Transfer of deposit from letting agent to landlord

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    Transfer of deposit from letting agent to landlord

    Hi

    We have decided to stop using our letting agent for a number of reasons. The issue I have is that the agent who had deposited two sets of deposits (with the DPS) has refused to transfer the deposits to our DPS account.

    I had written to the DPS who then advised the agent of the transfer request, giving them the opportunity to object. They have now objected and so stopped the transfer.

    I have agreed with the two sets of tenants what the deductions (for damages) should be and they are happy for the deposits to be transferred to our DPS accounts.

    The DPS are saying their hands are tied and can do no more. Surely the fact that the tenants would like the deposits transferred to us and we want the deposits to be transferred to us should mean that the agent canot stop the transfer?

    I have a couple of questions that I hope someone can help with:

    1) What can I do (or what would you do) now?
    2) The tenants may persue the release of the deposits due to them - who could they persue?
    3) If the answer to 2) is me (the landlord), can I persue the agent (through the courts) for the transfer? Should it be for the full deposit value or only the portion that relates to damages?

    Hope someone can offer their opinion?

    #2
    1) Not a lot
    2) They would pursue you, the deposit is being held on your behalf
    3) Yes you can - it would be the full deposit amount, presuming you had previously re-paid the tenants whatever was due to them.
    3b) Alternatively, you could make a claim for the agent to do the transfer before the tenancy ends - a non-money claim is £175.

    Do you trust your tenant? I wonder what would happen if they requested the return of the deposit from the agent? Would they re-pay so you could protect it yourself?

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
      1) Not a lot
      2) They would pursue you, the deposit is being held on your behalf
      3) Yes you can - it would be the full deposit amount, presuming you had previously re-paid the tenants whatever was due to them.
      3b) Alternatively, you could make a claim for the agent to do the transfer before the tenancy ends - a non-money claim is £175.

      Do you trust your tenant? I wonder what would happen if they requested the return of the deposit from the agent? Would they re-pay so you could protect it yourself?
      Thank you Snorkerz for your reply. In response:

      1) I am owed approx £850 in damages (that the tenants have agreed to have deducted) I am prepared to write this off but am more worried about being persued (by the tenants) for the remainder of the two deposits as this comes to approx £3350

      2) Strange that they can persue me but I cannot release the deposits back to them?

      3) There are no sums due to the tenants (other than the balance of the deposits)

      3b) What is a non-monetary claim? I also have approx £1000 owing from the agent (for rent received but not passed onto me). Can I take this route before the tenants legally persue me for the deposits?

      Would you advise getting legal advice or would this generally be straight-forward?

      Comment


        #4
        2) Because you chose the agent, the tenant didn't. You told the tenant to pay the deposit to the agent, it was your choice and if you made a poor decision (no criticism intended) then it is not their issue.

        3) Yes, that is what I meant

        3b) NMC is a court claim for them to do something - for instance you might want a court to order a tenant to give you access for an inspection. In this case you want them to order the agent to transfer the deposit. You could do that in parallel with a money-claim. I'm not a lawyer but your best course of action would seem to be to commence a claim against the agent for
        1) Your £1k
        2) for them to transfer the deposit
        3) maybe a fee refund because they are obviously not doing what you pay them for.

        This would be allocated to 'small claims' where you would not be able to recover your solicitor fees, so DIY is the most practical route. A book on the 'small claims process' will cost you under £20.

        Comment


          #5
          Again thank you for your time/reply.

          Given the components under 3b), I assume this becomes a monetary (online) claim (costing £210). I will also include interest on the outstanding rent (and possibly interest on the deposits, assuming that the tenants could persue me for interest on the deposits?).

          Is there a particular book that you recommend? The agent has inhouse legal advice and so I need to make sure that I don't make a mistake/omission.

          Thank you

          Comment


            #6
            Small Claims is 'designed' for litigants in person (DIY) so the courts allow a certain degree of leniency over procedure etc. I have a book by Patricia Pearl who seems to be quite well recommended.

            If your agent have an 'in house legal advice' that suggests they are not a one-man band, do they have an internal complaints procedure you can follow? Are you talking to organ grinders or monkeys? Are they members of any trade association? ARLA, NALS, TPOS? They may be a better route to resolve this.

            Comment


              #7
              I've just ordered the book - thank you.

              The person I have been dealing with is director and partner of a one-man band agency. I assume the complaints procedure would be to complain to him which I guess would follow my previous letters that have been sent to him.

              The agency is signed up to the Property Ombudsman scheme but having spoken with them, it can take upto six months to reach a conclusion if the agency is unresponsive (which is an understatement).

              Comment


                #8
                Small claims won't be any quicker and TPOS will be free, but I suspect I would follow the court route.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I'm inclined to do the same - will keep you posted.

                  Thanks

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                    2) Because you chose the agent, the tenant didn't. You told the tenant to pay the deposit to the agent, it was your choice and if you made a poor decision (no criticism intended) then it is not their issue.

                    3) Yes, that is what I meant

                    3b) NMC is a court claim for them to do something - for instance you might want a court to order a tenant to give you access for an inspection. In this case you want them to order the agent to transfer the deposit. You could do that in parallel with a money-claim. I'm not a lawyer but your best course of action would seem to be to commence a claim against the agent for
                    1) Your £1k
                    2) for them to transfer the deposit
                    3) maybe a fee refund because they are obviously not doing what you pay them for.

                    This would be allocated to 'small claims' where you would not be able to recover your solicitor fees, so DIY is the most practical route. A book on the 'small claims process' will cost you under £20.
                    Sorry - just to be sure - would I have to raise one NMC and one MC?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Not 100% sure but I think you would be ok with them on the same claim.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                        Not 100% sure but I think you would be ok with them on the same claim.
                        Sounds good. I will be using your website (http://www.tenancyservices.co.uk/) as a thankyou - promise!

                        Comment

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