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Failed By The Tenancy Deposit Scheme

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I am wondering whether anyone can offer me advice on what I see as I failure by the TDS Scheme for me and my family?

I will try and keep the details as brief as possible..

We moved into a house in Southwest London via an agent paying the upper limit of the monthly payment to qualify for protection under the TDS scheme.

Neither the Landlord or the Agent ever mentioned the scheme in anyway – and in fact I only became aware of it upon doing my own research nearing the end of the tenancy when things began the go awry.

The first 6 months of the Tenancy went quite smoothly, but I began to get the feeling that we were dealing with a thrifty Landlord when the ancient boiler broke during the winter and it took a month to get it fixed – however the job was not finished and we had a gaping 3 foot by 6 foot hole left in the kitchen next where the new boiler box was fitted with lots of exposed pipes and electrics. On persistent complaining to the Agent to get this fixed, she told us that the Landlord was not prepared to spend any more money on the house. Not great considering we had 2 year old living in the house insisting on investigating anything he could get his hands on. The exposed pipes were not the only problem, we also had mould in places, the extractor fan in the 1970s kitchen had simply rotted and fallen off and bits of the bathroom were broken, among other things.

Stupidly we put up with it like this for a further 3 months until the Landlord moved back to this country and served notice on us to move out a year after we had moved in (they did cheekily try to get us out after 11 months on a yearly contract, and we had to quote the dates in the agreement..)

So we moved out and were surprised to say the least when the agent told us that £800+ would be deducted from our deposit for quite frankly outrageous deductions including:

- £350 gardening (every month we had used the Agency recommended guy who did the garden for £25, he was due to come the day we moved out to do the garden before the inspection, but mysteriously he was cancelled and a different firm where used, charging £350?!)

- -£55 pounds for a tiny plastic bathroom mirror, like the ones you get from Ikea for £3.99

- £100 for Window Cleaning, (even though the Inventory done when we moved in states the windows were not cleaned)

- £200 For cleaning on top of the cleaning we had already had done, (even though the inventory states that the property was not properly cleaned and had cobwebs etc when we moved in)

- + some other smaller things that I considered to be equally unfair

The Agent persistently emailed me pressuring me to give my back details to her so she could release the remainder of the deposit, and give the Landlord the £850. I kept saying no, eventually saying I was going to dispute every single point.

At no point had the Agent said that the deposit was covered under the protection scheme, and even then when I asked her who was holding the deposit she said “we are”. Only on the next email when I asked her direct “is the deposit not held under the deposit protection scheme?” she admitted that “the deposit is held by us, but registered under the protection scheme”…. Mmm, I guess technically correct, but I sense she was trying to not let me know it was protected, thinking I knew nothing about the scheme. For the whole time I was in the property, moved out, and gone in dispute with the agent and Landlord, I was never informed or anything was ever mentioned about the scheme.

OK, so now I started to prepare my evidence to submit to the TDS. I had photos of the property in disrepair, emails from the Agent etc and was going to go through each deposit deduction one by one stating my case and how I found the amount deducted to be outrageous.

I phoned the TDS Company to find how long I had to this and was told over the phone 6 months, as they knew it could often take some time to amass and present the evidence.

As we had moved into a new home, and was busy with that I didn’t work on my evidence immediately, thinking that I had 6 months.

1 month later I had a letter and cheque sent to me from the TDS Company, informing me that the case had gone ahead.. (without my evidence!) as I had not responded to a letter they had sent out 2 weeks ago informing that proceedings were about to start – I definitely had not received this letter. And anyway, why was I told 6 months over the phone??

They returned £300 to me, but the Landlord got £500 or so.

I was very angry about the whole thing, I was given no chance to present my evidence and complain about the Agency’s conduct.

I suppose I knew that I had had a cheque from the TDS and had the Landlord, and therefore it would be difficult to get monies back out of him.

However over time (we moved out 6 months or so ago), I am still more than annoyed about it.

The basic headline points being:

An agent that never informed me of the TDS scheme, and tried to keep me from discovering the deposit was protected

A Landlord who would not make the property safe and habitable, stating they had already spend enough on the property

The Landlord making outrageous deductions from our deposit

The TDS going ahead and settling the case, without receiving evidence from me, when they had said I had 6 months to prepare and submit.

Any advice and what I should, should I leave it? Or is there a way I could re-tip the scales of justice in my favour..

Many thanks in advance for any advice

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Take pictures and video of everything and take them through the claims procedure. Make them work for their money.

The TDS are useless IMHO. With ours they just split our deposit in half and gave half away to the piss taking landlord.

I certainly hope no paint stripper comes into contact with his car.

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There is no appeals process with the DPS/TDS. When they make a decision on a case, it is final.

However, their decision is not legally binding. So, if you disagree with their decision, there is nothing to stop you from taking the case to the small claims court for a formal, legally binding decision.

Technically, it is the case, that the landlord has not correctly protected your deposit unless they have sent you the specific 'prescribed information' for the tenancy. This is a legal document that states the name of the deposit protection company, and explicitly lists any condition that could be used to retain some/all of your deposit. You are supposed to return a signed and corrected copy of the document to the landlord. In practice, most courts will let a landlord off if the information wasn't provided, but the deposit was protected - especially, if it turns out that you knew who was protecting the deposit.

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There is no appeals process with the DPS/TDS. When they make a decision on a case, it is final.

However, their decision is not legally binding. So, if you disagree with their decision, there is nothing to stop you from taking the case to the small claims court for a formal, legally binding decision.

Technically, it is the case, that the landlord has not correctly protected your deposit unless they have sent you the specific 'prescribed information' for the tenancy. This is a legal document that states the name of the deposit protection company, and explicitly lists any condition that could be used to retain some/all of your deposit. You are supposed to return a signed and corrected copy of the document to the landlord. In practice, most courts will let a landlord off if the information wasn't provided, but the deposit was protected - especially, if it turns out that you knew who was protecting the deposit.

As Rex says its my understanding that there is no appeals for TDS but you can proceed to small claims to recover if you think judement unfair.

My own deposit has just been returned after following the alternative dispute services as part of the TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) for which I'm going to post a full anecdotal in the next day or two.

Generally I was very satisfied with the handling and outcome, but its worth saying that I had ensured that all details (email and contact details) were correct in their system - once we had agreed to enter the ADR they emailed as well as posted statements and their online guide documents described to me the process that would follow. So I was aware that the landlord would have 14 days to compile and supply evidence, followed by a confirmation summary to me and 14 days to provide response, then landlord had another 7 days to refute anything in my evidence.

Then a month or so waiting for judgment.

I'm not criticising you or suggesting that its your fault or anything, just that it does seem your problem was because you had a misunderstanding as to the process and timelines and therefore they made final judgement without input.

From what you've put about the actual claim, if you can be bothered then I'd look at small claims to recover although I couldnt suggest anything about the possible outcome.

Will post my anecdotal of TDS in the next day or two.

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Take pictures and video of everything and take them through the claims procedure. Make them work for their money.

The TDS are useless IMHO. With ours they just split our deposit in half and gave half away to the piss taking landlord.

I certainly hope no paint stripper comes into contact with his car.

Yeah I couldn't agree more, TDS are a joke.

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I phoned the TDS Company to find how long I had to this and was told over the phone 6 months, as they knew it could often take some time to amass and present the evidence.

As we had moved into a new home, and was busy with that I didn’t work on my evidence immediately, thinking that I had 6 months.

1 month later I had a letter and cheque sent to me from the TDS Company, informing me that the case had gone ahead.. (without my evidence!) as I had not responded to a letter they had sent out 2 weeks ago informing that proceedings were about to start – I definitely had not received this letter. And anyway, why was I told 6 months over the phone??

I am sympathetic as it seems you have had a bad landlord, but I really can't see how the TDS failed you. If you thought that you could start a claim and then take six months to send in the paperwork, then you clearly misunderstood what the TDS told you. The rules are that you have six months to start your claim, and then things move quite quickly after that.

I had to claim against a landlord recently and I thought the TDS dispute resolution system was brilliant. They accepted my evidence and arguments, and demolished the landlord's evidence. I only had to phone the TDS scheme for advice about the process a couple of times, and they were very helpful each time. However, I'm the sort of person who tends to research a lot onthe internet before I speak to someone, so I know exactly what I want to ask and what is not clear.

I'm sorry for what happened, as £500 is a lot of money to lose. As others have said, you can still take the matter to a small claims court.

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The Agent persistently emailed me pressuring me to give my back details to her so she could release the remainder of the deposit, and give the Landlord the £850. I kept saying no, eventually saying I was going to dispute every single point.

Just thought I'd mention, under the TDS scheme, the landlord is obliged to return the undisputed amount immediately i.e. if the deposit is £1000 and only £600 is in dispute, the landlord must return the other £400 immediately. Accepting the £400 back does not oblige the tenant to agree to the £600 deduction; they are still free to dispute it.

The agency for my last place tried to convince me to capitulate by saying 'We really must get your agreement to these deductions so we can return the rest of your deposit'. They said this in an email so I immediately went email-ballistic, responded to everyone in the agency and the landlord (a property development company) and said quite menacingly that they had better think very carefully about their wording because a judge would look at that and think that they were trying to hold the undisputed part to ransom, which is illegal and contravenes the TDS guidelines.

I got my undisputed portion the next day, and then went on to get back 100% of the rest via the dispute resolution process.

Edited by MacGuffin

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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      • down 5% +
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      • up 5%



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