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View Full Version : After T leaves, within what period must L return deposit?



arsebook
11-03-2009, 16:03 PM
My former landlord is holding on to all of my deposit without good reason.

I've just been on the 'phone to check a few things with TDS and I get the impression that they are an extremely unprofessional organisation. Background noise of other people laughing in the office, very poor command of the English language by the operator, and generally not filling me with any confidence with the answers I was given.

With this in mind I was thinking of by-passing the arbitration process and proceeding straight to court action. Does anyone think the court would take a dim view on this?

jeffrey
11-03-2009, 16:05 PM
If TDS's agreement with landlords (inc. terms of business) refer all disputes to binding arbitration, you're bound too.

mind the gap
11-03-2009, 16:14 PM
If TDS's agreement with landlords (inc. terms of business) refer all disputes to binding arbitration, you're bound too.

Isn't there an upper limit (money wise) beyond which the dispute service cannot arbitrate?

arsebook
11-03-2009, 16:20 PM
Question 9 of the form states:

The Scheme provides a free Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Service to both you and your Landlord/Agent. Both parties must agree to use the service. If either party refuses to use it then, failing agreement between the parties, a court order must be obtained to resolve the dispute.

Do you wish to use the free ADR facility provided by the Scheme?

I therefore take it I can go straight to court action. What I am concerned about is if the court won't look on my claim so favourably given I've rejected the ADR.

Has anyone any opinion on the best route to take?

arsebook
11-03-2009, 16:28 PM
Isn't there an upper limit (money wise) beyond which the dispute service cannot arbitrate?

In this case the dispute is just under £2k.

It would seem to undermine one of the major points of deposit protection, if the organisations involved don't have the required authority to deal with the disputes.

sherifffatman
11-03-2009, 17:03 PM
The upper limit that can be arbitrated is the full amount of the deposit registered & protected.
If the LL wishes to claim for over this amount for damages/arrears they must go to court.
Likewise any tenant wishing to claim the 3x compo also has to go to court.
The arbitration system is flawed but as you are a tenant it is likely that it will go in your favour, no matter how disorganised you believe the DPS to be.
See other posts on here re ADR awards and the deposit companies' grasp of lettings law & practice

Marco
20-03-2009, 17:59 PM
Hi everyone

I have left the flat I was renting more than 3 months ago and I still haven't received my deposit back. The deposit is protected by the TDS and the letting agent is acting as a stakeholder. I have received absolutely no communication about my deposit besides a copy of the inventory checkout.

After several phone calls with the agent, I have been told that the LL still has to provide a schedule of costs for the things he wants to deduct from my deposit. I find it completely ridicolous that I have not received my deposit back after so much time and I plan to refuse any deductions.

Is there a limit of time to how long it can take for the LL to inform me of any deductions? I seem to recall that the contract specified 10 working days from the end of the tenancy...

Belron
23-03-2009, 13:14 PM
My tenant of 3 years has just vacated my property and the conditions of the Deposit Compensation scheme do not apply as they weren't ongoing when her tenancy started. I have not as yet returned her deposit due to problems regarding the condition of a new cooker which I installed 18 months ago. Apparently she had burnt it and to conceal this to me, she has painted all over the facia panel, covering up all instructions etc and clogging up knobs. I have purchased new parts, but discovered that her 'cover-up' is too bad to remedy. My next step is to tell her that I shall be deducting the price of the cooker from her deposit and would be glad of help in wording the letter. Do I have to get any corroboration of the cooker condition, if so where does this come from. I should be glad to get some assistance in this matter please

mind the gap
23-03-2009, 13:21 PM
My tenant of 3 years has just vacated my property and the conditions of the Deposit Compensation scheme do not apply as they weren't ongoing when her tenancy started. I have not as yet returned her deposit due to problems regarding the condition of a new cooker which I installed 18 months ago. Apparently she had burnt it and to conceal this to me, she has painted all over the facia panel, covering up all instructions etc and clogging up knobs. I have purchased new parts, but discovered that her 'cover-up' is too bad to remedy. My next step is to tell her that I shall be deducting the price of the cooker from her deposit and would be glad of help in wording the letter. Do I have to get any corroboration of the cooker condition, if so where does this come from. I should be glad to get some assistance in this matter please

Er...how about:

Dear T,

The new cooker installed in the property on (x date) is now unusable because you have painted over the burn mark you caused on the fascia panel, clogging up the knobs and obscuring the instructions. The cooker will cost £x to replace; I am deducting 10% for wear and tear on the assumption the cooker would have lasted ten years and I am therefore deducting £ 90%x from your tenancy deposit of £y. I enclose a cheque for the balance of £z.

Yours faithfully, etc.

LL


The receipt for the cooker to prove when you bought it new and some photographs of the damage would be worth having at hnad in case she disputes your claim.

Blimey, that was an easy one.

Or am I missing something here?

grinning_soul
23-03-2009, 14:13 PM
I am in the same position and was also hoping for advice! My LL has failed to reply to my letters regarding the Inventory (performed by an external agency).
I've contacted the TDS asking them about the 10 day window they state that the LL has to contact you within but they just said "If you feel that there maybe the need to raise a dispute please fill in the TDS 2 form which can be found on our web site under the header "documents and forms"". The landlord has given me nothing to dispute I just want my deposit back! It feels like the 10 day limit is pointless :mad:

Poppy
23-03-2009, 14:24 PM
Suggest that you write to the landlord, asking for the full deposit back within seven days or you will take further action.

That action can either be to raise a dispute with the deposit scheme or start a Money Claim Online (https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/csmco2/index.jsp) to recover money owed.

JonaFoth
26-03-2009, 09:31 AM
Hello,

I have had problems with the return of a deposit from a flat I ceased to rent, with a friend, in December 2008. I had been in the property with a previous flatmate, and when they left, found a new one. A new tenancy was drawn up, signed in May 2007, but back dated to Feb 2007, which was when my new flat mate moved in. The deposit was taken in Feb 2007. It does state in the wording of the contract that the deposit would be placed in a deposit protection scheme, etc.

The first assured shorthold tenancy expired in Feb 2008. It rolled over, but was renewed by a letter of May 2008 in which the landlord wished to up the rent by £50 a week, but keep the rest of the lease 'as originally drafted'. We both signed this. When we gave notice, the Landlord insisted on two month notice, on the premise we were under a new assured shorthold tenany, commencing in May 2008.

The deposit has not been returned. Huge deductions are being claimed, in spite of being sent a letter saying what good tenants we had been. The Landlord is claiming my flatmate is a substitution under the first tenancy agreement, when I found a new flat mate. However, a new tenancy with different wording was issued when he moved in.

I issued a claim on the web, using the moneyclaim website. The landlord defended it, and now it has gone to a local county court. They are also saying it should not go through the small claims track (the penalty takes it over £5k) and are asking £10k costs!!

I have filed my allocation questionnaire with the county court, and asked that arbitration be made available, as this would have been had the landlord done what they should have done with the deposit under the terms of the tenancy agreement.

Is there anything I can do to keep the expense down in this matter? Does the letter keeping the lease as originally drafted but increasing the rent constitute a new assured shorthold tenancy?

Help!!

tre101
08-04-2009, 12:08 PM
Hi,

Myself and my partner have just moved out of a property.

The managing agents have just sent us the check-out report saying they will withhold about 1/3 of our deposit for a few issues. The issues listed in this were all issues that existed when we moved in. In fact the apartment is in far, far better condition now than when we moved in. they have provided no reasoning behind these charges either.

The inventory was just a very simple list of items that we signed and agreed to. There was no mention of condition etc. We did query this when moving in as it seemed somewhat amateur. But they insisted it was adequate. So we took photographs of everything ourselves as a back up.

I have politely explained my position on this to them and asked them to re-evaluate the deposit issue or I will have no choice but query it with the tenancy deposit scheme. I also asked for details of this which they have never provided to us. (The contract was only signed last year so falls in the time frame)

I have a feeling at this point that the deposit was never protected. There is no mention of it in my contract and they seem very slow getting back to me.

If this is in fact the case, I was wondering what rights I have. As I am now technically no longer a tenant, would I still be able to make a small claim? Or is this something it was my responsibility to do whilst I was still a tenant?

I really just want my deposit back in full as would be fair, I am not chasing the 3x compensation thing for the sake of it. But if these guys insist on taking the Mickey I would like to know how to defend my rights.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Poppy
08-04-2009, 12:27 PM
You should have queried the deposit protection while still a tenant. If your landlord is sensible he will protect the money now, albeit late, and prevent you claiming 3x deposit.

Find out what they think is the problem and try to resolve it. If you do not agree the deductions and/or they do not return your deposit within a reasonable period, you will need to get the matter resolved either through the deposit arbitration service or the courts.

mind the gap
08-04-2009, 12:30 PM
You should have queried the deposit protection while still a tenant. If your landlord is sensible he will protect the money now, albeit late, and prevent you claiming 3x deposit.


I thought I read somewhere that LL can no longer protect after tenancy has ended, since there is no longer a tenancy to which the deposit relates, in other words, none of the schemes will accept the money for a tenancy which no longer exists. T may still sue for the 3x if LL has kept the deposit.

mind the gap
08-04-2009, 12:53 PM
Sorry if I've boobed!

No, I might have got that wrong (although there is a kind of logic to the idea, I suppose).

Either way it sounds as it OP is going to have to put some pressure on LL even to get her original deposit, so she may as well go for the 3x in the first instance. I suspect that a court would not be too impressed by LL scurrying off to protect after tenancy has ended and may well award the penalty anyway.

Some judges are starting to award it for late protection even within the tenancy period, it seems.

tre101
08-04-2009, 13:21 PM
Thanks for the replies.

I did suspect it might be more complicated now I have left. But it would be a very strange system that allows a deposit to be protected after the contract had expired. But then again these systems often are just that.

I will look into it a bit more. I am still holding out hope that they were just trying it on and after seeing that I have at least a little knowledge about my rights, they will just give it up as a bad idea.

awt19
08-04-2009, 13:43 PM
Thanks for the replies.

I did suspect it might be more complicated now I have left. But it would be a very strange system that allows a deposit to be protected after the contract had expired. But then again these systems often are just that.

I will look into it a bit more. I am still holding out hope that they were just trying it on and after seeing that I have at least a little knowledge about my rights, they will just give it up as a bad idea.

Sounds like you have every right to chase the 3x deposit. Have you checked with the 3 TDS's to check your money isnt held with them? Its a simple call and they will tell you over the phone.

In regards to the inventory, my understanding is that the specific items that money is being deducted for arent listed in the original inventory, then the money cant be deducted.

I also think that if the money is not protected, then the claim for non compliance is an absolute claim, and that the just must rule if the deposit hasnt been protected, that the full deposit must be returned.

The deposit is your money, and the LL is unable to arbitrarilly take your money from you for reasons that he see's fit.

I recommend the following:

1) Check to see if the money has been protected
2) IF so, go through the relevant arbitration service
3) If not, then send a LBA stating that the LL / LA have failed to meet their statutory obligations under the Housing Act 2004, and thus should the full deposit not be returned within 7 days, you will begin legal proceedings and thus claim the penalty of 3x for non-compliance.

But then I'm not a lawyer, so what would I know. :-)

Cynic
17-04-2009, 15:07 PM
Hello chaps and chapesses, apologies if you recognise this as I'm cross-posting it in all the most reliable places to garner the best advice possible :D.

I took on a tenancy on the 7th February 2008, paying the first month's rent and deposit in cash to the letting agent. I received no receipt for this (not unusual to me, I had been out of the renting game for a long time and had never had a receipt before so did not expect one). The letting agent went bust in July/August. The new agency that took over the tenancy were adamant that the landlady was a "lovely lady who was going to pay my deposit back out of her own bank account". The deposit was never protected, and I have written confirmation from all three schemes.

I moved out of the property on the 7th March 2009. The letting agent asked for final bills, which I sent, they then returned them saying that they were not final enough etc. A lengthy farce ensued, culminating in me getting utterly fed up of their delaying tactics and sending off the recommended letter before action found on the Shelter website (after sending a polite general "please give me back my deposit as you said you would" letter and receiving the response that they did not hold my deposit >_>). I have completed court form N208 using the recommended wording found on several sites, and had full intent to submit it even though I was hoping it would not come to that (as I would have to borrow yet more money for the court fees).

I sent the LBA on the 8th of April, and was going to give 7 working days for return of my deposit owing to the bank holiday. I asked for £900 to be returned to me (considering the non-compliance, delay and inconvenience, not to mention financial difficulty that this has and indeed continues to cause me), but did not explicitly state that this was a sum acceptable in settlement to prevent court action. Perhaps that would have been advisable.

However I today received a letter from a solicitor on the landlady's behalf:

"Dear Cynic,

I have been consulted by Mrs. Landlady in relation to your letter of the 7th April 2009.

I was initially approached by Mrs. Landlady in September 2008. It transpired that your rental payments made to Bust Letting Agent had not been passed on to Mrs. Landlady therefore Mrs. Landlady was left in a situation where she did not recover any rent for a 3 month period. I did make enquiries of Bust Letting Agent in an attempt to recover these outstanding monies. Unfortunately my attempt was not successful and I understand that Bust Letting Agent is no longer trading and at that time the company seemed to be in serious financial difficulty.

Having received your letter of the 7th April 2009 I am now aware of the predicament in which you find yourself in relation to the deposit you paid to Bust Letting Agent. Mrs. Landlady would like to assist as best she can in relation to this and I therefore kindly request certain further information from you so that I can ascertain whether or not your deposit was protected as it should have been by the Agents.

In the circumstances I would be grateful if you could please let me have a copy of your deposit receipt and any contract you have with Bust Letting Agent. As you will appreciate the deposit was not passed to Mrs. Landlady. Mrs. Landlady's understanding however is that the deposit should have been in the sum of £450 i.e. one months (sic) rent. Bust Letting Agent thereafter should have deposited the deposit in accordance with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 14 days and should have contacted you with certain specific information including the contact details for the TDA they had used...

...I request at this stage that pending these further investigations that commencement of any Court action is put on hold. In this respect I reserve the right to produce a copy of this letter to the Court should premature proceedings be issued."


So, knowledgeable people of the LLZ, where on earth do I go from here? I can't see why this solicitor needs any of the above other than as a delaying tactic, as everyone seems determined not to take responsibility for returning my money.
If I were to submit N208 to the court, would this letter have any bearing? Do I need to provide my tenancy agreement etc to this solicitor who apparently didn't even chase to get money back for Mrs. Landlady from Bust Letting Agent? Surely it is obvious that the deposit has not been protected, and the onus should not be on me to provide proof of this.

I am concerned that with the way things are going I am going to get a letter telling me that my deposit has magically been protected, and regardless of it being after the tenancy has ended the law seems to want to pat ignorant people on the head for such revisionism.

Apologies for length!

Poppy35
17-04-2009, 19:08 PM
oh dear, poor you!

It really does not matter whether you have a receipt or not, what matters is that you have a signed tenancy agreement by the landlord or the bust agent which confirms you paid over a deposit. They would not of signed the contract and given you the keys if you had not of paid.

I would copy this to the solicitor stating that this is all the evidence needed. The only place the agent would of protected the deposit is with the TDS or DPS - doubt they would of used the other scheme. Do you have verbal or written confirmation that its not protected? Try and get something in writing and also send this into the solicitors.

I do understand your frustration. Im an agent and we acquired the portfolio of a large LA who went bust and no deposits were protected or found. To this day I am still writing letters to my clients when their tenants leave to inform them they are liable - to date not one has refused to pay it back - yes they moan about it - but they pay it back as its the law!

Good luck and hope you get some success soon.

maddie
29-04-2009, 17:04 PM
I have heard different things, but one says that you can send it after a couple of days once I have chance to clean, check and get the property sorted. Is this true? Any advice would be most welcome, thanks in advance.

mind the gap
29-04-2009, 17:23 PM
I have heard different things, but one says that you can send it after a couple of days once I have chance to clean, check and get the property sorted. Is this true? Any advice would be most welcome, thanks in advance.

There is no obligation to return it on the day they move out, although if they have been a good tenant and there are no disputes over deductions for cleaning/damage, then it is good practice to return it within ten days.

If the deposit is in a scheme, and you dispute its return, either in part or in full, then you need to inform the deposit protection scheme within ten days (I think) so they can kick-start the arbitration process.

davidjpowell
29-04-2009, 17:49 PM
although why you should wait ten days is beyond me, after all if the tenant owes landlord money it tends to get noticed long before 10 days.

jamo
01-05-2009, 13:21 PM
hi all,
tenant is leaving, how long do i have to return the deposit?

thanks for your help.

jeffrey
01-05-2009, 13:25 PM
tenant is leaving, how long do i have to return the deposit?
1. Are you L or Agent?
2. Is T leaving:
a. before fixed term ends;
b. at precise end of fixed term; or
c. after fixed term ended and turned into a periodic tenancy?
3. Is rent clear up-to-date?

jamo
01-05-2009, 13:28 PM
hi sorry i'm the landlord and TA ends on 2 may, but tenant will be staying a further 2weeks, after i have checked the property, what time scale is needed to return the deposit?

Ira
03-06-2011, 10:29 AM
Hi all,

Did anyone ever answer this? Is it 10 days after the tenant leaves?

We left 19th May, received the inventory checkout on the 24th (in which it noted the house was in better condition than when we took it). Agents say they cannot do anything until LL returns her form. Deposit with mydeposits - at what point do I contact them?