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Landlord witheld deposit.


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I will try to keep this as short as possible.

My husband and I moved into a house in March 2012 into owned by a private landlord

Never really had any trouble from them, we didn't give them any either. We always paid on time. 

We knew he was a bit dodgy though.  

In January 2017 my husband died suddenly.  I didn't leave until March 2020.

I didn't get my deposit back, it was £2100.

We were on friendly terms with the two brothers who owned the house. By varous means we knew that their mortgage was not buy-to-let, and I know that our deposit was not kept in a TDP (I checked).

In the run-up to my leaving, my landlord was very helpful with helping me with the garden and he sourced a skip for me, so I do appreciate that.

In February 2018 I asked my landlord for a new front door, and he agreed.  It should really have been replaced before we moved in but my husband didn't want to make a fuss. Still without a front door, a visitor (former friend of mine) kicked 4 panels glass panels out of the front door in a fit of rage. I reported it to the police who wouldn't do anything about it.  This was January 2020. 

As i had already been promised a new front door, I just patched up the panels, thinking my landlord would come and sort it.  I told him immediately.  He didn't replace the door until I had gone, so left me in the height of winter, living on my own with cardboard patching up and already flimsy door.  

The new door he had put in, taken out of my deposit, was definitely not 'like-for-like' and I know it cost about £1800, and if I had known this would happen I would have got my friend to put some glass in the panels for me.

Even since before I left I had asked him to keep me informed of anything he deemed necessary to replace and charge me for and he only kept being vague.  I never saw any receipts and he never asked me if he could do anything and I didn't see any evidence of work completed. 

I wrote to him once demanding evidence and he just rang me and fobbed me off. 

I have numerous texts messages, requesting this information also.

It has now been almost a year since our last contact.  I have been wanting to threaten him with court since the beginning, but I am scared of how much it will cost me, especially if I lose. I read somewhere I have 6 years to take action.

I'm just looking for some advice about what to do next please, and what chances I may have of winning, and also what is involved in legal action against a landlord?

Many thanks.

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You have a very high chance of winning – but please stand by for a further reply and request for further details – tomorrow or maybe even Monday.

In the meantime read up on this forum the steps involved in taking a small claim in the County Court.
In terms of the cost – you can do it yourself with our help. It won't cost you very much – and even if you lose, you will be shielded from the costs incurred by your landlord.
You will only have to bear your own costs. If you win, then you will get your claim for costs back from your landlord

 

How do you know that your landlord has not used a tenancy protected deposit scheme?

Could you contact one of the schemes or all of them and get confirmation of this in writing.

This is a necessary first step because if you can establish this beyond don't then you could be liable to an increased award in the courts

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Thanks for your replies. Yes, I did ask all three of the TDSs - deposit protection Service, My Deposit, and Tenancy Deposit Scheme - I believe they are the only ones, but I did it over the phone. I will do it again and ask for it in writing this time, the email I used at the time is no longer in use.
 

Thanks

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Yes you need to start putting together solid evidence in writing before you can begin the next step

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you.

Just to flag up that this is outside of my experience.

However, looking on the Internet it seems that there are pretty stringent penalties against landlords who failed to lodge deposits in one of the schemes.

I will try to find some useful links and post them up here. Maybe you could do the same.

As I can see, bringing an action against your landlord on this basis will be very cheap and on the basis of what you say, your chances of success are much better than 95%.

Do you have an address for your landlord? In other words does your landlord have assets which you can proceed against when you get judgement in your favour?

You say that a new front door was fitted and the money was taken out of your deposit – I would this be? Your landlord is not entitled to have the property back in the condition it was when he rented it out. He has to accept fair wear and tear.
It would be quite exceptional if you had to foot the bill for a new front door. You would have had to have damaged it substantially first of all.

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WWW.GOV.UK

Tenant's guide to deposit protection schemes - your deposit, information landlords must provide, disputes and advice
WWW.GOV.UK

Tenant's guide to deposit protection schemes - your deposit, information landlords must provide, disputes and advice

 

One question – very important – was your tenancy an assured short hold tenancy? Starting after April 2007

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I'm also curious to know about the landlord.

At one point you talk about ownership by two brothers and separately as if you are talking about a completely separate person, you talk about the landlord.

Can you tell us exactly what the arrangement is. Who plays what role in this

And by the way, we will be asking you to give us the name of the landlord. This shouldn't worry you and in fact it will be used to make sure that the landlord knows that his behaviour is going to be attracting interest on the Internet.
This can only be a good thing. It will be helpful to you because it will put additional pressure. We hope that you will be able to resolve this without taking the court action

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Hi

Have you also contact the Local Council Private Renting Dept for the area that the property was and simply asked them if that Landlord is registered with them as this is now a legal requirement in the majority of the UK now that all Private Landlords renting properties are required to be registered with the relevant Local Council.

 

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