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cjayn84
02-02-2010, 13:36 PM
Hi all,

Could really do with some guidance.

I have set out the background of this scenario but the ultimate question relates to landlord non-compliance with the Tenancy Deposit Schemes. If you have expertise in this area, please bare with the lengthly narrative!

My partner and I completed our tenancy of a shorthold rental on 30 November 2009. At this point we had had no problems with our landlord. In fact they had been very helpful allowing us to extend our tenancy by a month because i was undergoing professional exams at the the time the original tenancy was due to end.

The inventory clerk on the day of the checkout stated we had cleaned and lef tthe flat in a very good condition and only highlighted some exceptionally minor issues (approx £40 worth).

However, about a week later the landlord called us and asked about some 'scratches' on the kitchen units. We agreed to return to the property to take a look. There were indeed some very fine scratches on the kitchen units, presumably caused by a piece of grit on a cloth.

The landlady had moved back in (she was no longer in a relationship with the landlord) and this issue was being raised post inventory checkout. I now realise that i should have denied all knowledge of these scratches but being of high moral integrity i felt that it was likely we caused the damaged and therefore agreed to consider contributing to the costs.

A second inventory took place with the clerk noting that the tennant should only pay part of the cost for repairs due to the minimal nature of the damage.

I received a quote for £200 to polish the doors and hence offered £100 (50% costs) plus the contractually agreed inventory cost of £87.75.

The landlords went quiet and when i persued them they told me the cost of repairing the damage was now £425 (polishing the doors may damage them further so replacing the doors was now the best option - alledgedly) After some dispute we agreed a settlement of £287.75 all inclusive. I only agreed to this amount in order to get the matter resolved quickly - i still dont believe the 'damage' warranted this financial outlay on our part.

Since then there has been no correspondence. I wanted to get the ball rolling so tried to find out where our deposit was held so i could begin the release procedures. I contacted all 3 of the government backed schemes and none them had received the £1,015.00 deposit.

I understand that this is illegal and that the maximum penalty is 3x our deposit (£3,045). I would like to know what chance i have of winning a county court case against our landlord.

My intention is not profiteering. I began this process, naively thinking i could be a 'sound' tennant and keep the relationship friendly. Our landlords have made this so difficult that I now feel i have little option but to take them to court.

Anyone's informed opinion would be most welcome - thanks for persevering in reading this!

Chris

Paul Gibbs
02-02-2010, 15:34 PM
It sounds as though you have a claim. It is a part 8 claim and will be allocated to the multi-track. This means that the general rule is that you will recover your legal costs if you are successful.

I would suggest you appoint a solicitor to bring your claim, you might even be offered a Conditional fee Agreement (no win no fee).

cjayn84
02-02-2010, 17:44 PM
Many thanks for that

My concern is that yesterday we phoned all three of the deposit schemes to ascertain if our deposit was registered with them. It wasn't with any.

I sent an email to the landlord requesting details of which scheme they used and received a reply this morning from the landlady saying that the landlord was currently away skiing and she would need to consult him before giving us a reply.

This could be genuine or a delaying tactic because they've realised they've messed up.

What happens if we begin legal proceedings and they then register the deposit?

I've read a lot of posts on this site and others discussing the laws in relation to this and as far as i can make out there is no guarantee the judge would find in our favour.

I'm torn as part of me feels we should wait for the landlord & lady to reply to the question re which scheme they used, but seeing how we know they didn't use one of the three required schemes why wait? The delay could allow them to cover their tracks?

This whole process seems to be a minefield and i'm not sure that as a tennant i feel the legislation is really protecting my interests at all - particularly if the landlord can escape responsibility up until the very last minute. By persuing a legal claim we could be left out of pocket and with egg on our faces??!!

Many thanks

Chris

westminster
03-02-2010, 15:25 PM
There would be very little risk in pursuing a claim simply for return of the deposit only (not the 3x penalty).

Send a letter before action to LL (first class with free certificate of posting from PO, and keep a copy). Demand return of deposit and state that you will issue a claim in the county court if it is not received by [date].

Assuming no payment is made, use Money Claim Online to start your claim. As the claim will be allocated to the small claims track, you don't need to use a solicitor and court fees are low.

The deposit is your money and unless the LL can prove the deductions are valid and reasonable, you will win the claim (and your court fees will be added to the award).