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Deposit not secured properly- who to take to Court

Started by Student2000, August 15, 2023, 05:41:44 PM

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Hi I rented a student flat for 2 years with some other students and during the deposit return process we found out that our deposits hadn't been secured correctly. We have sent LBA letters to the landlord/letting agent and they have been largely ignored. We are looking into taking this to Court but as the situation is a bit complicated, we are hoping you might be able to give us some advice.

Contract one had 4 tenants, the deposit was paid and a contract was issued. The Prescribed Information sent to us with the contract said the Insured Scheme would be used to secure the deposit.  A few days later the deposit was secured but using the Custodial scheme. A couple of months later the deposit was secured again using the Insured scheme and a certificate was issued to us. The deposit under the Custodial scheme wasn't cancelled.

Contract 2 at the end of the first year one tenant left and another joined. A new contract was issued, and extra deposit was paid. The 1st deposit held under the Insured scheme was cancelled (we found this out when trying to sort out the deposit return through the Deposit company as the agent refused to answer any of our emails, but that's another story). The deposit held under the Custodial scheme had the amount of deposit updated but they didn't amend the names of the tenants. The Prescribed Information sent with the second contract said again that the Insured scheme would be used for the deposit.

When we couldn't find our deposits to start the return process we contacted the Deposit Company and they confirmed the dates and amounts and which schemes had been used. To make it more complicated on the first contract an employee of the Letting company is listed as the landlord and on the second contract the actual landlord's name has been given. The letting company has also changed its name 3 times since the first contract. We have checked and all the companies have the same director: the landlord. We have also confirmed that he owns the house and has done so for over 10 years.

We sent our LBA letters to the registered address of the Letting Company and this letter was delivered, a copy went to the Letting Company premises but was refused. We also sent emails to the Letting Company, the landlord and the employee listed on the first contract as the landlord. We did receive replies but not sure from who as the emails and attached letter were unsigned, they said they sent copies of the letters by post but they used the wrong address and wouldn't send out copies.

Our questions are
1.   Do we have a case on each of the contracts to take to Court and have a fair chance of winning.

2.   We are assuming that it would be two cases as it's two tenancies,  the adjudicator noted that they were treating it as two separate tenancies.

3.   Who should we take to Court? The landlord, the Letting company, the two different people on the contracts as landlord and if it's the company which one? The one at the time of the contracts or the latest company .

4.   Which reason should we list for each contract:
Contract one, the wrong Prescribed Information being given or the deposit secured over 60 days after it was paid or should we list both reasons?
Contract two the wrong Prescribed Information being given or that the name of one of the tenants on the deposit information doesn't match the tenants on the contract as they haven't updated the names.

We used the adjudicator to decided the return of the deposit/deductions and this has now been completed and the LBA letters were sent once the deductions had been sorted.

Any advice or information you can give us would be very helpful and we can then decide if this is worth pursuing.


1 - Either the deposits were protected and the Prescribed Information was issued correctly or they weren't and/or it wasn't. That's Black and White. If you make a claim it will be for the landlord to show that the claim is wrong, not vice versa.
2 - That sounds right.
3 - Either or both. I'd suggest both as they're the same person.
4 - Contract One, the deposit was protected (the PI having the wrong scheme name on it is an error, but the court may dismiss it as trivial).
Contract Two, it's hard to know if the deposit was protected or not, I think possibly, and the same issue with the  PI). In both cases, I'd expect the penalty to be at the low end of the scale, the landlord seems to have been incompetent but trying to do the right thing.

Making a claim is quite expensive and quite complex, and all of the tenants would have to be part of each claim.
It's up to you whether it's worth it or not.
I'd feel aggrieved if I were the landlord and you made a claim, and I'd fight it rather than settle.