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Deposit dispute advice

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304 views 1 replies latest reply: 25 September 2017
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Tenant

Hi,

Does anyone have any experience with deposit disputes? I’ve recently had a very frustrating experience trying to get my deposit back where I was fobbed off for almost two months by the letting agents, who kept telling me they were waiting on the landlords to make a decision on any deposit deductions. I finally got my deposit back today but minus a £125 check-out fee. I think this fee is extortionate, and after the poor service that I’ve received I’m motivated to challenge it via a dispute. My questions are as follows:

1. The deposit is insurance-based with mydeposits. Reading their website FAQ it suggests that if you don’t get any of your deposit back within 10 days of requesting it you can raise a dispute for the full amount. Does this mean we are automatically entitled to the full amount because they missed the deadline?

2. We recently asked the letting agents for a copy of our tenancy agreement and they told us that they had essentially lost it. If this is true could I start a dispute based on the fact they don’t have anything which says we agreed to pay these fees? Do you absolutely need to submit a copy of the tenancy agreement to start a dispute (I don’t even have a copy)? I imagine they might magically find it though once the dispute is called.

3. Could we raise a dispute on the amount being charged? It seems higher than any other letting agent. I asked exactly what it covered and was told checking the property and writing the check-out document. However, if you check the letting agents website it also states it is for compliance with the deposit scheme (could be argued they didn’t comply!) and for transferring utilties and council tax. The utilities didn’t require transferring since we paid the landlords directly and they kept the bills in their name, and I’ve never known a letting agent to get involved with the council tax, they certainly didn’t when we moved in. Do I have a right to more thorough break-down of costs?

Any advice you can provide is much appreciated! 🙂

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Tenant

Hello, 

Great questions, thank you. See the answers below:

1) You’re not entitled to your full deposit back on this alone. In fact, there are no repercussions for the landlord at all. The 10 day period is given as grace for the landlord to arrange all the check-out procedures and then handle the deposit return. 

If they don’t you’re given the chance to claim it yourself, but there are no compensations out of it.

2) In order to fully understand the situation, a copy of the tenancy agreement is mandatory. However, do note that the official legislation stands above tenancy agreement in the hierarchy and in case the two contradict, it’s the official laws that you need to obey. 

3) The only requirement for letting agent fees is for them to be publicly advertised on their website, which in this case is true. Now, regardless of the work done, any agent can freely charge whatever they want. There is no law to regulate letting agent fees, which is why there are so many campaigns aiming to introduce rules or completely remove fees.

Final – In this case you’re completely overwhelmed and I’m sad to predict your failure. Letting agent fees are almost non-disputable and I doubt this dispute will get you anything but stress.

 

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