landlord without deposit scheme, nor HMO licence (probably)

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    landlord without deposit scheme, nor HMO licence (probably)

    Hello everyone

    to make it short, I found myself almost forced to leave my current place (I wasn't kicked out, I decided to leave), but likely I found another place so I will be moving there soon.

    However, I can sense some "tension" and the possibility that the landlords will not pay me the deposit back.
    In which case I would like to be prepared and act quickly, in order not to be messed about for months.

    Basically, the situation of the current place is this:

    - Live out landlords (couple)
    - semi-detached house with 4 bedrooms (5 people living in the house, sharing 2 bathrooms and 1 kitchen)
    - landlords never gave me any proof of being part of a security deposit scheme (I moved in long ago and at the time I didn't really think about those things, but anyway I've never had problems with them... until now, so never thought about it). So, I take for a fact they are just "holding" my deposit without any scheme.
    - I am not sure if the landlord has the proper HMO licence? How do I check that?

    So, what I would like to do before moving out is to at least figure out the landlord's address, which I never had (it's not even on the contract).
    On the contract there is only the name of one of the two, so I guess I would only need his address? Although considering the current climate, I don't think he will be willing to give it to me. I suppose I am entitled to demand it?

    So, in case they will actually be difficult:

    - How can I make sure I get his address before I move out?
    - How to report the fact that they are not registered with a deposit scheme?
    - How do I check for sure if he has the HMO licence?
    - In case he doesn't have it, how do I report it?
    - I've read that he would have to pay a huge fine, plus being force to pay up to 12 month of rent back to each tenant? Would that come automatically?
    - Would you suggest me to do all this AFTER I move out, to avoid any possible retaliation? or is it something I should do while I am still living here?

    And of course, any other suggestion that you think I might need is very much appreciated.

    Thank you very much

    #2
    Fairly easy to check is your deposit is protected (but I agree sounds unlikely) from the experts -
    https://england.shelter.org.uk/housi...t_is_protected

    Spend £3 with land registry
    https://www.gov.uk/search-property-i...-land-registry
    - takes 10 mins online
    - and get deeds naming owner & the address they've given (but it might be the property)

    Surely your fellow tenants have some knowledge?? Neighbours??

    Contact local council HMO team and have a chat... £5 says he's not got a licence.

    £10 says he'll say he lives there.

    One option worth considering is pointing out dangers of a case of deposit x 3 claim, HMO problems with council, reporting him to HMRC (fiddling one place often a sign they're doing it elsewhere) and would be perhaps return deposit to avoid these issues. Get the money. Then report the crook.
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks theartfullodger for the response, much appreciated!
      Actually the landlord now lives abroad, although he still gets letters/bills on his name on this address, so he must be still registered with this address.

      Anyway I will check the deposit scheme and the HMO like you suggested, and if it's like I think... they will have a big "surprise" coming their way!

      So, do you think I should do all this before moving out? Or should I wait to be in the new place, then formally ask for the deposit, etc...?

      Comment


        #4
        Councils sometimes publish a register of licensed HMOs on their website. Its worth a look as in addition to the 3x deposit that you may be able to claim, you might also get a Rent Repayment Order for up to 12 months rent refund if they don't have a licence.

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks DPT57. Yes I'm aware of the 12 month rent refund, although I am not sure how to apply for that and what kind of proofs do I need? And how do I do that? I was reading about it the other day and I think there are fees to pay and the possibility to be called for a hearing (which I must pay for too)?
          If you have any specific links to where I can find all the info related to this, then please let me know.

          Anyway I think I will wait until I am in the new house and then I will contact the local (to this current address) council and check about the HMO, then ask them how to proceed.
          I will also email all the three deposit schemes to please confirm in written form that my deposit is not with them, so that I have a tangible proof of that too.

          Please guys tell me if there is anything else that you think I should know/do about this, but anyway you have been quite helpful already, so thank you very much!

          Comment


            #6
            The landlord doesn't just have to protect your deposit, they have to give you written details of where it is in a document called the "Prescribed Information".
            When you've moved out, there are some good template letters and details of what to do on the Shelter wwb site.

            Hopefully it won't matter and you'll just routinely get your deposit back and can move on.
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

            Comment


              #7
              Thank you jpkeates.

              Actually, another question for everyone:

              I am not the only one leaving, someone else is moving too. So, by the time I move into the new flat and report the HMO license missing, only two people will remain (we are a couple, and the other thenant is alone, so 3 people will leave the house).
              this means that I will not be able to prove that 5 people were living there, I guess? I mean, of course I will keep my contract, so at least we can prove we were at least four... but perhaps the council/government are able to check that with other means?

              Just wanted to be sure about this, otherwise the landlord might just try to play smart and say that there has naver been 5 people in the house

              Comment


                #8
                You could ask the other tenants for copies of their contracts. Its in their interest as if you're successful in your claim, they could make one too.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
                  You could ask the other tenants for copies of their contracts. Its in their interest as if you're successful in your claim, they could make one too.
                  I'm afraid that is not an option, unfortunately, as that person was another reason why we were moving (long story...) so that is definitely off the table.

                  This is why I am wondering if there is a way the council/government will be able to confirm what I will tell them, or is it going to be my word against the landlord's? Or if there is any other way to get some solid evidence? For example I can take a picture of the next letter the other tenant gets, so that it's visible full name and address. I guess that would do?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    In that case maybe just focus on the deposit claim. That's hard enough!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Is it really that difficult to prove there were five people living in the house? I mean, t's also in the interest of the council to check how many people actually lived at the house, so they must have the means to do that?

                      I don't want him to get away with it so easily, honestly.

                      Comment

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