Tuesday, Jul 18, 2006

Another 'nail in the coffin' for BTL?

Firstrung: Tenants to have their deposits protected legally from April 2007

The Tenancy Deposit Protection will take hold on April 6 in an effort to protect tenants and good landlords alike. It will put a stop to the situation whereby landlords can withhold deposits unfairly.

Posted by Converted Lurker @ 12:28 AM (551 views)
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6 Comments

1. Paul said...

This might be addressing a problem that is not really there.

Shortly before my last payment is due on a tenancy, I've always consulted the letting agent or landlord directly to ask about return of the deposit (usually equal to one month's rent). If they don't give the right answers, and don't give some written guarantee of return of the deposit on certain conditions, I've personally simply witheld the final month's rent. They could take me to court but I'd be off by that time, and a landlord cannot refer you to a credit agency unless they have a county court judgement against you. And to get a CCJ they need to send a summons. And to send a summons they need your new address.

I could take them to court to recover the deposit, but then why should I do all the legwork because they've been dishonest?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 12:21PM Report Comment
 

2. denzil said...

From experience I've always found a landlord that returns a full deposit rarer than hens teeth.
Does anybody know what a tenent can currently do to claim back an unpaid deposit? I have a friend who is having problems.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 12:25PM Report Comment
 

3. sebastian said...

Cry and scream a lot! I was with Opal in Manchester, awful awful company!! Rubbish to deal with, frequent pay mixups (I lived with my sister so she often ended up paying my rent). Anyhow at the end of it they tried to claim back all sorts of nonsense, even after we went to see them about 3 months before moving out to make sure the move went smoothly.

To cut to the chase, we shouted a lot and got most of the money back except 50 they took for 'cleaning' even though the house was cleaner than when we moved in, I started twitching when I walked out of that place for the last time...Was easier just to let them have the money in the end, jokes!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 01:32PM Report Comment
 

4. Lordjim said...

From my experience it is usually the letting agent that tries to withold the deposit for dodgy cleaning/repair claims (although I'm sure private landlords can be dodgy too), and the invoice for any 'cleaning' or 'repairs' is from a sister company. The letting agent is therefore really witholding the deposit on behalf of the landlord for dodgy reasons, often without even the knowledge of the landlord. This happens all the time.The letting agent must provide the landlords address/contact details with 30 days of the tennants request. You cannot take the letting agent to a small claims court for not paying the deposit back, as even though they are instigating the claim it is legally the landlord witholding deposit even if they haven't been informed by the agent, however you can take the landlord to court. If you threaten [to the letting agent] to take the landlord to a small claims court they will suddenly realise the 'cleaning'/'repairs' were a mistake and pay your remaining deposit because they don't want the landlord to realise what they have been up to. If the landlord realises they would be a fool not to swop agents. 95% of tennants don't follow up withheld deposits so to the agent it is worth the hassle of dealing with the 5% who do. No one should ever let these thieving scumbags get away with this. I certainly haven't. Also, take two sets of photos when you move in, seal one set in an envelope and post back to yourself at your new address. The postmark proves the date the photos were taken. The look on the thieving letting agents face when you show them the spare copy and the dated copy is just priceless. The cheque won't take long arriving after that!!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 04:11PM Report Comment
 

5. paul said...

denzil

In short, they need to go through the small claims court.

There are some ways to obviate this need if the tenant thinks about it early enough. Before the final payment is due, enquire with the landlord or letting agent and establish terms (in writing) for getting the payment back.

If they refuse to meet, or start being evasive, withhold the final month's rent (usually the amount of the deposit).

I've done this everywhere I've ever rented. They can threaten court action to get the unpaid rent back (again through the small claims court), but this option isn't usually exercised, because it's hassle, and if they don't have your new address, they have nowhere to send the summons to, and the case won't be heard. Credit reference agencies won't listen either unless landlords can show them a CCJ (which obviously the landlord won't get).

OTOH, this system of legally protecting the deposit is A VERY GOOD IDEA. In fact this system was put in place a few years ago but was voluntary. If this legislation makes it obligatory then that's very good. The number of unscrupulous landlords unfortunately FAR outweighs the number of unscrupulous tenents.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 05:39PM Report Comment
 

6. Northern Lad said...

too true Paul!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 08:43PM Report Comment
 

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