A letting agent has been found to have blatantly broken the law by refusing to hand back a holding deposit.
Dharma Chetan Raniga, who is a director of DCR Assets Ltd, conducted a viewing of 89B Ainsdale Road in Leicester with prospective tenant Hannah Tribble on 13th April, who paid a holding deposit. The firm faces being struck off by companies house after falling behind in its paperwork.
Tribble was told on 26th April that the landlord was giving the house to someone else, but despite asking for the deposit back multiple times, it was not returned.
A First Tier Property Tribunal heard that Raniga had not engaged with the hearing and a judge said he was satisfied, “on the balance of probabilities, on the basis of the evidence provided by the applicant with her application, that a holding deposit of £300 was paid on 13th April to a business with the trading name DCR Assets, which is a letting agent in respect of a possible letting of 89B Ainsdale Rd (pictured) and that by at least 26th April, the landlord had decided not to let the house to the applicant”.
Under the Tenants Fees Act 2019, a letting agent can require a prospective tenant to pay a holding deposit, if it is dealt with in accordance with Schedule 2 of the Act which requires it to be repaid within seven days of a decision by the landlord not to enter into a tenancy agreement.
The judge added: “The act is clear that the person responsible for repaying the deposit is the person who received it. There is no evidence before the tribunal that the deposit has been repaid.”
It ordered Raniga to pay £300 to Ms Tribble within 14 days.