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MattW

More Shernannigans From The Lettings Agent

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I moved into my current flat 4 and a half months ago and I'm no wondering if it's time to get the **** out come the end of the 6 month AST. :blink:

This evening I opened a letter from one of the deposit protection companies...

"It is a requirement of the Housing Act 2004 that we write to inform you that the letting agent, XXXX Ltd, employed by your landlord XXXX, to manage their let properties is currently undergoing our Membership cancellation procedure.

As a consequence, your deposit will cease to be protected by 'deposit co' 3 months after 13 July 2015. "

There is a bit of background. It actually took 67 days for the hopeless letting agent to actually protect the deposit:

http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?/topic/204679-67-days/

2 months ago they asked me to amend the Standing Order Instruction so that my rent is paid directly to the landlord. Add into the mix that in March they initially let the flat to me without a gas safety certificate, a non-operational smoke alarm (no battery) and the flat was generally untidy. The kitchen and cooker were minging. Oh yes, and the electric is prepayment only. :rolleyes:

So many red flags have been raised. I've pinged an email to the letting agent to ask what's going on. If indeed they are still supposed to managing the flat. One thing I have never bothered doing so far but probably should have demanded was the landlord's details. Have done so in this email.

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This sounds like a hopeless agent has been fired by the landlord and they are being deliberately bad at the changeover in the hope that tenants leave and the LL changes his mind.

That said, be wary of changing your standing order to pay anyone who is not named in the AST contract.

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Thanks for the comments.

After being asked to change my standing order, realisation suddenly hit. I should have refused to do it unless the tenancy contract was changed at no further expense. D'oh! Will chalk that one down to experience.

What does "cease to be protected by" actually mean? They should be the ones with the money, who are they going to refund it to?

This sentence further down the letter piqued my interest:

" 'deposit co.' is not a custodial deposit scheme meaning we do not physically hold your deposit. " Hmmm.... :unsure:

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Maybe I've got it wrong but I thought that's how the approved deposit protection schemes worked - they held on to it. That's what happened when I rented at any rate, when I left it was returned to me from them, all the landlord did was say that he wasn't claiming any of it. If he had done then it would've still had to go through them.

If they're not holding it how can they protect it?

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Maybe I've got it wrong but I thought that's how the approved deposit protection schemes worked - they held on to it. That's what happened when I rented at any rate, when I left it was returned to me from them, all the landlord did was say that he wasn't claiming any of it. If he had done then it would've still had to go through them.

If they're not holding it how can they protect it?

No, not all the schemes operate the same way. Some just register the deposit. Then at the end of the tenancy the landlord has to provide the refund to the tenant directly within 10-14 days. If there is disagreement on the amount due, the amount in dispute is then lodged with the scheme pending their decision and the amount not in dispute is given to the tenant.

My step daughters father and his new wife had some issues with a scheme like this just recently (or rather the landlord, who thought she could keep the whole deposit until they agreed to pay every last penny, and refused to comply until i got involved and sorted them out.

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Remember that if you deposit isn't protected you can just stop paying rent and the landlord can't evict you.

Oh yes, didn't think of that. Thanks.

Funnily enough just before the Agent protected the deposit 67 days into the tenancy I reminded them that landlord would not be able to evict me under S21 of the Housing Act 2004. He'd be stuffed if he wanted it back in a hurry!

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Update:

Last weekend I fired off two letters: one to The Property Ombudsman explaining my concerns about the letting agent. Another one to my local Citizen's Advice Bureau. Received a reply from the former stating that they cannot do anything and that the agents is no longer memeber (& no longer in business).

So I had driven to the office that the letting agents were based. My suspicions were confirmed as the letting agent left the building and no longer exists.

As landlord details were never given to me I did a £3 land reg search. Turns out that he lives on a farm not too far away. Thank heavens he isn't living in Australia (or wherever) like my colleague's last landlord. :blink: Next step is to write to him to request the £550 deposit be protected (I'll enclose a copy of a letter from 'mydeposits.co.uk).

If like Mick Jagger I get no satisfaction then I'll have to withold a month's rent. :unsure: Or even stop paying rent altogether as per prince_economist 's post (#8). Might be able to get a deposit together to buy! :lol:

Interesting note on the title: the lender on the property is called 'Topaz Finance Limited'. :wacko: Doesn't sound like a mainstream mortgage lender to me.

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I assume you know (but others may not) but the LL can't just say the EA ran off with the money so the money has gone. It is the LL's responsibility to protect the deposit and as you say until he does he can't really do anything.

Thanks satch. I'll psyche myself up for that excuse. Will post the letter tomorrow via 'signed for'.

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Landlord has received my letter ( and probably wondering how I tracked him down :lol: ).

No response from him thus far. If he keeps quiet then it looks like I'll be witholding a month's rent to compensate for the deposit. :P

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No reponse re: my letter dated 16th Aug. Just sent another letter to the LL and stated rather bluntly to get my deposit money protected. Also stated that failing to do so will likely result in a penalty of up to 3 x the original value and that he will not be able to evict me under S21 of the Housing Act 2004.

He'll read the letter and either think 'who on Earth does he think he is?' or sudden realise that tenants are not all meek thickos and realise I mean business. :lol:

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Nice on Matt, will be keen to see how this resolves itself.

i've an upcoming tenancy renewal, which should be fine but as always you never know what may occur. I sounded out the landlord in advance, and made it clear to the agents that I've already sorted it out with the LL so hopefully they will be unable to screw us around. Although I notice they just sent a list of 'updated' ie increased fees for various things, including renewals, applicable with immediate effect. I think I'll be insisting that the lower amounts quoted in my AST are used instead.

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Nice on Matt, will be keen to see how this resolves itself.

i've an upcoming tenancy renewal, which should be fine but as always you never know what may occur. I sounded out the landlord in advance, and made it clear to the agents that I've already sorted it out with the LL so hopefully they will be unable to screw us around. Although I notice they just sent a list of 'updated' ie increased fees for various things, including renewals, applicable with immediate effect. I think I'll be insisting that the lower amounts quoted in my AST are used instead.

Thanks. :)

In your situation I wouldn't pay anything to renew.

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Deposit is now unprotected. Still no communication from the landlord.

I believe I need to wait 31 days after the lapse of deposit protection until I can take action against my landlord.

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3 months on - deposit still not protected but landlord's assistant says 'yes, we do have your deposit'. I think I'm going to have to stop my standing order early when I decide to leave as I envisage trouble getting it back. Besides, he cannot legally issue a S21 against me anyway. :P

My neighbour came to me to report a leak. He lives in the house to the side of me. My flat is above his garage (my garage and another neighbour's garage). Sadly for him my kitchen and bathroom are above his. Worked out that the leak is caming from the kitchen sink and/ or washing machine. Despite my texts to the landlord (I am not allowed to speak to him via phone - text only! :rolleyes: ) nothing has been done.

I have existing problems with the boiler (water not heating up quick enough in combi boiler) and the electric inbuilt cooker isn't working. They have been reported and hopefully someone will look at the cooker at the end of January. According to my neighbour my landlord is the developer of this estate (built 2006) the cookers fitted in the properties are crap and having had dealings with the landlord himself, it takes him a while to sort things. He owns a farm in Norfolk.

I've had nothing but s**t since I moved here. The purpose of the move was to be within walking distance of work.Time to look for another place to live, which will likely mean a bit more congestion and pollution. :rolleyes:

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