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Deposit claim after end of tenancy


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Hi all,

This forum seems to be a knowledgeable place for tenancy deposits. I’d appreciate any comments on our case.

Three of us moved into a property in January 2008. We renewed the tenancy a year later, and moved out in February 2010. We paid a deposit on moving in of £1860. We never received any information from the landlord, the agent or any of the protection schemes.

Since moving out the landlord hasn’t repaid our deposit. It was only when I did a bit of reading around the subject that I came across the Housing Act 2004 and the liabilities of landlords towards their tenants’ deposits. I have written (email) confirmation from each of the three deposit protection schemes that they have never protected any deposit from us.

I served a letter before action to the landlord, the time limit on which has now expired. The landlord has acknowledged receipt of the letter and seems to be a bit scared at last.

A few specific questions:

- if he returns our deposit at this point can I continue with court action against him? I’m not the vindictive type but this man has pushed my patience.

- when we moved in my father acted as my guarantor as I was still a student. When we renewed the contract in January 2009 there was no new credit check. Does this affect anything?

- one of our flatmates moved out in May 2009 and we replaced him with a friend who paid the old tenant his deposit. Does this affect anything?

I’ve read the threads about a current High Court decision which is pending. I suppose waiting for the outcome of that case might be instructive.

Thanks for your time.

Chris

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The intention of the law seemed to be that if the deposit was returned or protected prior to the hearing, the 3x "fine" would not apply.

 

The law itself is unclearly worded (hence all the court cases and appeals) and seems in some people's view to imply this as it says that the judge should order return/protection of the deposit and "also" the 3x fine. The "also" could suggest that the latter (the 3x fine) shouldn't happen if the former (the return of the deposit) cannot be awarded (because it has already been returned).

 

If the deposit is not returned till after you issue a claim, you should at the very least continue the claim for the costs of issuing the claim, since there remains the failure to protect the deposit.

 

The credit check issue shouldn't change anything.

 

The change in flatmates might affect who is entitled to any "winnings". Common sense would suggest the new tenant is entitled to it...

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I submitted my N208 claim today, claiming for the deposit plus interest, three times the deposit as compensation, and court fees. My (anonymised) claim wording is below, if anyone would like to borrow it. I took most of the wording from the template kindly posted online by someone more knowledgeable than me (sorry, I forget who).

 

The Claimant claims under section 214(1) of the Housing Act 2004 that the deposit of £1860 required by the tenancy agreement originally dated [sTART DATE] in respect of the premises at [ADDRESS], made between the Claimant and the Defendant was not paid into an appropriate tenancy deposit scheme (in breach of section 213(1) of the Housing Act 2004); or that the Claimant was unable to confirm from the Scheme Administrator of any tenancy deposit scheme that they held the deposit in accordance with the scheme (in breach of section 213(3) of the Housing Act 2004).

And the Claimant asks that the court make an order:1. That the person who appears to the court to be holding the deposit do repay it to the Claimant, in accordance with section 214(3) of the Housing Act 2004.2. That the Defendant do pay to the Claimant, within 14 days of the making of the order, a sum of money equal to three times the amount of the deposit, in accordance with section 214(4) of the Housing Act 2004.3. The Claimant claims interest under section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984 at the rate of 8% a year, from 10 February 2008 to 7 July 2010 of £358.87 and interest at the same rate up to the date of judgment or earlier payment at a daily rate of £0.41.The Claimant is therefore seeking payment of £7440, plus the court fees and interest.

The Claimant encloses copies of:

  • the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement signed on [sTART DATE] relating to the above named premises;
  • the receipt from the Letting Agents of the deposit;
  • a letter sent in March 2008 relating to the lack of inventory provided for the property, and thus that no deductions from the deposit would be accepted;
  • a letter received from the Letting Agents in January 2010 confirming that the Defendant is holding the Claimant’s deposit;
  • confirmations from each of the three Government-approved tenancy deposit protection schemes that they did not hold the deposit for the above named premises for the entire length of the tenancy;
  • letters and emails sent to the Defendant requesting information about, and return of, the deposit. The Claimant additionally requested the return of the deposit on numerous other occasions by telephone since the end of the tenancy, with no repayment forthcoming despite repeated promises to the contrary by the Defendant;
  • the Letter Before Action sent on 25 June 2010 and the email from the Defendant received on 3 July 2010 acknowledging its receipt;
  • the Notes for the Defendant.

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Hey guys.

 

I work in Landlord & Tenant law and one thing I would say about any deposit case is this:

 

Universal Estates -v- Tiensia

 

The Court of Appeal heard this on May 7 and reserved judgement. The question at stake is whether the three-times-the-deposit penalty is at date of hearing or at date of application to Court.

 

Also in question is the requirement for the Landlord to provide information - does the information have to be provided within 14 days or by the date of a Court hearing?

 

I think this is the case that the OP was referring to. I'll keep everyone updated as I learn more about the outcome.

 

Needless to say, it seems to be my perception in deposit cases that Judges are staying a lot of them pending the outcome of this case. But this is just my perception, your mileage may vary. If in ANY doubt, get independent legal advice rather than trusting to something you read on the internets.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...

We won! Had our hearing this afternoon. The landlord didn't turn up, but the judge accepted our case and awarded us our full claim:

 

- return of the deposit

- interest on the deposit from start of tenancy + 10 days until now

- three times the deposit

- court fees

 

The landlord's defence was to have paid a cheque into our bank account last Friday - but it didn't clear in time so we went ahead anyway. I'd recommend this to others in the same situation. Beware though, as if your landlord protects the deposit, even after the end of the tenancy, then you're likely to lose your case for compensation.

 

The landlord may apply to have the judgement set aside but we'll know in the next couple of weeks. Thanks everyone for your advice and help!

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...
Keep your eyes on the forums/news/blogs as there is a case in the High Court of Appeal on the 9th February to get clarification on the "protecting deposits after the end of the tenancy" point.

 

It is listed as {Potts vs Densley}

 

 

That case was heard by the High Court on 9th February. But judgement was reserved, i.e. it will not be given for several weeks.

 

Once the decision is known, it will be reported by solicitors Pain Smith in their on-line blog at http://blog.painsmith.co.uk/2011/02/09/potts-%E2%80%93v-densley-pays-update/.

Edited by Ed999

Note

 

This is a self-help forum in which users share their experiences. Assistance is offered informally, without any assumption of liability. Use your own judgement; obtain advice from a qualified and insured professional if you have any doubts.

 

This posting gives general guidance only. It is not an authoritative statement of the law. Consult a Solicitor for specific advice before deciding on any course of action.

 

 

Further information:

 

Assured and Shorthold tenancies - A guide for tenants

 

Renting and Leasehold - Advice from Shelter

 

 

All posts are opinion only

 

 

If you've found my suggestions useful, please click on my star and add a comment

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