Cookies must be enabled for this site to function properly

Topics / Deposits 

start a new discussion

Unsolicited deductions from Deposit

5 helpful votes
This is the number of people who have indicated that they have found this discussion useful.
721 views 6 replies latest reply: 18 February 2015
Photo
Tenant

Hi there,

I would like to share my story and at the same time take your advice with regards to the unsolicited deductions the letting agent made on behalf of the landlord.

I moved out in September 2014 and clearly communicated to the letting agents about the money they owe me (Deposit, excess rent paid, etc).

After a week or so, they wrote back to me saying that they would deduct £100 for garden cleaning but contested this charge as the garden was not clean when I moved in, so I immediately informed them that I wouldn’t be cleaning the garden during my stay.

They didn’t respond to my email and after a wait of 2 months, transferred an amount far less than they owe me. Since then I have written them up to 10 – 15 emails and tried to reach the person responsible for deposit release. There was hardly any response from them.

Finally, I could get in touch with the concerned agent and she revealed that they had to deduct for repairing the fridge which was never brought to my attention until today.

What rights do I have? Are the letting agents to blame here? What is the best way to get the contact details of my landlord.

Thanks for your time.

Kind regards,

Naga

Photo
Administrator

Hi Naga

Your deposit should have been paid into a deposit protection scheme – this is a legal requirement and the landlord is legally required to notify you which scheme your deposit it held with (or the agent should do this on their behalf). You need to find out which scheme your deposit was held with and then you can raise a dispute – each scheme has an internal dispute resolution process to decide issues like this, including whether or not the amount the landlord/agent wants to deduct is fair. There’s more information here on how to get this information and what to do with it.

Remember that it’s not up to the landlord/agent to decide how much of the deposit is returned even though many of them act as if it is. It’s your money until you reach agreement so they’re not entiteld just to keep it without following the proper procedures.

If your deposit wasn’t protected in a deposit protection scheme then they have broken the law. You could then apply to court to have the deposit repaid to you and you may also be entitled to compensation of 1 – 3 times the amount of the deposit. It’s not difficult to apply to court to do this and well worth it if you want to get your money back – more info here.

Hope that’s helpful.

Alex

Photo
Tenant

Dear Alex,

 

Thanks for your kind response. The letting agent has protected the deposit in TDS (https://www.tds.gb.com/). But, when I called TDS, I have been told by their agent that since more than 90 days has passed since I moved out of the property, they can’t help me.

 

Since the letting agent never responded to my calls/messages, I never knew whether or not they are going to return the deposit or why they would make any deductions.

 

I believe that this is a case of negligence from the letting agent’s side. Since 90 days already passed, how can I resolve the dispute?

 

Kind regards,
Naga

Photo
Administrator

Hi Naga

It does say in their guidance that they can extend the time limit for raising a dispute if it’s fair to do so. The examples they give include where one of the parties has delayed matters – on page 3. You could contact them and ask them to extend it as your situation fits that exemption. They seem to be quite proud of their dispute resolving reputation so you could threaten to make a complaint about them if they refuse to be flexible and customer service orientated (but I would hold off on the threats until the very last minute and give them a chance to be helpful and reasonable first).

If this doesn’t work then you’ll have to claim your deposit back through the courts – there’s some info on how to do that here.

Alex

 

 

Photo
Tenant

Hi Alex,

 

Thanks for your advice – I contacted TDS but they are not willing to take the case. Their response is as follows?

 

Also, please can you tell me if my landlord/estate agent is responsible for renewing the TDS deposit certificate at the end of assured short hold letting when the contract turns into a periodic tenancy (month by month)? My current letting agent has done that at the end of “Assured short term let” and I wonder if the previous landlord/agent must have done the same? (they certainly didn’t)

 

Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Naga

 

Thank you for your email dated 11th February 2015. You have ask us to review your current dispute outside our 3 month timeframe.

 

A significant reason for the time limit which sometimes gets forgotten is that access to the adjudication must be done within a reasonable time whilst the evidence is still fresh in the minds of the parties involved. The parties would be agreeing to a process that does not involve a trial or hearing, and relies on the documentary evidence provided being taken at face value which means it is not tested as robustly as it would be in a court. It is also worth me stressing that TDS only works within a 3 month jurisdiction. Unfortunately, we are unable to make an exception on this case.

 

The only other options open to you would be:

 

1.            agreement between the landlord and tenant.

2.            Court order.

 

I am sorry if you are disappointed, but I am afraid that I cannot help you further. You may wish to ask for help from your local Citizens Advice Bureau, housing advice centre, law centre or other advice organisation.

 

 

Kind Regards

 

Paul Sidor

Complaints Resolution Officer

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Photo
Administrator

Hi Naga

Unfortunately it sounds as if court proceedings are your only option with respect to the deposit – the TDS doesn’t have to accept the case outside the 3 month limit. I would pay a visit to your local law centre for some advice on how to proceed or contact the Citizens Advice Bureau.

According to another deposit scheme, with a periodic tenancy the landlord should have informed the scheme that the tenancy had become periodic and then issued you with a Deposit Protection Certificate along with a scheme leaflet within 30 days – there’s more info on that here.

Alex

Photo
Tenant

Hi Alex,

 

Thanks again for your kind response. You have been really helpful.

 

I have asked the same question to TDS and their response is as follows. From what I understand, looks like TDS doesn’t enforce the letting agents/landlords to inform the tenant about switching from fixed term to periodic tenancy or re-issuing TDS certificate but the law demands that the letting agents/landlords to do so. Please let me know if I got it wrong.

 

If this is the case, I am happy to pursue the case with the help of Citizens Advice Bereau. Please can you advise?

 

Kind regards,

Naga

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Naga

 

Thank you for your email.

 

Once a deposit is registered with us, there is no need to reregister it at the expiry of the fixed term tenancy agreement in order to comply with our initial requirements. The landlord or agent should however, reissue prescribed information in order to comply with the current law, but this is not something that TDS is responsible for enforcing.

 

Kind regards

 

Ben Beadle

Director of Customer Relations

Showing 1 - 6 of 6 Comments
start a new discussion

Post a reply