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Is my landlord still responsible for securing my deposit?

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281 views 1 replies latest reply: 03 December 2015
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Tenant

Hi, first of all, I need to say that I’ve been very foolish over this, but hope that someone can still be of help. When I moved in to my current place 6 months ago, I paid a deposit, but not to the landlord, to the person whose room I was taking. When I met the other housemates before moving in, it was them who told me that’s how things worked, so I thought nothing of it. I paid using a bank transfer, but didn’t get a receipt. However, I can easily get some kind of letter from the guy, as I can get in touch with him. 

But then, it got to a point where there was a complete turnaround in the house, and none of the 4 housemates knew anything about where the deposit was actually kept. We don’t have a written tenancy at the moment, as he brought one for us to sign, but we noticed some details on it were wrong, so he took it away to amend it, and nothing has happened since, despite me asking about it. He always gives some excuse.

However, we do have a copy of the contract the old tenants had, and it mentions the deposit being held with mydeposits. So I emailed them, but they responded to say that, according to their records, they don’t have our deposit secured with them. They have advised me to write to my landlord for confirmation, which is going to be my next step (recorded delivery letter, so I know he gets it). But before I send it, I wanted to check that he’s still responsible for having out deposit secured, even though we’ve been giving it to people as we move in? I was under the impression that he had the money secured, but he just got us to give each other the money for ease of moving. 

Again, I know have been extremely naive and stupid over this, but any help would be very gratefully received.

Thank you,

David

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Agent

Hello David,

You have not been naive or stupid – landlord and tenant law is never easy to understand at the best of times! Firstly, even though there is no written tenancy  agreement , doesnt mean there is no valid tenancy.  There is a valid legally binding contract in place – with the elements of offer, acceptance and consideration, providing the rent has been paid and the Landlord has accepted the rent? It sounds as if the deposit share for each room has been paid direct to the person moving out of the room, by the person who is moving into the room? As you say, eventually now with all the moving in and out, nobody is quite sure where the original deposit is held? However, when the very first tenants moved in, the Landlord had a legal obligation at that time to protect the deposit in one of the authorised schemes so I agree that you need to contact your Landlord – good idea to send the letter recorded delivery so he must sign for it – and ask him for details of where he has protected the deposit. It may be worth your while knowing that the penalty for a landlord who has not protected a deposit is a fine – payable by the Landlord to the tenants – up to the value of three months rent. So if the rent is £1,000 pcm for example, the landlord faces a potential fine of up to £3,000 for non compliance. He also loses the right to serve a section 21 Notice on you – so he cannot ask you to leave – you may find that if you mention these things to him, it will focus his attention somewhat! Good luck!

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