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Deposit dispute

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« on: June 20, 2021, 09:14:01 AM »

Good morning

Can I please be helped with some advices

There are 2 contracts signed over the property rented. First for Aug’19 - Aug’20 the other one Aug’20 - Aug’22.

The landlord has completely failed to register the deposit for the 1st contract and for the 2nd he did it late, 10 months after we signed the contract and only because I have insisted to have it registered with DPS as I wanted to provide the 2 months notice. He wasn’t aware we want to leave. I was said by him he has his own DPS…all kind of jokes.

I have tried to get legal advice but the amount of money I am asked to pay is between £1200 and £1700, while my deposit is £1610.

I was said by a lawyer I can take up to 3 times the deposit but I don’t really trust them.

What is your opinion ? What chances I have to win? And if It will be to sue him, when should I do it? Now, when I am still at his property or after I left and received hopefully my deposit in full?

Thank you
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2021, 10:38:40 AM »

If the second contract is for a fixed term that ends in August 2022, then what "2 months notice"? Is there a break clause?

Yes, you can sue for a deposit protection penalty. The penalty amount assuming you're in England is between one and three times the amount of the deposit, per non-compliance. Two tenancies means two times penalty, so total 2x - 6x.

Google and see Shelter website for more information.

If everything is as you described, then you will win assuming you get the legal procedure right. If the case is simple enough, there will be lawyers who will take it on on a no-win-no-fee basis, you can consider that.
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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2021, 10:53:17 AM »

Thank you KTC for your reply

There is a break clause of 2 months, which I just provided to him on 16 of this month.

There are 2 contracts signed since Aug 2019, but I only payed deposit once, early August 2019.

Am I in right to sue him and ask deposit protection penalty for both contracts even though I payed only once the deposit ?

Thank you
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« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2021, 11:34:54 AM »

Yes, the deposit is deemed to have been repaid to you when the first tenancy ended and immediately paid by you back to the landlord for the second tenancy, so the requirements to protect the deposit applied again at the start of the second tenancy.
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« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2021, 11:47:23 AM »

When do you reckon I should act against him ? Now while I am still at the property ( until 16th of Aug ) or after I have left and got, hopefully, the £1610.

Even though I may get my deposit in full I still want to sue him. I have a few serious reasons for that.
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« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2021, 02:12:54 PM »

My suggestion would to move out first.

Then search for a legal advice service that deals with incorrectly protected deposits. It's a pretty simple system and should cost considerably less than what you have been quoted.

If you want to take further action than that then the level of legal action you need will be increased.
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2021, 09:51:30 AM »

I would wait until you have left.

This will also give you a better vibe... recognising you have other issues... as to whether the Landlord aims to be fair with your Deposit. Although, you seem to be expecting the Landlord to return the £1,610 without any deduction whatsoever... is that realistic (not many of my tenancies end with no Deposit deduction at all), or do you mean you expect it back in full because it wasn't properly protected?

There is no rush on your action. You have years to act. Best to do it after you leave the property. Maintain contact details and, likely, start with a Letter Before Action (templates available)... potentially avoiding any suing. Kicking things off while you're in the property is unwise in the extreme.
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« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2021, 05:28:47 PM »

Thank you Hippogriff for your advice

It is expected to have deposit returned in full as the property has just been inspected by the landlord and all his family ( that’s how he likes to come over ) - 2 weeks ago.

Over the 22 months since I have the property he came over 3 times and each time he was impressed of how we take care of his property and said we are some of his best tenants he ever had. We got the property unfurnished, shouldn’t be any issue.

I will follow your advices and I’ll sue after I leave.
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2021, 10:46:33 AM »

An Inspection is really only valid on the last day of the tenancy... or at a formalised Check-Out... not two weeks ago. Be careful to set your expectations appropriately.
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« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2021, 11:13:57 PM »

Thank you Hippogriff for your answer.

We have left the property since 1st of August, but contract ended today. Inspection took place today,  landlord well impressed how we kept his property, that we have even hired a professional cleaning company for £300 even though wasn’t need it. My request to have my £1600 deposit returned accepted, just waiting the money to get to my bank acc, DPS has made the transfer.

Now, I am trying to be a fair guy and I’m asking for other people opinions as I may be wrong, we all ( I think ) take decisions from time to time which we after regret.

A few reasons made me want to sue this guy

* when we signed the ctr with the agency we understood the landlord wants £1300. Because we wanted the property I offered £1400. At the end of the ctr ( 12 months ) the landlord thought is a good idea to try his luck and added a clause in the new ctr that after the 10th month he has “ the right “ to increase the rent. I reckon this is a greedy person and I really dislike such people. Obviously I argued this new thing and asked him at least to have a limit, a percentage written down. Then I got a new ctr with a 6% maximum. I have pointed to him I am not happy and I don’t find it fair as he has already £100 extra. And it needs to be said, we are talking about East London, a property quite old, completely empty apart from a washing machine and a cooker.

* the thing that he has failed to register our deposit for the 1st ctr and for the 2nd he has register it only because I insisted 10 months late, to me,proves again greediness. It really annoyed me when the guy said he has his own DPS and he doesn’t need to register it.

* even though ctr was due to end on 16th of Aug, the landlord was insisting on having the property back on 14th or 15th as for him living so far from London is hard to travel. In the same time he was requesting payment including 16th. £1400 : 30= £47/day GREEDY

When we let him know we’ll leave and provided 2 months notice, we got an offer from him to pay £1300 12 months. I refused as I couldn’t stand this guy anymore and however my decision was taken.

Today he has tried to explain that my deposit wasn’t registered as it should just because he forgot. I think he has a feeling that I may pursue against him.

Would you sue him guys ? I understood from you that there are high chances to win.

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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2021, 11:18:37 PM »

From what you describe you certainly have a strong case.

I would take action, if I were in your position.
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« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2021, 11:29:03 PM »

Thank you for your reply INSPECTOR

I will follow Hippogriff advice and send him a letter. I will ask x1.5 per contract. Obviously he will refuse and then I’ll go to court where I’ll follow lawyer advice.
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« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2021, 06:20:28 PM »

Yes, the deposit is deemed to have been repaid to you when the first tenancy ended and immediately paid by you back to the landlord for the second tenancy, so the requirements to protect the deposit applied again at the start of the second tenancy.


Hi guys

Got in touch with 4 solicitors and not one said I am in right to claim up to 3 times per contract, all 4 advised I can only claim once.
No one wants my situation on a no win no fee basis as the £4800 is too low :)

Am I having bad luck and this people are very busy for the moment or my case is so complicated and requires a lot of time ? :)

I didn’t send any letter to my landlord yet.
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« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2021, 09:41:46 PM »

I would start with that letter. It is almost a required step, in that everyone wants to avoid a Court case if there's any chance to settle. I'm assuming you are just about to leave the property, if you have not already done so?
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« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2021, 09:52:39 PM »

The pre-action protocol (i.e. letter setting out your position and time for discussion) *is* a required step.  ;D

The case is fairly simple based on original description. The lawyers you spoke to couldn't have guarantee one penalty per tenancy as there's no binding precedent on this but they shouldn't have advise you it's not possible. Most (not all) people and prior court judgments agree that it's one penalty per tenancy.
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« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2021, 09:52:56 PM »

That’s the thing, not sure what to write in to the letter. Am I asking compensations for 1 contract or 2 ?
However, I wouldn’t ask for more than x1,5 per contract to get x1.
I left the property on 16th of this month and I got my deposit ( as explained above ).
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« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2021, 10:48:20 PM »

Negotiation 101 says... ask for the maximum you believe is allowed, then open yourself up to "...reasonable offers to bring this matter to an end."

Personally, I'm a little soft... but you should probably start out by explaining to the ex-Landlord that it's the law that says "up to 3x per tenancy" and therefore at least suggest you'll definitely be seeking "3x for both tenancies, plus costs" but then make it really clear that if the Landlord has a suggestion to make, to avoid Court, you will be receptive. Because, after all, what you want is just... something, right?
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« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2021, 11:26:23 PM »

Thank you Hippogriff for your precious advices.
I don’t even want this guy money, but I feel like someone needs to stop him from what’s he’s doing. I wrote a few of my reasons why I am after him.

You just can’t tell to your tenants, with full arrogance, that you have your own DPS and you don’t need to protect deposits.
You can’t take 2 hours of my time explaining to me how hard was your life when you moved to UK and then being greedy and increase rent when you already got more than you asked for.

It looks like I have the same issue with my actual landlord. 21 days since I moved into his property and there’s no sign of having my deposit protected. What’s wrong with this people ? And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even have a license to rent. He advertised the property for £1250 and then he insisted to get +£25 from me and to have me repairing around. Why are people so greedy this days ?






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« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2021, 08:12:30 PM »

Hi guys,

I have received an answer from my former landlord to my letter
Can I please have your opinion

“ Thank you for your recent letter.
Having met you at the property on Monday, 16th August 2021 for the property inspection for the end of tenancy I felt we had a pleasant meeting at the property.
However I am surprised to receive your letter regarding the rent deposit as you never mentioned during our meeting that you are going to put forward your claim. I feel this was a missed opportunity for us to discuss this matter during our last meeting if you had concerns.
I would like to correct the information which you previously misunderstood regarding my DPS membership account. Please note I hold an account with DPS as a landlord where I deposit all the deposit funds for my properties.
If you think you have a case to pursue in court then I am happy to stand in front of the Judge to provide evidence of my DPS account.
Furthermore, you may be familiar with the case of Okadigbo v Chan, 2015. This case sets out how the Court should exercise its discretion regarding deposit counterclaims. The behaviour of the landlord is taken into account and I will highlight that the following factors will work in my favour to reduce any award made to the lowest possible amount. These factors are:
That I have been a landlord for over 20 years with no such other claims having been made against me
I have a dedicated bank account to store my deposits in and the DPS automatically protect all deposits within that account
Please write directly to my solicitor on the following contact details, should you wish to procced with your claim.”


It doesn’t make sense what this guys is saying regarding his account with DPS. If he has whatever bullshit he’s saying, why then he has protected my deposit with DPS when I have insisted to have it protected otherwise I’ll sue.
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« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2021, 10:05:52 PM »

If that's the response, then there's really nothing further to discuss.

Confirm in writing with DPS (probably advisible to do so with MyDeposits & TDS while you're at it) when if at all the deposit was protected. Double check all the information you have ever received from the landlord to see if any deposit prescribed information was given - it may have for example came together with your tenancy agreement.

Quote
That I have been a landlord for over 20 years with no such other claims having been made against me
That there have not been such claims before, okay. But that they have been landlord for a long time is not an argument that will help them. It just mean they should know better.

Quote
I have a dedicated bank account to store my deposits in and the DPS automatically protect all deposits within that account
That make no sense. That's not how deposit protection work. DPS isn't protecting what's in any particular landlord's bank account. The landlord either send DPS the money, or the landlord pay DPS a fee. DPS don't automatically do anything just because there's extra money in the LL's bank account.
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« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2021, 10:15:31 PM »

At the commencement of the tenancy everything should have been provided to you regarding your Deposit. This is known as the Prescribed Information. It tells you everything you need to know about your Deposit - where it is, how much it is, when it was protected, how you go about a Dispute etc. etc. etc..

If you don't have that then the Landlord has already failed in their obligations.

Now, as you are aware, you can go to the Deposit Protection Schemes (all of them, there's only 3) and check for your Deposit. You just need to enter a few details... it's very simple. For example, at the Deposit Protection Service... you can go to https://myaccount.depositprotection.com/#tenancy/checkDepositStatus and enter the details... do whatever you can, they don't need to be perfect... it does a fuzzy search for you - I just tried for one of my properties (deliberately not getting some of the stuff exactly correct) and it'll come back with something like - "A deposit matching your search is protected..."

Do this until you find it... if you can't find it then it wasn't protected... but that only confirms what you know, right?

It is irrelevant whether you had a good discussion at your last meeting and you didn't raise this (that's a guilt-trip attempt).
It is irrelevant how long he has been a Landlord (but if he didn't protect it then he should know better).
It is irrelevant if he's had no previous cases raised against him (all his other Tenants might have been schmucks).
There is no such thing as "automatic protection" of Deposits within a separate bank account. Every time a tenancy commences the Landlord has to do some admin., nothing is automatic.

The Landlord sounds shady... but we only have what you're telling us, obviously. I would progress this... but ensure you do your due diligence anyway.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2021, 09:18:03 AM by Hippogriff »
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« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2021, 11:02:10 PM »

Thank you for both replies

Hippogriff, I would have no reason whatsoever to present the situation other than it is, it wouldn’t make sense, it wouldn’t help me to get precious advises from you guys :)

I told you from the start the landlord is dodgy, he thinks he’s clever and everyone around him is stupid or, at least, not as clever as he is.

I am not replying to him even though I should, at least to let him know there are a few differences between the case from 2015 he has pointed to me and our situation:

Chan family, as the judge said, had no experience, first time renting - my landlord is renting for 20+ years
Chan family had and agency hired to protect the deposit which failed to do so - my former landlord didn’t have an agency

I have already instructed a solicitor, one of the biggest in London, on a no win no fee basis, 33% of whatever I may win, as I want them full in. They reckon I will 100% get at least x4 the deposit.I would have accepted even to give them 99%, just to see this guy crying, losing as much as the law would allow.

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« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2021, 11:37:16 PM »

Personally, if I was formally going to court and not just thinking about it, I would get formal written responses from the schemes confirming the lack of protection rather than just relying on the websites. The websites good but not perfect, and for court you want to be sure. That said, it is for the landlord to prove it was protected, not for the tenant to prove a negative, so take my opinion as what it is, an opinion from a random stranger on the internet.

If you have instructed a solicitor, let them handle it, stop talking to the landlord without the solicitor involvement (if that's what you've been doing). Make sure you comply with the conditional fee agreement with the solicitor. You don't want to accidentally do or say something that put you in breach resulting in you having to pay the solicitors fees yourself.
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« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2021, 08:29:27 AM »

Thank you KTC

The only communication with the landlord is the letterI have sent to him and his answer to my letter. There will be no other communication between us. And even the letter I have sent it hopping we’ll get to some sort of agreement, but he is stubborn and thinks he owns the world.

I actually have 2 solicitors :) One for the deposit and another one investigating if he has a license to rent, as you need one in the area where he has this property.

I will let you know how it end it.
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« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2021, 09:01:07 AM »

Please do let us know how it ends.  Too often people come on here for advice and we don't get to know the results.
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« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2021, 10:09:53 AM »

His letter to you is very telling..Despite protesting that everything is kosher,he mentions that he would expect a minor penalty because of his good track record.This is a landlord who does deserve to be taken down a peg or two.Good luck.
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« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2021, 01:15:08 PM »

....I will highlight that the following factors will work in my favour to reduce any award made to the lowest possible amount.

I still do think it might be worth pointing-out directly... that a) the Landlord here appears to admit that they accept an award will be made... and b) the lowest possible amount for non-compliance is still 1x per tenancy... not £0.

If you both happened to want to settle out of Court for that (or something that adds in some extra costs or something) wouldn't that be a win... and avoid any lost winnings / fees going to Solicitors? It feels, to me, like this Landlord needs to be able to take any emotion out of the decision... make it a simple numbers game.
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« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2021, 07:58:41 PM »

This is what I meant by OP needing to make sure they comply with their conditional fee agreement. Since they've already instructed the solicitor on the CFA, it'll almost certainly be the case that any solicitor's cut will apply to any settlement. What's more, it's possible/likely that the agreement will say that if client don't settle when the solicitor recommends it, the client is liable to all fees etc.
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« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2021, 05:58:33 PM »

Please do let us know how it ends.  Too often people come on here for advice and we don't get to know the results.

Hi guys,

As I promised here I come with an update. My solicitor has sent a request for x2 per tenancy, around £6500.

Today we have received LL’s solicitor reply, which you can find below.

“Whilst it is accepted that the facts in your chronology are accurate and that our client failed to comply with the relevant deposit protection legislation, we refer to the case of Okadigbo & Anor v Chan & Anor [2014] EWHC 4729 QB which sets out the factors that the Court may consider when deciding to exercise their discretion as to the value of a deposit claim.
 
Factors that we consider to be relevant here are:
 
Our client has a 20+ year history of managing multiple properties; he has protected deposits on all of these tenancies and this is the first time anything like this has occurred.
The reason why the deposit was not protected is because our client’s agents, , accidentally transferred the deposit to the wrong bank account. Our client has a special bank account for deposits and any deposit that enters that account is automatically registered with the DPS. Had our client’s agents transferred the deposit to the correct account then it would have been protected within the requisite timescales.
As soon as our client became aware of the problem he immediately moved the deposit to the DPS account and thus protected it.
The deposit has already been returned to your client without deductions.
 
We consider our client to be at the lowest possible end of the culpability spectrum and so expect the Court to make the lowest possible award. We further note that you expect this matter to fall within the Fast Track; notwithstanding the value of the claim would not exceed £10,000, we would nevertheless request that it is dealt with within the Small Claims Track as liability has been admitted and the issues to discuss are straight forward. Costs would be sought within the appropriate track.
 
Accordingly our client is prepared to make the following offer in full and final settlement of this matter:
 
1x the value of the deposit, per breach, for a total of £3,300.
 
Our client has indicated that he will not improve upon this offer and is prepared to go to Court if this offer is not accepted. Accordingly the offer does not have a time limit though may be withdrawn if proceedings are issued. We reserve the right to show this letter to the Court in the event that costs are discussed.”


A lot of bullshit. That 2014 case has nothing in common with mine, the deposit was registered with DPS the very next day after LL came for an inspection and I threatened him I will sue if my deposit is not protected. The fact that the deposit has been returned in full proves what kind of a tenant I was, the LL has no merit into this.

That description of the DPS account they claim they have, makes me wonder if this people ever used DPS, if they know how it works. His reply frustrates me a little bit. Can you really lie to a judge like that?
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« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2021, 08:36:15 PM »

I hear you Andrew..I really do...

But, for a Judge to be convinced, you need hard evidence that you can proove.

My legal knowledge is limited and I have only recently learning about all this as I am also making a claim against a rogue LL, so take my advice with a heavy pinch of salt.

So, you are likely to win the case, and the losing party normally pays for the costs, it cannot be an issue that should worry you.

He clearly breached section 213 for the first contract fully and for the second for 90% of the time. Combined with this, if you can prove he has been unreasonable over the year, then Judge may grand 3x for the first contract ans 2x for the second.

The fact that he is a professional landlord for 20 years, he should know better. No claim for 20 years may also mean Tenants did not make claim, not that he has been legit.

His claim of a bank account and automatic DPS protection is crap..is that what he been doing for 20 years ?1

So, I would proceed with the claim without hesitation.

good luck.
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