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Deposit Never Placed Into Deposit Protection

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366 views 5 replies latest reply: 12 January 2016
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Tenant

Hello there,

Im reaching out for a little bit of advice.

We are going back a little bit, January 2013 to be precise when myself and my partner moved into a small property in Cornwall. We paid a £500 deposit to the landlord who confirmed that the deposit would be refunded on completion of the inspection/hand over of keys etc.

Now being fairly young and nieve we weren’t aware of the DPS and just thought that the deposit was managed by the landlord and was up to them to do what they would like, that was until he refused to return our deposit. At the time we did some digging and soon found out about the DPS and that our deposit should have been helpd in a DPS within 30 days, something that they did not do – I had checked with all of the relevant deposit schemes all of whom had no information of a deposit for the property we were renting. As im sure you can appreciate, being young and understanding the legal jargon behind the DPS and being faced with court, we decided that we should just potentially leave it and move on. That said the way we were treated by the landlord has always stuck with us and we feel it’s only right to persue matters now that we are a little more clued up.

The agreed duration of our tenancy was 3 months however no contract was provided or signed although we do have email traces where the landlord agrees to our conditions, and have full proof of payment of the deposit. Upon vacating there was further correspondence by email where we asked the landlord for our deposit back but then refused, stipulating that that property was left dirty (something which we dispute) and that was cause along with excessive internet charges (£80) which we were never informed of at the beginning of our tenancy.

In short, would I be right in saying that the landlord by LAW regardless of how the property was left, or the duration of our tenancy, should have still placed the deposit in a DPS and that we should in-fact continue to persue matters and refund of our deposit?

TIA

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Administrator

Hi Sam

If you are an assured shorthold tenant then yes this is a legal requirement and it’s non-negotiable. I’m not a lawyer so here are the conditions for a tenancy to be an assured shorthold tenancy: this page is gov advice to landlords so you can use it as proof if you need to. My only concern is the three month tenancy – I can’t find anything anywhere that indicates that would be too short but ASTs are normally at least six months – maybe have a word with someone at Citizens Advice if you want to be sure.

If a landlord doesn’t protect the deposit when they should have then you can take them to court to claim not just the deposit itself but also compensation that could be 1-3 times the amount of the deposit. It’s actually not that complex to do – there’s information here.

If you don’t have an assured shorthold tenancy then you can still make a claim against the landlord for the return of your cash – you would simply make a similar small claim and the landlord would have to justify to the court why he should retain the deposit under the tenancy agreement (which obviously he would struggle with as there isn’t one and presumably no inventory either). 

The first step in either case is to write to the landlord and send the letter recorded delivery so you have proof of receipt. Explain what has happened – including amounts and dates – and that you’re planning to take action. Give the landlord a time period within which to return your deposit and/or fully justify the reasons for keeping it with time stamped photos, receipts for work done and proof that any damage was your fault.

It doesn’t matter if you’re young! It doesn’t lessen your legal right not to be ripped off.

Alex

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Service provider

Hi Sam

As the poster above has said, based on what you have said, it sounds as though your deposit certainly should have been protected and you should also have been served with what is known as “Prescribed Information.”

I am a solicitor specialising in Landlord and Tenant Law and I may be able to take your case on. Certainly, I would be happy to have a chat about the case with you over the phone to give you some basic advice.

My contact number is 0333 200 5203.

Please feel free to give me a call if you would like to.

Kind regards

Michael.

 

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Tenant

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the offer, however it would seem the situation may be a little trickier than I first thought.

Having sought advice from alternative forums, they are stating that the landlord may press for the fact that it was a holiday let, and having a look back over the initial advert it does stipulate a ‘winter let’, however im not really sure what constitutes a ‘holiday let’ and whether there is actually a legal explanation or term of it? 

TIA

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Service provider

Hi Sam

Landlords will often use the term “holiday let” or “winter let” to try to give the impression that your tenancy is not an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, when in fact it is. This has obvious benefits for them because they can then try to avoid their obligations in relation to things like the deposit.

The legal definition of a holiday let is fairly narrow and quite straightforward- a holiday let is a lease of a property for a holiday or a period of recreation. Was your stay at the property for a holiday? If not, then the short/seasonal duration of the tenancy does not necessarily make it a holiday let.

As above, I’d be happy to discuss this in more detail with you, the number is above or feel free to drop me an email: michael.adamson@greenhalghkerr.com

Cheers

Michael.

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Administrator

Hi Sam

There are also other options for legal advice – just to cover all bases. As well as private practice solicitors such as Mr Adamson above, you can speak to Citizens Advice or someone at a Law Centre, as well as the people at Shelter.

Alex

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