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What rights does tenant have to claim this deposit back?

housesHere is a question to the blog clinic from Carol who is a tenant

We moved in to our property in February 2010 – private rental agreement.

£600 deposit was taken.

No inventory.

The house was found via an agent but contract etc completed directly with the landlord.

We vacated our rented property on Friday 24th February 2012. We expected a full inspection when we handed back the keys but were told this was not necessary as a letting agent would be in on the following Tuesday and they would be in touch regarding the return of our deposit.

I said at the time that the deposit was held with the landlord – but was reassured otherwise.

Upon checking paperwork, I found a letter from the letting agency confirming the Landlord had the deposit and was responsible for placing in a protection scheme – this never happened.

A month on, I have been texting the landlord’s property manager (this house was on a big private estate) requesting an update and he has just replied saying he will be in touch when they’ve repainting and doing other jobs in the house. He also said we should have repainted and had the carpets cleaned prior to leaving – however this wasn’t in our contract. (we also know from our neighbours that they were planning on doing the property up once we’d left anyway)

Where do I stand regarding taking our landlord to court due to his non-compliance of putting our deposit in a protection scheme? Also, do I have any chance of getting my deposit back?

Landlords like this are going to have a big shock when the new regulations come into force.  However unfortunately you have moved out too early to take advantage of them.

If you want your deposit back you will need to bring a court action in the Small Claims court (you can use the Money Claim Online service).  However if there was no inventory I think you have a very good chance indeed in getting your deposit back.

Although sadly you will not be able to claim the penalty payment due to the decision in the Gladehurst v.Hashemi case.   So far as I am aware the new rules will not affect people who moved out before they came into force.

Write to your landlord first telling him that unless your deposit is paid in full within seven days you will be issuing legal proceedings for its recovery forthwith and without further reference to him.  He may well see the error of his ways and pay up to avoid court proceedings.

Buffer

Important note. If you are reading an old post, remember that the law may have changed since it was written.




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3 Responses to What rights does tenant have to claim this deposit back?

  1. Tessa I’m not so sure about the LA2011 provisions not applying to tenants who have already moved out. If the action is brought more than 30 days after 6th April I see no reason why they should not succeed in obtaining the penalty.

    Two reasons for saying this.

    First the LA 2011 is clearly designed to close all the previous loopholes. Doesn’t seem to make any logical sense to me that just because someone moved out (and the tenancy had ended) on 5th April they could not bring an action while someone with a tenancy ending 6th or after could.

    Second all the comment has been about the previous cases being “swept away” and “no longer having any application”.

    If that is true then surely this tenant must be able to bring a penalty claim action. Though not until May 6th as otherwise the Landlord could still escape under the new rules (presumably) by just repaying the deposit to her.

    Or could he?!!!

    One other issue I’d suggest – until any wrangle over the deposit is concluded I’d suggest the parties still have a relationship and thus again the tenant could bring an action.

  2. This sort of behaviour by a landlord makes me so angry, expecting the tenant to pay for refurbishment whilst not even bothering to take an inventory to be able to prove any defects once the tenant has vacated. In my opinion inventories are expensive and, if you do them yourself, ALOT of work to get right, but at the end of the day you have to justify to a tenant any deductions made. The deposit is not the landlords money at all, the landlord is only holding it IN CASE of any charges at the end of the tenancy, not as a lump sum in order to redecorate at the end of it!

    Shocking.

  3. Many readers would be surprised how common the above scenario is. I get endless queries like this every week.

    The cause always seems to be one of two things a)Landlords just being incredibly slack and amateur in how they run things, or b)Landlords intent from the off in not returning the deposit on spurious and often artificial grounds.

    Like Industry Observer says above I am doubtful that Hashemi/Gladehurst will apply after 6th May Tessa, the whole point of this addition to the Localism Act was to tighten up and get rid of those earlier decisions.




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About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. She runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 12th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google



The Landlord Law Blog from Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


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