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steve7871

More Deposit Woes

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Hi, I wonder if anyone could give me some advice.

I moved out of a rented property at the end of November 2007, having lived there for two years. When the managing agent came to check the inventory, she acknowledged that everything was in order (which she put in writing) and said that my deposit of £1200 would be repaid as soon as I sent the receipts to prove I had paid the final electricity and gas bills, which I did.

However, after a couple of weeks I had still not received the deposit back. I phoned the agent, who assured me that it was all being taken care of, and not to worry.

To cut a long story short, after numerous further calls to the agent (and numerous excuses), nothing has been repaid. I have not been able to contact the landlord directly as he is not answering my phone calls. I have had no correspondence to tell me why he is refusing to pay.

I contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau who advised me that I have perfectly good grounds to take the landlord to the small claims court. However, my problem is that the landlord on my tenancy agreement is listed as a company, with an address c/o that of the managing agent. On making further enquiries, I can't find any evidence that this company exists in the UK (although it may do abroad). Therefore I don't know exactly who I am supposed to be taking to court.

Any advice/suggestions greatly appreciated.

Cheers,

Steve

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Hi, I wonder if anyone could give me some advice.

I moved out of a rented property at the end of November 2007, having lived there for two years. When the managing agent came to check the inventory, she acknowledged that everything was in order (which she put in writing) and said that my deposit of £1200 would be repaid as soon as I sent the receipts to prove I had paid the final electricity and gas bills, which I did.

However, after a couple of weeks I had still not received the deposit back. I phoned the agent, who assured me that it was all being taken care of, and not to worry.

To cut a long story short, after numerous further calls to the agent (and numerous excuses), nothing has been repaid. I have not been able to contact the landlord directly as he is not answering my phone calls. I have had no correspondence to tell me why he is refusing to pay.

I contacted the Citizens Advice Bureau who advised me that I have perfectly good grounds to take the landlord to the small claims court. However, my problem is that the landlord on my tenancy agreement is listed as a company, with an address c/o that of the managing agent. On making further enquiries, I can't find any evidence that this company exists in the UK (although it may do abroad). Therefore I don't know exactly who I am supposed to be taking to court.

Any advice/suggestions greatly appreciated.

Cheers,

Steve

Have you made enquiries at Companies House?

Have you checked the Land Registry?

Have you asked the letting agent for the name and address of their client/point of contact? They will probably rely on the "Fools' Charter" (ie: the Data Protection Act) but they can be made (ie: by way of a court order) to give you this information if you want to issue proceedings against the landlord. I could explain the procedure for doing so, but you will be better off getting a solicitor to do it for you because if you get it wrong and your application is dismissed, then you will end up paying the letting agent's legal costs.

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Thanks for the reply Agent.

I had made enquiries at Companies House and couldn't find any company of that name. I have since found out from the Land Registry that the company in question is incorporated in Guernsey.

Is there, in your opinion, a case for legal action against the landlord personally, assuming I can get his name and address? Or is it possible to sue an offshore company such as this one?

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Thanks for the reply Agent.

I had made enquiries at Companies House and couldn't find any company of that name. I have since found out from the Land Registry that the company in question is incorporated in Guernsey.

Is there, in your opinion, a case for legal action against the landlord personally, assuming I can get his name and address? Or is it possible to sue an offshore company such as this one?

just a quick one in respect to the law

from the 1985 housing act, its sound like they have not complied which will certainly help your case if you ever track them down, threaten to take the agent to court as they should have know better to supply a no compliant contract.... good luck

1. DISCLOSURE OF LANDLORD’S IDENTITY

(1) If the tenant of premises occupied as a dwelling makes a written request for the landlord’s name and address to—

(a) any person who demands, or the last person who received, rent payable under the tenancy, or any other person for the time being acting as agent for the landlord, in relation to the tenancy,

that person shall supply the tenant with a written statement of the landlord’s name and address within the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which he receives the request.

(2) A person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with subsection (1) commits a summary offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.

(3) In this section and section 2—

(a) "tenant" includes a statutory tenant; and (B) "landlord" means the immediate landlord.

Back To Contents

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. DISCLOSURE OF DIRECTORS, AND ETC. OF CORPORATE LANDLORD

(1) Where a tenant is supplied under section 1 with the name and address of his landlord and the landlord is a body corporate, he may make a further written request to the landlord for the name and address of every director and of the secretary of the landlord.

(2) The landlord shall supply the tenant with a written statement of the information requested within the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which he receives the request.

(3) A request under this section is duly made to the landlord if it is made to—

(a) an agent of the landlord, or

(B) a person who demands the rent of the premises concerned;

and any such agent or person to whom such a request is made shall forward it to the landlord as soon as may be.

(4) A landlord who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with a request under this section, and a person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with a requirement imposed on him by subsection (3), commits a summary offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.

Edited by Matt Henson

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Thanks for the reply Agent.

I had made enquiries at Companies House and couldn't find any company of that name. I have since found out from the Land Registry that the company in question is incorporated in Guernsey.

Is there, in your opinion, a case for legal action against the landlord personally, assuming I can get his name and address? Or is it possible to sue an offshore company such as this one?

Yes, you can sue a company incorporated in the Channel Islands and you can sue them in England and Wales. However, IIRC, the Channel Islands are Independent Commonwealth Territories (or something similar), and so the rules on service of documents and issue of proceedings are quite tricky. From memory, you may need the permission of the High Court and you may also need to serve the documents either on the Consul General of Guernsey (or some similar official), or perhaps serve the documents through the Foreign Process Office, which is situated in the Royal Courts of Justice. In short, it is probably not something a lay person should attempt for themselves and so again, I would recommend you use a solicitor.

Your cause of action is against the company, they are your landlord and not the individual person you may have dealt with at that company.

Have a read of the clauses in your tenancy agreement which deal with how the deposit is held. You may be lucky and find it provides that the agent is to hold the deposit as "Stakeholder". If this is the case, and they have released the money to the landlord, then you could sue the agent either for breach of trust or breach of a collateral contract.

All is not lost - you know that your landlord has substantial assets in England and Wales because until November you were living in it (unless of course they have sold it) and if they used an English bank account to collect your rent, so much the better because you will be able make their life unpleasant when it comes to enforcing your judgement.

Re: Matt Henson's post: the HA 1985 can be useful, but if this frequently only succeeds in getting hold of the landlord's correspondence address, in which case you are still snookered. However, it seems you have unearthed their head office address in any event.

Edited by agent46

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just a quick one in respect to the law

from the 1985 housing act, its sound like they have not complied which will certainly help your case if you ever track them down, threaten to take the agent to court as they should have know better to supply a no compliant contract.... good luck

I've been trying for 2 days, but my browser won't let me edit my previous post. Hence, I've just started a new one instead....

1) It is the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, not the Housing Act 1985 that governs the tenant's right to their landlord's address.

2) As to "take the agent to court....no [sic] compliant contract", the question would be "on what grounds would he sue?".

Whilst the agent commits an offence by failing to supply the landlord's address, that is a matter between them and the prosecuting authorities and there is no cause of action viz a viz the tenant and the agent. For what it's worth, the tenant may be able to take out a private prosecution against the landlord by laying an information at the Magistrates' Court, but, from memory, he may need the consent of either the Attorney General or the Director of Public Prosecutions to do so.

If the tenant issued civil proceedings against the agent on the grounds that the agent has failed to supply the landlord's address, then even before it got to court he would be at risk of having his claim struck out (with costs) either on the grounds that LTA 1985 s.1 does not create a right of action for damages or that he (the tenant) has suffered no loss as a result of the agent's breach.

Edited by agent46

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Hi there,

I don't know if we shared an agent and a LL but I had a similar problem a couple of years ago. The agent started with "A" and the LL with "M. B" or another name which I'll post when I can.

I sent registered letters to the LL in Guernsey and there was no reply. I discovered that they were owned by a company in Switzerland. I sent another registered letter but no reply. I discovered that the directors were living in London so I sent registered letters to their home addresses and then started a claim in the UK small claims court.

This did work but may not have been legal or enforcable. They finally paid up.

Nasty, nasty agents and nasty directors.

"A" in particular were disgusting. The AST agreements were always signed on behalf of the company name and the name wasn't always the same. They refused to release the address of the company or of the directors.

My local council has a tenants advice officer and they offered to take them (the Agents) to court. I'd completly forgotton about that and must follow that up.

Hope this ramble helps.

Edited by Flopsy

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Flopsy, thanks for your help.

I have an address in England for the landlord - actually it is c/o the managing agent. It also states in my contract that "Notice is given pursuant to section 48 (1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 that your Landlord's address for the service of Notices (including Notices in proceedings) is as follows:

c/o xxxxxxx

xxxxx

London"

So as far as I can tell, I have the address to where I should serve notice but I am trying to find out whether taking this company to the small claims court will have any effect if the company is not registered in the UK.

Steve

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Of course.

You would take Mohamed Al Fayad to court in the UK if he were your landlord despite his not being a British resident, wouldn't you? [Actually, I think he may be these days, but that's not the point.]

You could register an interest over the property at the land registry. (Somebody will be able to tell you exactly what and how.)

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