a middle of nowhere town in S-Africa where internet is something people heard about !

The landlord just emailed me, confirmed he was not part of Deposit Scheme " as we did not rent through an agency".

 

The landlord seem to want to withhold deposit on grounds that his ancient sofa was 'damaged' (amongst others). Please note that the landlord NEVER inspected the flat or the one and only piece of furniture present. No damage was listed on the (CHEAPEST ever) sofa in inventory and as said, claims more than 5 weeks after we've moved out.

 

We got the keys directly from the previous tenants.

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Its got nothing to do with him renting through an agency. Moron lol.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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He the LL may have a claim against the agent for neglect of duty in not advising or putiing dep in a scheme. but would depend on the contract he had, if it was just for finding a tenant and not managing it.

Claim against deposit looks dodgy anyway if no inventory with the condition of the fittings/furniture attached.

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I rented privately, there was no agency involved.

 

How it worked:

- Previous tenants agreed with landlord to find, select and sort potential tenants.

- Previous tenatnts acted as 'agents' until we moved in. They then disappeared from the picture.

- We viewed the flat, made an offer for the flat via the previous tenants.

- We submitted all our proof of income, reference letters to the LL via previous tenants.

- Deposit (without deposit scheme) and monthky rent was paid into LL's account.

- We moved in, went trough inventory with previous tenants, they handed us the keys and they where off. never to be seen/heard again.

- Never did we see/speak to the landlord. Approval of our tenancy came through the previous tenants.

- The rental contract was strictly between us and the LL. There was no 3rd party involved as far as money goes.

 

Thanks MrShed for your advice. It sounds like sueing for the 3x would be an option. Can this go through small claims court ?

 

I have determined that I may be able to submit a claim.

 

1. Can I base my claim around the withholding of deposit and non-DTS compliance ?

2. Does the landlord have a maximum time for when he can make claims of 'damage' ?

 

I just would like to know that if I submit a claim: Can I win it + the 'damages' (not complying with DTS) ?

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Simple.

 

Sue, but sue for 4 x the total deposit amount - your deposit, and 3 x deposit as a fine for the lack of tenancy deposit scheme compliance.

 

Search the forums for this - plenty of threads.

 

Easy victory.

 

MrShed, you make it sound so easy! :-)

 

What if the LL returns the deposit or protects the deposit before court?

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I'd like to see how they can do that, following the END of the tenancy!!! :D

 

Return of the deposit will not prevent HA2004 applying, nor the 3 x deposit.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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Well... they can return the full deposit easily enough. I did call one of the schemes to ask if the deposit can be protected after the tenancy has finished and they said it could, as long as the LL has the deposit it can be protected. But there are conflicting views as to whether this information is correct or not.

 

What are your views on the 'must also' argument. ie, if the LL returns (or protects) the deposit, the court cant make an order under 214(3) and therefore cant 'also' order the fine?

 

Am curious of your thoughts on this.

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Sorry DT - youve lost me. Can you explain your second part?

 

I disagree with the first part. I'm sure they CAN protect it, but this wont protect them under HA2004, as no tenancy exists.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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MrShed, dont get me wrong here, I'm not trying to have an argument with you on this, just playing a bit of devils advocate, as I'm curious to find your views on the defence that my LL is using to my case. And I appreciate your input! :-)

 

I disagree with the first part. I'm sure they CAN protect it, but this wont protect them under HA2004, as no tenancy exists.

 

But if they protect it, the money is protected and no order can be given.... (the 14 days is irrelevant here I believe). Why wont the late protection protect them under HA2004? Can you explain this further?

 

Sorry DT - youve lost me. Can you explain your second part?

 

No problem. The Act states the following (summarised):

214(2) Subsections (3) and (4) apply if the grounds for awarding the penalty are met.

If they are...

214(3) The court must either—

(a) order the return of the deposit, or

(b) order the protection of the deposit.

214(4) The court must also order the landlord to pay to the applicant a sum of money equal to three times ...

 

If the court cant order 213(a) or 213(b) they cant 'also' order the penalty. In other words, is the order under S214(4) dependent on an order being made under S214(3) or not?

 

Make sense?

 

I'm not saying I agree with this argument, just have seen it being used by LL's trying to get out of the penalty. It's worked on at least one occasion that I know of.

Edited by DisgruntledTenant
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MrShed, dont get me wrong here, I'm not trying to have an argument with you on this, just playing a bit of devils advocate, as I'm curious to find your views on the defence that my LL is using to my case. And I appreciate your input! :-)

 

 

 

 

Dont worry - absolutely agree, and this bit of law is so subjective, debate is good!!! :) Was genuinely looking for clarification :)

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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No problem. The Act states the following (summarised):

214(2) Subsections (3) and (4) apply if the grounds for awarding the penalty are met.

214(3) The court must either—

(a) order the return of the deposit, or

(b) order the protection of the deposit.

214(4) The court must also order the landlord to pay to the applicant a sum of money equal to three times ...

 

If the court cant order 213(a) or 213(b) they cant 'also' order the penalty. In other words, is the order under S214(4) dependent on an order being made under S214(3) or not?

 

Make sense?

 

Hmmm. An interesting question.

 

can a court draft an order for something to be performed that is already the status quo?

 

I dont know.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

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Hmmm. An interesting question.

 

can a court draft an order for something to be performed that is already the status quo?

 

I dont know.

 

Not sure. An interesting debate I heard to this argument relates to the

 

"if the grounds for the penalty are met, the court must order the person who appears to the court to be holding the deposit to repay it to the applicant, (or protect it)."

 

In other words, if you follow the Act literally, the court must order the tenant to repay the money to themselves. It has no discretion around this due to the 'must'.

(nonsensical but correct under the wording of the law).

 

Therefore the must also for the second part would still apply.

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