View Full Version : Help! Landlord's agent gone bust -with our deposit
22-11-2005, 13:19 PM
This is the first time I've posted a query and I'd really appreciate some help. We recently moved out of a rented flat, having been tenants for about two and a half years. It was an assured shorthold tenancy and we gave proper notice to our landlord's agents. We expected the return of our deposit when we moved out (we were bang up to date with the rent and I believe we left the place in a good condition) - but a week before we left we discovered that the agent's offices had simply closed down, with no forwarding details. Most websites say we should simply sue the landlord for the return of the deposit but the tenancy agreement states that the landlord's agent held the deposit as 'stakeholder' and I don't really know what that means in a situation like this. Our landlord says he's not liable to return the deposit to us. I have a registered office address for the letting company, the name of its sole director and the home address for our landlord and our tenancy agreement gave as an 'address for service' the address of the now closed down agent's office. We have lost well over a thousand pounds, and could really do with the money but I'm worried about going to court as this doesn't seem straightforward, and I've no idea how to track down the agent.
22-11-2005, 13:55 PM
Your contract is with the LandLord, you should sue him. The LandLord has a contract with the agent, he should sue the agent.
22-11-2005, 14:54 PM
:confused: We were under the impression that the stakeholder meant he was a trustee for both tenant & landlord - and not just an agent for the landlord. Have I go this wrong? Landlord says I must sue the agent myself rather than him.
22-11-2005, 15:29 PM
"Even if the deposit is held as stakeholder this doesn't absolve the agent from taking care of the money as it still belongs to the tenant, and he is still acting on behalf of the landlord. There is absolutely no legal entity between agent and tenant, only agent and landlord so the landlord is still likely to be responsible for it's repayment if the agent has absconded."
As posted by Paul_F
Did the agent belong to any of the regulatory bodies.
You say that they have closed down, but this may not mean that your money is gone. If the agent has a client account you should still be able to claim against that account as the money is righfully yours.
You are also right about the stakeholder issue. However, I suggest that you pursue an action against the Landlord as you will probably win.
22-11-2005, 19:48 PM
:( The landlord's agent wasn't a member of anything, and it sounds like the stakeholder point could be important. Is it OK to name the landlord company, and director? Maybe others (landlords as well as tenants) have had a similar problem?? It doesn't seem fair that I should pursue a landlord when really its his agent that's most likely had the money (so why isn't that theft); and I'm not sure a court wouldn't see it that way, too. Our landlord has had legal advice and says he's seen a barrister.What chance have we got?
22-11-2005, 21:12 PM
It doesn't seem fair that I should pursue a landlord when really its his agent that's most likely had the money (so why isn't that theft); and I'm not sure a court wouldn't see it that way, too. Our landlord has had legal advice and says he's seen a barrister.What chance have we got?
Its also not fair that you have lost your deposit because the LL didnt use a regulated agent. Its not theft if the company has gone bust, thats business and there are clear guidelines when winding up a company, I afraid creditors come a long way down the list when handing out the cash, the TAX man comes at the Top! Dont be scared off by your landlords Barrister, Ive seens loads of posts on here where "Im a solicitor" or "My Mates a barrister" is used to scare off people from court action. You have a right to your deposit, you have a much better chance of getting it by going after the LandLord, so do it! Its upto him to go after the agent to try a mitigate his losses.
22-11-2005, 23:21 PM
You sue the landlord, win. The LL can then sue the agent if he/she wishes. Although obviously in this case there appears to be little point of him doing so!
22-11-2005, 23:47 PM
Suzanne all the above posters are giving you the correct advice pursue the landlord for the money. It may not even get to court. It may only cost you the price of a solicitors letter or one yourself strongly worded using the information gained here.
The landlord is feeding you a line. Try a letter first, give him 7 days in the letter to return your deposit, mention you have taken legal advice. If he doesn't return it then use moneyclaim or go to see a solicitor/ local lawcentre(free service) or housing advice centre.
Good luck :)
23-11-2005, 16:35 PM
Thanks to everyone who took the trouble to reply. We'll try a letter to our landlord and maybe see if we can get some advice on this 'stakeholder' thing.
Meanwhile, if anyone else knows any more about this - please let me know.
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