Using the ADR when landlord is claiming above deposit value

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    Using the ADR when landlord is claiming above deposit value

    Hello all,

    I would be grateful should you be able to guide me on the grounds of using ADR and suing the landlord for not protecting my deposit within 30 days.

    I have been living in a studio flat in London over the past two years.

    Two weeks prior to the end of my tenancy, my landlord (who owns an entire block of flats) had to make an emergency entrance into my property, due to the flat below experiencing water leakage from their ceiling (pipe issues). When the landlord entered, my flat was in a very unclean state, as I was suffered from depression for the past two years.

    My landlord took photos (without my consent) and is currently asking me to pay the full replacements costs (without considering the depreciation value or life span of the item) for all the items within the room. This was NOT the way I exited the flat. Prior to exiting my flat, I hired a professional cleaning team, and took photos of the clean state of the flat. The landlord has no evidence of damage at exit. Moreover, all items in my flat looked extremely old (8 years +) when I moved in; therefore, I should not be liable to the cost of NEW items.

    My landlord is currently claiming for costs of 'damages' of £2,100 in addition to my deposit £2,000 (Full claim by landlord: £4,100)!

    In the process, however, I have also discovered that the landlord breached Section 212 to 215 of Housing Act 2004, and failed to:
    a) Protect my deposit within 30 days (they were late by three weeks),
    b) Failed to send me to prescribed information within 30 days my three-month fixed term tenancy (my tenancy converted to a rolling contract after 3 months); they only sent me the first part of the prescribed information in the four month of tenancy.
    c) Never served the second part of the prescribed information which describes the operations contained in section 212 to 215 of Housing Act 2004, and the procedures/facilities that enable a dispute relating to the service.

    With all this in mind, I am wondering what you believe would be the most advisable route to take:

    1. I intend to first use the ADR for the deposit of £2,000, and state my full case, including the full cost that the landlord is claiming. When I receive my deposit back, would this act as direct evidence that the landlord's additional claim is unlawful? Can they still take me to court for the £2,100 above the deposit? If I receive any amount of deposit back, this should mean they do not have a case to continue claiming anything.

    2. After using the ADR, I intend to sue the landlord for 1x to 3x the deposit breaching section 212 to 215 of Housing Act 2004; I understand that this procedure cannot be completed in a small claims court, and therefore, intend to use no-win, no-fee lawyers. Following on from question 1, would the landlord somehow be able to counterclaim this, and bring up the £2,100 above the deposit value here, even after the ADR has reviewed the full case, and returned my deposit?

    3. Given the points three points made above in relation to the landlord breaching Section 212 to 215 of Housing Act 2004, what multiple of the deposit would you suggest I claim? The landlord is a property management company, and has been in the property business for 30 years+. Therefore, they should be well-aware of property laws.

    Thank you very much, and I look forward to hearing from you.

    1 - That's a sensible approach. Note that in most cases you and the landlord will submit your assertions about the deposit at the same time and have no opportunity to see what the other is asserting, so make sure that your point about the timing of the photos comes across. There is nothing to stop the landlord claiming the "additional" £2,100 outside the deposit process through a court if they choose. They may either submit the entire claim to adjudication because if the claim is reduced to (say) half the amount they initially claimed, they could recover some of the "additional amount" from the deposit itself.

    2 - If the landlord does take you to court, you could use the failure to protect the deposit as part of your defence. The court may award the penalty to offset the landlord's claim. Note that in your list of breaches of the regulation, if I understand correctly, number 2 is not an issue, the Prescribed Information probably doesn't need to be served at the start of the periodic tenancy and, if the Prescribed Information comes from the protecting scheme it's likely to be valid; the contents are not covered by the Housing Act 2004.

    3 - The no win no fee company will decide how much to claim.

    I would suggest that you raise the non-protection issue with the landlord as part of your negotiation about the deposit deductions (as well as the point about allowing for depreciation).
    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).


      Has your landlord agreed to ADR? The ADR adjudicator is not your friend, all he/she wants is an agreement to settle. IMO you would probably fare better in court.


        Deposit protection ADR is binding, so the parties don't have any option to dispute the settlement, so there's no incentive for the adjudicator to "want to settle". Their decision is already settled.

        If you go to court without adjudication, the court is likely to want to know why you didn't take the adjudication option.
        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).


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