Here is a question to the blog clinic from James who is a landlord:
My tenant vacated the property 3 days prior to her official end of contract, she did so because she had caused so much damage to the property and wanted to escape the letting agent final check.
The cost to repair the damage was in excess of £3000.00, my letting agent filed a claim with the DPS but the tenant refused to agree on using the DPS to adjudicate the claim, I have been told by my Agent that as she refuses to agree to use this service there is nothing that can be done and I can’t obtain the deposit .
We have no forwarding address since she fled and so I can’t mount a small claims court action, I do not know what else can be done!
My agent advises we can now not use the single claims process as we tried to use the adjudication process – any advice you can give would be well received.
This is of course one reason for not using the DPS – the money is only available to you if they release it.
As I am a lawyer and not a landlord or letting agent, I do not have any direct experience with using the DSP system myself so I would be grateful if anyone who does have this experience could leave a comment.
I have had a look at the DPS terms and conditions. which you will find here, and I cannot see that they specifically forbid using the single claims process in these circumstances. So my advice would be to give it a go anyway. You can’t be any worse off than you are now.
The other solution is to see if you can trace the tenant so you can issue legal proceedings against her. Some tracing agents will operate on a ‘no trace no fee’ basis. You can find firms who so this by doing a search on ‘private investigators’ in google – or your insurers may be able to recommend a firm to you.
If you are able to find an address for her and are able to get a County Court Judgement for the amount of the damage, you will then be able to apply to the court for a ‘third party payment order’ ordering the DPS to release the funds to you.