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When a landlord holds on to the deposit without lodging it independently

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907 views 1 replies latest reply: 21 December 2013
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I have an elderly friend who gave up her tenancy recently only to find that her landlady had not transferred her deposit to an independent agency. The landlady was abroad at the time of handback and insisted that the keys be given to a ‘random’ person working in a local bakery before she returned two weeks later. She then held on to the deposit stating that she had to get a professional cleaner in to clean the flat (I am a professional pre-let cleaner who not only cleaned it ..but took tons of photos and videos to prove the state of the flat and posted them on Facebook that same night that the keys were handed back) She has kept the full £300 despite the tenant having gained a grant and new central heating being put in because of the tenant – upgrading the entire property! The problem is, we dont know who to go to, legally, to get the money back and also to report her for not putting the deposit with an independent agency. Can anyone advise? She is in Scotland!

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Tenant

Hi Sheena, depending on the type of tenancy your friend had she could be awarded up to 3 times her deposit by the Sheriff Court if the landlady did not protect her deposit. She must apply to the Sheriff Court within three months of her tenancy ending. She can get further advice about this from Shelter on their free phone number 0808 800 4444 or there may be a “no win no fee” solicitor willing to take on her case for her. You can find these solicitors/claims management companies by searching ‘deposit law Scotland’ or ‘is my deposit protected’ on Google. However, she needs to make absolutely certain that it is a “no win no fee” service before placing this matter with them. There have been a number of successful prosecutions of landlords in Scotland for not protecting their tenants’ deposits.

As far as the cleaning is concerned, well done you for taking photos and posting them on Facebook. This is a separate issue but considering that the landlady did not protect the deposit she will be entitled to a refund in any event and will possibly form part of her court case, since presumably she found out the deposit wasn’t protected when she asked for it back.

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