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Confusion with unprotected deposit and eviction

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442 views 1 replies latest reply: 13 December 2016
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Tenant

Hi,

We moved into a rented house with a 6 month assured short hold tenancy agreement in April 2016. Once the 6 months were up our landlady issued us with an eviction letter giving us three months notice, stating we had to leave by 13th January. We wanted to be in a new place by Christmas, so jumped into another rented house and shelled out a large amount for another deposit and moving costs. 

The inspection regarding our deposit at the old house went fine, we agreed with three points and there were no others. She said she would email us that day with a write up and to tell us the amount she was prepared to return. We didn’t hear from her and i got very worried about our deposit, and started looking into it online. we realised we had never received a certificate to say it had been protected in the deposit protection scheme. I text her asking for a copy of the certificate on day 9 after leaving, and within an hour she had sent an email outlining lots of issues with the house that we had not agreed on and strange white lies regarding the condition of the property. This concerned me greatly (why lie about small things that don’t mean anything?) but we replied politely, thanking her for her email and saying that we would discuss if we agreed with the amount she wanted to deduct and get back to her, but in the meantime we would like invoices for work she claimed had been done and the details for our deposit protection. Her response was rude and defensive, complaining that we shouldn’t be disagreeing with anything after already agreeing that the property was left unclean (not true on either part – the agreement or the state), and that the costs for things were estimates as the work had not yet been done but she felt she had to as we had ‘been pushy’ (we simply asked for the details of the protection scheme). Still no information about the scheme. We replied formally, explaining that we were eager to get the details of our protection scheme as if we decided to dispute her decision then we wanted to use the free service available within the scheme. She has not replied, but has rang 24 hours later, 5 times – I have not answered as I want everything in writing.

It seems she has not protected our deposit. If not, was the way she evicted us illegal? It was a printed off template of a eviction notice (at the bottom we saw the small print to the New Zealand website it was taken from, so it was easy to trace). we just took it as legal and fine and panicked and jumped into a new rented house, getting into debt in the process.

Do I have to take phone calls from her? Whilst I want this to move forward, I want every correspondence to be logged. Can I request she only contacts me via email or letter? 

I have looked into the process of what to do if your deposit hasn’t been protected, and I will be drafting a letter of action soon. But to be honest this is all very new to me – never been in this situation before and I’m currently feel quite intimidated by ex-landlady’s correspondence – the repeated phonecalls, the rudeness in the emails, the incredulity at us asking for legal details and the odd white lies. ANY advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

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Tenant

Hello, 

First of all relax. You don’t need to panic, as it would seem that you’re in a favourable position. 

You don’t need to take phone calls if you don’t want to. Your strategy to have all comms in a written format is correct and will help you in any formal dispute.

You can check if your deposit is protected very easy with the three links below:

Check if your deposit is protected with Deposit Protection Service

Check if your deposit is protected with the TDS.

Check if your deposit is protected with My Deposits.

If you find out that your deposit is not protected, you have a claim in county court that will award you 1 – 3 times the deposit amount + the original deposit.

The court will automatically rule in your favor, provided you sufficiently prove the deposit was not protected. If you want to go down this route, please download our guide here and follow the steps – http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/letter-templates/request-tenancy-deposit-protection

There is also a template letter for you to use instead of drafting your own. 

However, you might not need to. Simply explaining the situation to the landlord and the legal consequences is enough for most landlords to drop the act and return the full deposit, sometimes even adding a small compensation to make sure they get out of the situation. 

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