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Question Regarding 'Managing Agent' witholding deposit


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Hi All,

 

Can anyone advise me of the appropriate course of action for the happenstance detailed below.

 

About eighteen months ago my partner and I privately rented a property through a letting/managing agent (KFH). Due to various issues surrounding the maintenance of the property, the property owner (JC) decided to terminate his arrangement with the managing agent.

 

We have a good relationship with the property owner, and so it was decided that we would handle the maintenance and management of the property between ourselves. We have had a new version of the lease drawn up with mutually beneficial T & C's.

 

The crux of our problem is that we are having difficulty in getting KFH to release the deposit to JC. They recently even had the audacity to send a curt email 'we're not releasing your money as there is new legislation' (referring to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme which came into force in April '07).

 

The salient points here (in my opinion) -

 

a) Because original lease predates the launch of the scheme , it is not applicable.

 

b) KFH have acted inappropriately by misrepresenting the scheme to us as tenants.

 

c) The original lease became invalid, as soon as JC terminated his arrangement with KFC (March 31st).

 

d) KFH have no claim over deposit after the termination date with the property owner. (It's basically our money, and we have no quarrel with JC, in fact we only want to have JC hold the deposit to keep things above board.)

 

 

... that about sums it up.

 

Please can anyone offer any guidance as to what legislation I can throw back at KFH to ensure that they release our funds to JC in a timely manner.

 

All comments / feedback are very welcome.

Keep on fighting the good fight.

 

Thanks in advance

Simon

Struggling_Simon vs Cabot - WON

Struggling_Simon vs Abbey - WON

Struggling_Simon vs HBOS - Pending

--------------------------------------------

IF I HAVE HELPED PLEASE CLICK MY SCALES

 

Vigilantibus non dormientibus æquitas subvenit

Somper in excretia,som solem profundus variat.

 

 

 

Opinions given herein are made informally by myself as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

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Surely the property owner, who had the original contract with the management company, is responsible for getting your deposit money transferred over correctly?

 

Nice a tenant as you are, it doesn't sound like something to involve yourself in to be honest.

 

The agency took YOUR deposit on behalf of the landlord, so any argument about where the money is and who is now responsible for it is surely between them...

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You are correct is saying that the agent cannot rely on the new legislation to withold the deposit from the landlord, but he could always call his bluff and ask the agent to refer the matter to the arbitration service!!

 

In my opinion, your landlord needs to look carefully at his contract with the agent and check if there are any clauses in there with regards to terminating his contract whilst the tenant is still in occupation - as the agent is now losing his 'cut' of the rental income, there may be a clawback of some sort ( similar to when you take on agency staff - you have to pay the agency a fee if you employ them within a given time after they have introduced them to them, whether or not they have brokered the deal!).

 

If there is no such clause, your landlord needs to send a 'letter before action' to the agent, asking for the return of the deposit or detailed reasons for refusal including a breakdown of any monies witheld - there are plenty of good guides suggesed on this site as to how to go about this and he should check these carefully before progressing. If the agent does not return the money, then his only recourse is to make a claim in the small claim court. He could also find out if the agent is registered with any professional body and threaten to refer the matter to them with copies of the emails you mentioned ;)

 

in any event as you have handed your deposit to an agent, you landlord should still refund this to you at the end of the tenancy, irrespective of whether he has been able to recover this from his agent, providing there is no damage of course.

 

You say in your email that you have agreed to the maintenence and management between yourselves, this concerns me somewhat as there are some obligations that the landlord cannot evade even by agreement.

 

BTW any opinions expressed in these posting are my personal opinions and should not be depended upon without first seeking independant advice froma suitably qualified person

  • Haha 1

:!: please note that any opinions that I post in these forums are purely my own. Seek indepenedent legal advice before taking action. I accept no liability whatsoever for any 'advice' posted :!:

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Pengirl, thanks for the advice.

 

I just used the lines 'refer them to the arbitration service' and 'contact the local councils private letting officer' (seen in other threads here) in a telephone call this morning, LO and BEHOLD I was transferred to the managing agents accounts department who have now authorised the release of funds as requested.

 

The property owner has confirmed that the full amount has been transferred into the nominated account set up for the purpose.

 

I guess it's only a small victory, but our rights are our rights and must be vehemently defended. :-)

 

I'd still like to 'punish' the agent for trying it on so cynically, but don't know if it's my right or even if the lesson would be learned.

-----

On the other point you made, we have been careful, the property owner has utilised a template we found on the ARLA website as a basis for the new lease. We're both happy with the clauses therein, but both sides have added a few clauses of our own and had them translated into 'legalese'.

 

eg. We have a large communal garden to the rear , and any time/effort that we (as tennants) put in to it's maintenance/development will be paid for by the property owner. £6 an hour for something that we love to do, is fair and equitable. We get a bit of exercise to boot. Blooming marvellous (if you'll pardon the pun).

 

I beleive that in the former lease it was a duty without reward.

 

The property owner has also indicated that the 15% extra that he would have had to pay to the managing agent will be spent on improving the property (ultimately that's to his benefit, of course) but that he wants us to have input as to where/what to spend it on.

 

Everyone's a winner, except the shady agent who lost their cut of the revenue. :lol: Quite right too.

Struggling_Simon vs Cabot - WON

Struggling_Simon vs Abbey - WON

Struggling_Simon vs HBOS - Pending

--------------------------------------------

IF I HAVE HELPED PLEASE CLICK MY SCALES

 

Vigilantibus non dormientibus æquitas subvenit

Somper in excretia,som solem profundus variat.

 

 

 

Opinions given herein are made informally by myself as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

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