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Deposit paid by tenant


kiajade
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I am not sure if anyone can help. My daughter bought a small house when she got her first job, which she has continually let.

Late last year (2011) she let it to a couple and their teenage son, took the deposit of £500.00 and their first month rent and they duly moved in. I will add that prior to them moving in she had a tenant who more or less demolished the house, and it cost her £20,000 to renovate it ready for reletting.

Her biggest error was not putting the deposit in the deposit scheme but keeping it in her savings account. Three months later these tenants started to complaint about one thing and another, then a constant complaint about damp appearing. She got in a surveyor who stated their was no damp, but it was condensation from drying clothes in the house and not opening the windows and also not keeping it sufficiently heated during the winter. After a further month or so of them complaining they moved. The house was left in a very dirty state and new carpets had to be laid after only five months of use.

Now comes the problem. The tenants wanted their deposit back, but my daughter told them they had not given sufficient notice and had left the house in a bad state - thus no deposit was due back to them. They wrote to her telling her that unless she gave them the deposit back, they would go to the court and tell them she had not put their deposit in the DPS. My daughter heard no more from them until today when she had a letter from a solicitor stating they had been to the county court on 4th Sept, and had been awarded £1740.00 which she is to pay within seven days. She rang the court to find out more and it appears the notices had been going to another address and not hers. She is due to emigrate in three weeks time and is distraught over this. Is there anything anyone can suggest to help her?

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Set aside due to not receiving the claim and being not given the opportunity to defend would be very

unlikely to succeed..... the bottom line is the Judge will be able to see she actually has no defence?

 

Quite simply your daughter did not comply with the TDS legislation and all that would happen, if granted set aside to not having received the claim is that the tenants would instigate the same claim again using section 214 of the Housing Act and they will be looking to achieve maximum penalties ie: 3x the deposit paid. I know this is not the news you had hoped to hear but better heard now than after costly litigaton.

 

WD

Edited by wonkeydonkey
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I'm not sure if it helps but I've read somewhere (perhaps CAG?) fairly recently about landlords managing to avoid prosecution for not depositing tenants deposits into the approved deposit scheme, by depositing the money at the last minute just before the court case - I can't remember how late it's possible to do this or whether that possibility has now been eliminated. If I can remember where to find that info I'll post back.

 

For what it's worth I have full sympathy for your daughters predicament which seems to have been brought on by a succession of 'bad' tenants.

 

Although I own my home, I know people who rent and complain of so-called 'damp' which is brought about by their own actions, in much the same way as you describe above. Trying to explain to some people about condensation caused by the rise in humidity inside the house - caused by hanging washing out to dry indoors, or cooking with no saucepan lids being used - which then condenses on colder surfaces, is like banging your head against the wall!

 

Good luck

Rob

Edited by robcag
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Hi

 

I can't remember where I saw the info referred to above, but Googling around for a while produced these results, I'm sure there is plenty to be found.

 

http://partners.lincolnshire.gov.uk/LincolnshireLandlordsElectronicNewsletter/section.asp?catId=33427 (first paragraph or so). It appears there have been court cases/appeals regarding this issue.

 

I'm not sure whether something useful can be gained from this; http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/privaterentedhousing/tenancydepositprotection/tenancydepositprotectionfaq/

 

Again, good luck

Rob

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I think once the tenancy has ended and the property vacated it will be extremely difficult to pay the deposit into any of the TDS schemes and although I don't have time to research them all but there are numerous case laws on the web about this, plenty in the County Courts but only a few have reached the High Court.

 

There has been legislation updates in both 2011 and 2012 designed to put pressure on LL's to ensure deposits are paid to the schemes, a good solicitor might find your daughter a 'loop hole' but they don't come cheap which you also need to bear in mind.

 

WD

Edited by wonkeydonkey
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