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northeast Canuck

Landlord Didn't Secure My Deposit

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I have recently moved out of a house (in England) that I rented for a year starting in summer 2008. The rental was advertised and contracts arranged through an agent but then managed by the landlord. He seemed to be pretty relaxed about stuff and didn't even do an inventory (we did though). I now know that I should replace the word "relaxed" with "ignorant".

When we signed the lease we paid the agent a deposit of £750 which was a month's rent. This was passed on to the landlord who was, according to the agent, expected to put it in one of the approved deposit schemes. This was never done, as I have now found out.

When we moved out a couple of weeks ago we cleaned the house from top to bottom and even had the carpets cleaned at a cost to ourselves, as we felt it was the polite thing to do. A few days later we received an email from him stating that he had inspected the house and it needed cleaning from top to bottom to "remove cobwebs from ceiling corners" and other such minor things, and that he would shortly decide how much of our deposit to give back to us! Needless to say we were not impressed, but due to our lack of knowledge of the system we didn't think that there was anything we could do about it.

He subsequently had the property cleaned at a cost of £150 and took this amount off the deposit and sent us a cheque for £600, which I have put in the bank. I have subsequently spoken with some colleagues at work who are landlords themselves and they informed me of the deposit scheme requirements. I was shocked, to say the least!

I have subsequently contacted all three of the deposit schemes and they confirm that our deposit was never registered with them and that I should seek legal advice from the CAB, which I have done. I am informed that I am entitled to seek compensation of 3x the deposit amount plus the original deposit back in full.

To be clear, I am merely seeking the £150 that he owes me as I do not believe he was entitled to help himself to my money. I have sent him an email spelling out his responsibilities under the Housing Act and politely requesting the £150 back. I have not yet mentioned that he could be on the hook for a lot more if I so choose.

My dilemma is that I do not believe he will pay up, so my next move would be to threaten legal action as I have been advised to do by the CAB. My understanding of the law is that it's an automatic penalty of 3x the deposit. He does not have the option to belatedly put the money in the scheme because we are no longer his tenants.

I have no problems whatsoever with commencing legal proceedings if that what it takes but I am emigrating in 3 weeks. I have been informed by HMRC courts that I can pursue legal action from abroad but am wondering if anyone here has had to do something similar and what their experience has been.

At the end of the day, I just want my £150 back but I do not respond well to being taken for a fool and will hit hard if pushed.

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Hmm.. it may be difficult to chase up the money afterwards if you are abroad, but if you've got some family members still over here then perhaps they could help you with it.

There shouldn't be any need for you to personally attend the court provided you write to them about what happened as it's an open-and-shut case.

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Hmm.. it may be difficult to chase up the money afterwards if you are abroad, but if you've got some family members still over here then perhaps they could help you with it.

There shouldn't be any need for you to personally attend the court provided you write to them about what happened as it's an open-and-shut case.

Yes I still have relatives and friends here as well as an active bank account (I may come back at some point in the future).

Thanks for your helpful reply!

I've just posted a copy of the email recorded delivery in case he tries to say he didn't get the email. Just a little gentle ratcheting-up of the pressure...

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Might be worth enquiring with the CAB if under the circumstances, you can hire a solicitor to represent you in this case, and add their fees to the final settlement.

It's pretty well an open and shut case so under normal circumstances you should be able to get the fine incurred plus costs (of which the solicitor's costs would be one).

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I believe you can appoint someone to act for you. Not sure how, or if you'd think the hassle would be worth it (though personally I would as it's the principal that counts...)

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Sounds like you're doing the right thing. If you get the £150, draw a line under it; if not, sue for the full whack. From abroad, I guess you'd be justified appointing a solicitor (ugh, feed a bigger crook to catch a smaller one :( ).

And if you end up with extra money you don't consider yours, give it to charity.

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Sounds like you're doing the right thing. If you get the £150, draw a line under it; if not, sue for the full whack. From abroad, I guess you'd be justified appointing a solicitor (ugh, feed a bigger crook to catch a smaller one :( ).

It's also useful to know that if the landlord didn't protect the deposit he is not entitled to deduct anything from it. (So he is bound to lose should this get to court)

Informing him of this, might focus his mind

tim

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The problem with this landlord, it sounds like, is that he is too thick to understand that he hasn't got a leg to stand on. He probably hasn't even heard of TDS, so telling him of the penalties is not goign to have much impact.

Get started on your court action. Of course you can pursue it from abroad - stop trying to find reasons for inaction (I have noticed this so many times from friends and acquaintances who get ripped off, but never get round to doing anything about it).

Go after him for 3x the deposit. This seems a clear cut case. Make the lying b***ard pay.

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The problem with this landlord, it sounds like, is that he is too thick to understand that he hasn't got a leg to stand on. He probably hasn't even heard of TDS, so telling him of the penalties is not goign to have much impact.

Get started on your court action. Of course you can pursue it from abroad - stop trying to find reasons for inaction (I have noticed this so many times from friends and acquaintances who get ripped off, but never get round to doing anything about it).

Go after him for 3x the deposit. This seems a clear cut case. Make the lying b***ard pay.

You're right MacGuffin. I think the problem is that the landlord is too thick. I don't think he really knows what he's doing, which is a worry because I believe he has 4 properties!

Anyway, I am not trying to find a reason for inaction, quite the reverse actually. I am just trying to find the flaw in the plan because it just seems so clear-cut that I must be missing something here!

Anyway the advice I had was to try to find an amicable solution before pursuing legal action, so I am doing this now. First a friendly email/letter, but if no reply by Monday then on Tuesday I drop the bomb - another letter but this time threatening legal action if I don't get the rest of the deposit back within seven days. I think that is sufficient, especially because I spell out very clearly in the letter what the alternative is (financial ruin). On the 8th day I will commence proceedings and he will find himself served on the 9th day.

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You're right MacGuffin. I think the problem is that the landlord is too thick. I don't think he really knows what he's doing, which is a worry because I believe he has 4 properties!

Anyway, I am not trying to find a reason for inaction, quite the reverse actually. I am just trying to find the flaw in the plan because it just seems so clear-cut that I must be missing something here!

Anyway the advice I had was to try to find an amicable solution before pursuing legal action, so I am doing this now. First a friendly email/letter, but if no reply by Monday then on Tuesday I drop the bomb - another letter but this time threatening legal action if I don't get the rest of the deposit back within seven days. I think that is sufficient, especially because I spell out very clearly in the letter what the alternative is (financial ruin). On the 8th day I will commence proceedings and he will find himself served on the 9th day.

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply you were lazy. You are right that the situation is very clear-cut. Go for it!

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Second, very threatening letter sent out Tuesday. Received phone call from landlord's dad today. Cheque in the post.

The parents do everything for this guy. I wouldn't be surprised if they've even paid the rest of the deposit for him. Spoilt brat.

But that doesn't change the fact that - I WON!

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Great. Also I assume you had photos after your clean, with a £70 digital you can take 100 pics in no time, date and time stamped to prove 'no cobwebs' - thru the door clockwise, floor, middle, top with 8 points of the compass, cover sll of the room.... Plus the TDS seems to work well as so many tenants have been ripped off in the past and they take account of wear and tear.

Date and time stamp on photos is not evidence that said photos were taken at that date and time.

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Second, very threatening letter sent out Tuesday. Received phone call from landlord's dad today. Cheque in the post.

The parents do everything for this guy. I wouldn't be surprised if they've even paid the rest of the deposit for him. Spoilt brat.

But that doesn't change the fact that - I WON!

Good for you.

He's very lucky that you're not going for the compensation claim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Good for you.

He's very lucky that you're not going for the compensation claim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

yes plus 1 on that, well done mate, nice to hear you got your £150 back ;)

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