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zapofrog
30-05-2007, 09:25 AM
I'm sure this has been covered many times before, but I am finding it difficult to find any relevant info, so I'd appreciate some advice here.

My former flatmate who has recently vacated the flat we used to share is still waiting for his deposit to be returned.

He vacated the premises on 8 April. In a conversation with the agent around April 5, he was told to expect the full deposit back within a couple of weeks.

This is the reply from the same agent to an email dated 24 May:

I was unaware that you have not had your deposit back and assumed that it had already been sent back to you. I have checked our account and we do not hold any funds on the account therefore your landlords must still hold the deposit. As you may be aware from 6th of April a Tenancy Deposit Scheme has been introduced whereby anyone holding tenant deposits must be a member of a scheme. Your landlord is not a part of any scheme therefore we have asked that he return all deposits to us, your deposit will obviously be a part of this. As soon as we have it, I will ensure a cheque gets sent out to you.

- I'm surprised the agent can claim to be unaware, as they have so far handled every single aspect of the tenancy for us.
- What has the new tenancy deposit scheme to do with this? It came into force 2 days before the end of the notice period and the vacating of the premises.

What is the next step for my friend? He really needs this money and is incurring bank charges.

Tenancy details: The tenancy is an A.S.T. under section 19a amended by the Housing Act 1996."On the signing hereof the tenant shall pay to the landlord a deposit of £710.60 which he shall hold as stakeholder and will be returnable by the landlord no later than six weeks after the termination of the tenancy hereby granted."

Many thanks!
Z

Planner
30-05-2007, 09:49 AM
Common ploy, the next reply you will get will be from the LL saying the Agent has it. You will contact the agent again and they will say no...the LL still has it. Its the LL responsibility to return the deposit. Write any letters as advised to him (copy the agents in as well).

Paragon
30-05-2007, 09:55 AM
(1) The landlord seems to be holding the deposit. I don't see how he can be a Stakeholder in the official sense. Best to write to him directly unless the letting agents are managing the property.
(2) Are you still resident in the property?
(3) Were you joint tenants? If so, it may be that you have to pay back the deposit to your co-tenant. Then, if and when you get a new sharer, he pays the deposit to you, not the landlord.

Anyone, feel free to correct me on this.

P.Pilcher
30-05-2007, 10:43 AM
As has been stated above, it is the usual argy bargy! The tenants deposit scheme has nothing to do with this matter as your tenancy was started before 6th. April 2007.
What should have happened is this: Assuming that your flatmate gave the agent the correct amount of notice and left as he was entitled to, then the lease became null and void. You should have received a new lease with your name only on it. You should have then topped up the deposit to the full amount and the entire deposit would then have been transferred to an appropriate tenant's deposit scheme. Your ex-flatmate should also have received his share of the deposit back. The landlord only is responsible for refunding your ex-flatmate's deposit. If he fails to respond to a written request to refund it within an appropriate time scale, then application to the small claims court should be made.
It would appear that the agent has failed to act in his duty as a stakeholder thus you may have grounds to take legal action against him as well, but you need more expert guidance on this matter than I can give.

P.P.

Paragon
30-05-2007, 11:10 AM
Pilcher
Are you sure the tenant and co-tenant didn't sign an AST together as jointly and severably liable? It wasn't clear to me from how he worded the question.
If they did, then there is no need to issue a new contract and the remaining tenant is free to find another co-tenant at which time a new contract can be issued if requested and accepted.
Maybe, I'm too dizzy from trying to interpret Jeffrey's messages.

zapofrog
30-05-2007, 11:44 AM
Hi, Thanks for your responses, all three of you.

Firstly a correction: I no longer live at the property in question, having left a while back. Forgive me, I confused the issue by saying we are former flatmates. He is the only tenant involved in this issue. I'm only helping him find appropriate advice.

As for the agents reply, we did get the impression that it was mostly irrelevant and somewhat unprofessional (This is the same agent who, in January, claimed that a whole year of rent would be payable upon us leaving despite tenancy having become periodic and no renewal contract signed. That matter was resolved after advice from this illustrious forum!)

My friend is now ready to take the next step, but wishes to know how best to proceed:
- What to include in the letter?
- What NOT to include?
- Can he claim for anything other than the deposit (ie the bank charges on overdraft incurred as a result of the delay, etc..) and can any such claim cover the entire period following the lapse of the 6 week deadline stated in the AST.
- What delay can he reasonably give before taking legal action.
- Is there an appropriate template available for such a letter?
-What question should I be asking you that I have not thought of?

As a matter of interest, he did actually find a replacement tenant who moved in and started paying rent from April 1, before my friend's own notice period ended on April 8. I believe they sorted the difference in rent between them so that is no longer an issue. However, the new tenant did pay the agent his deposit on that date. This means the landlord currently holds 2 full deposits on this property.

As for who the landlord is, my friend is not exactly sure. The property is fully managed by the agent. The tenancy was signed by the landlord but my friend says it is not legible.

So a recap to make things clear:
My friend sole tenant.
Moved out officially April 8, date agreed with agent.
Full notice given and agreed with agent.
Deposit not yet returned (AST says 6 weeks max).
Agent manages property
Full deposit refund was agreed
landlord holds deposit as stakeholder.


Thanks!
Z

Planner
30-05-2007, 13:54 PM
I dont think you can claim for bank charges and the like, what if half the deposit had been deducted? They still may have incurred bank charges. I know it says 6 weeks in the AST but i waited 6 months to get mine back (had to go to small claims). However interest at 8% per annumn can be claimed as well as the small claims cost and any reason expense (time etc) your friend will have to go to to submitt any claim.

Before a claim is submitted you must send a letter, As you dont know the LL address serve everything care of the LL at the letting agents, asking for it to be returned within 14 days. If no satisfactory reply then do a LBA (Letter Before Action) giving them a further 14 days to return the money or the N1 county court form will be submitted. At this stage you should send them a copy of the completed N1 form and the particulars of the claim to show you mean business.

Letter 1 could be;

Dear Mr Landswine

I am again writing to remind you that the XX days stipulated in the tenancy agreement for the return of the £XXX deposit has now expired, and I have received neither the £XX or a list of deductions and receipts from you of the amount you are intending to take from the deposit.

I would therefore like the return of the £XXX by Thursday 10th June 2006, or it is my intention to take the matter to the County Court.

I look forward to your response

Yours Sincerely


Mr XXXXXXX
30/05/2007

Then your LBA is;

LETTER BEFORE ACTION

Dear Mr Landswine

On the XXth April 2007, I returned XXXXAddressXXXX to you after completion of the tenancy agreement. In this tenancy agreement it was stated that you would return the deposit to me within XX days. This period has now long expired and despite the X previous letters I have written to you on the XXXDatesXXX (copies included) I have yet to receive the £XXX deposit or a list of inteneded deductions.

If I do not receive the £XXX deposit from you by Thursday 24th June 2007 then you have left me with no alternative but to pursue this amount plus costs through the County Court. I have included a copy of form N1 for your reference, which I intend to submit should I fail to receive the £XXX by the 24th June 2007 without further notification.

I look forward to the prompt return of my deposit.

Yours Sincerely

Mr XXXX
10/06/2006

johnboy
30-05-2007, 16:12 PM
did you get a reicept for the deposit and who was it paid to LA or LL IF THE reicept is from the LA and money went to LA chase the LA.

Planner
31-05-2007, 09:44 AM
did you get a reicept for the deposit and who was it paid to LA or LL IF THE reicept is from the LA and money went to LA chase the LA.

No you dont chase the LA you chase the LL. The LA might be just providing a tennant finding service and take the deposit on behalf of the LL and then pass it straight to the LL. Its the LL responsibility to return any deposit.

johnboy
31-05-2007, 15:33 PM
but if the LA passed the deposit on to the LL surely the LA would have a receipt which they could give copy of.

Planner
01-06-2007, 09:15 AM
but if the LA passed the deposit on to the LL surely the LA would have a receipt which they could give copy of.

To what end?