Here is a blog clinic question from Joanne who is a landlord
As a landlord we used an Estate Agent for our property and the Deposit Protection Service. After tenants moved out in August, we were not happy to release the bond due to the hig level of damage caused and it requested arbitration.
The DPS state they sent forms and a courtesy email to the agent on 27th September (a month after the tenants left and we requested them to go to arbitration) We chased and chased and now have found out that the bond has been paid back as the agent is claiming they did not receive the forms.
I have today received copies of correspondence between the agent and DPS where the latter clearly states that the agent should be aware of the terms and conditions and they are not liable for forms being lost – in fact the agent also states they have never had problems in the past with forms/emails which clearly shows they have used arbitration before and therefore should be aware of the 14 day deadline. Not to mention the fact I was chasing. The covering letter is one line basically saying this is what the DPS have said.
What can we do now? Is it a case that the agent is liable for negligence? Thank you
This does sound extremely unfair, and it does look as if the agents are at fault. If the DPS did what they were supposed to do and the only reason the arbitration did not go ahead was due to the agents failure to take action.
A claim against the agents is certainly possible. As you say, they ought to have known about the deadline.
There are two potential problems that I can see – one is that the agents may say that the case had only a limited chance of success anyway, the other is whether the sum of money concerned is worth the effort of pursuing it. You don’t say how much is in issue.
However in any event I see no reason why a letter before action should not be sent to the agents. If the agents are part of any regulatory body such as ARLA or TPOS then you could also consider making a complaint.