A tenant recently wrote to me with a sad story:
“I vacated my property in February 2009, and due to the DPS not returning my deposit I became homeless. As the landlord and I were in dispute over the return of the deposit I had no option that to pursue the claim through the county court.
I did so and on Sept 3rd I attended court and was awarded the claim in my favour. I sent a copy of the General Form of Judgement or Order to the DPS and was advised under their terms and conditions (which I have never seen before) they cannot release the deposit as the order makes no reference to the DPS, but does state the landlords name.
This seems outrageous to say the least, and has caused me to have even more depression and stress. Can these people really hold me to ransom like this. I have been awarded the money and all I want is the return of my deposit.
I am not entirely sure why the lady did not use the free arbitration service provided, but we have always been told that landlords and tenants are free to use the County Court instead of arbitration if they prefer. I have had a look at the DPS terms and conditions though, and they do indeed say at clause 17:
“The DPS will not release any part of the Deposit unless it has: ….
iv. a Court Order which refers specifically to the Deposit and/or the scheme administrator and the amount of the Deposit to be paid out.“
However it does seem very unfair that this lady should be deprived of her money (and we always have to work from the premise that the deposit is the tenants money) simply because the DPS have put this clause in their terms and condition. How many tenants, who after all are ordinary people and not lawyers, are going to read the detail of the DPS terms and conditions before issuing proceedings? It is not something that would occur to most people.
What do you think about this? Do you have any suggestions as to how this lady can get her deposit returned to her?