Tenant deposit claim – is this an alternative to court proceedings?

Solicitor?Here is a question to the blog clinic from Mike who is a tenant:

Problem : Tenancy deposit paid in January 2012, we move out of the property next week. We have since found out that the deposit has not been registered and no prescribed information received.

We have asked LL for deposit to be returned subject to section 214 of housing act 2004 and Localism Act 2011. LL declined request and deposited money yesterday just 5 days before we move out.

Question. Am I able to legally secure and clean the property and upon vacating return hand the keys to a solicitor who will return keys to the LL upon production of our deposit.

That is an interesting suggestion.  The ‘proper’ routes for a tenant to take where his deposit has not been returned is to either claim it via the tenancy deposit scheme adjudication service or to bring a claim in the County Court.

If the landlord is in breach of the tenancy deposit regulations, court proceedings are more suitable as then you can also claim the penalty (and the Judge might order more than the minimum penalty in this case as the protection was so late).

You are suggesting an alternative solution of withholding the keys until the money is paid.  As this is a ‘self help’ solution, not sanctioned by the regulations you run the danger of being held responsible for the rent as vacant possession will not have been given up.

I also doubt whether you would find a firm of solicitors willing to act.

What do readers think?

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8 Responses to Tenant deposit claim – is this an alternative to court proceedings?

  1. I think that as long as it is established that the tenancy has ended and that the tenant has vacated (seems simple enough in the proposed scenario) the landlord can also just change the locks and charge the tenant for the cost of doing so.

  2. When Michael says the money has been ‘deposited’ 5 days before he moves out, it implies it has been paid into the custodial deposit protection scheme? If so he may want to check with DPS because as I understand it, DPS would pay the agreed amount directly to him at the end of the tenancy once both sides agree who receives how much.

    If it has been protected – whichever scheme – and you do not receive the deposit back you can pursue it through the adjudication procedure after the tenancy has ended. However to pursue the landlord for failure to protect the deposit and serve prescribed information within 30 days, and claim the full deposit plus x3, you will of course need to go through the courts.

    In respect of asking the solicitor to hold the keys – that’s something I will leave to the legal experts!

  3. I must be missing a trick here as the answers all seem fairly simple and straightforward to me.

    The Landlord has clearly committed the offence and so is guilty and post Localism Act has no defence other than prostrating himself in Court and asking for maximum leniency and minimum penalty to be applied.

    Everything else is a red herring. As you have the LL so far on the back foot that he is actually standing behind the stumps I would do nothing at all to prejudice yur position, attend for a normal check-out, return the keys and if the LL is dopey enough to actually seek any deductions from a deposit he has failed to correctly protect then pursue him for all you can get.

    As I say seems blindingly obvious to me so I must be missing a trick. I wouldn’t withhold keys do nothing thast gives the LL any comfort and ability to counterclaim against you

  4. Cricky there are a lot of ‘grey’ areas when it comes to being a landlord BUT Protecting thd deposit is one of the fundamental rules – you just have to do it. But I hear again and again that even now (after all these years) LL just aren’t. Makes you wonder what else he/she isn’t doing!!!!

  5. @DASH

    There are no grey areas it i all very simple. Every time you have a “protectable incident” protect or re-protect the money, even if sme money, and issue or re-issue Prescribed Information.

    New tenancies, renewals, re-lets, existing going Statutory Periodic, all protectable incidents.

    Simple as that – if you want to be 100% safe

  6. Dash was saying there are some grey areas in being a landlord but deposit protection isn’t one of them.

    In answer to the question, I don’t think you would find a solicitor to act on that basis and there is no need for it anyway.

  7. My previous landlord took unfair deductions and did not protect my deposit and months later I still had not received my £500.00, I found a company online called tenancy deposit reward services or something like that, with that I got deposit back and I got extra because it had not been protected, it took over a month but I was really pleased that I finally got my deposit back. I should have had my deposit back within 10 days if my landlord had put it in a scheme, however it took months, the way some landlords treat their tenants is unacceptable, I know their can be some bad tenants but the amount of rouge landlords from my experience outweighs it, some of them clearly abuse their power. I think the new laws have given tenants more security and more rights. The recent change about the new periodic tenancies needed to be protected is a bit confusing, does anyone have any clarification on this?

  8. Kat, you will find information about the periodic tenancy problem with deposits on this blog – just do a search on ‘superstrike’ as that is the name of the case which has caused all the problems.




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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



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