Notice received of deposit no longer protected on new tenancy agreement

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    Notice received of deposit no longer protected on new tenancy agreement

    For ease, the details of the current tenancy agreement are:

    Q1 – Where is the rented property located (England / Wales / Scotland / N Ireland)?
    England.

    Q2 – What type of Tenancy Agreement (TA) is this e.g. sole tenant / multiple tenant / room only? Multiple tenant (unmarried couple).

    Q3 – What date did current TA start dd/mm/yy? 13/11/2018.

    Q4 – How long was initial fixed term (6/12/24 months / other)? 12 months with a break at 6.

    Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? / 4-weekly? / per calendar month (if so, on what same date each month)? Rent is due on the 13th of every calendar month.

    Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? If so, on what date was this paid (dd/mm/yy)? Yes, equivalent of 6 weeks’ rent, paid on 13/11/2017. (Will explain below.)

    Q7 – If your query relates to a notice for repossession from the landlord (a Section 8 or Section 21 notice) or a tenants's notice to quit to the landlord, please provide the exact date the notice was sent/received (dd/mm/yy). N/A.

    Q8 – Does the landlord live in the same property as the tenant? No, landlord lives in China.


    Now for the detail.... My girlfriend took a lease (AST) on a flat beginning on 13/11/2017. The details of the AST are as per the above except she was the sole tenant at the time. That initial AST expired on 12/11/2018. I moved in on 13/11/2018 and a new AST was signed by both myself and my girlfriend. No change to the rent payable and the deposit that was initially paid by my girlfriend was to be rolled over into the new AST (and the AST refers to the deposit sum).

    A few weeks after the commencement of the new AST we received notification from the deposit protection company that the initial deposit was no longer protected. We assumed this was an admin thing as the new deposit was to be held in both our names. No further communication has been received whatsoever.

    We are up to date with our rental payments and not in breach of the AST.

    The property is managed by a local agent, all communication and payments go through them. I'm concerned that we could have lost £1,600 through the deposit being unprotected or even because the landlord could have pocketed it (I have no evidence of this, I'm just trying to think worst case scenario).

    Is there any action that we should be taking?

    Thanks for reading.

    #2
    I guess you must have some contact with the landlord or their Agent. Have you asked them about it? It sounds like the deposit was with an insurance backed scheme and it has lapsed. It is unlikely that you would lose it since if its unprotected you could claim a penalty against them. However, if your concern is to make sure its protected then pethaps just give them a nudge.

    Comment


      #3
      Arguably you are in a stronger position if deposit is unprotected: Landlord can't evict using s21 wwithout returning it first &, even if returned, you can sue him for between 1&3xdeposit.

      Write (yes..) to landlord (yes.), keep copy, copy agent, about the matter if you wish to. Get his address(perhaps) from land registry deeds, £3, 5minutes, online....
      https://www.gov.uk/search-property-i...-land-registry
      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


        #4
        If the local agent is an established company with significant asset that wouldn't disappear overnight if it get sued, then waiting until after the tenancy shouldn't cause any problem. But if it's a small one man band that could just dissovle, along with a landlord based outisde the jurisdiction, I would recommend taking action while tenant is still living there.
        I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

        Comment


          #5
          So it sounds like initial deposit protected original AST everything ok, issue of new AST and deposit not reprotected.

          I think it unlikely that you would lose it on the basis that it was protected initially and so they have confirmed receipt of it. BUT it always better to have these things done properly.

          In term of suing the landlord I think (im not qualified) it might be a struggle as he initially protected it so e would argue an honest mistake.and leave the judge to make the call.

          but as far as im aware deposit should be re protected if new AST issued

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by blinko View Post
            In term of suing the landlord I think (im not qualified) it might be a struggle as he initially protected it so e would argue an honest mistake.and leave the judge to make the call.
            The only possible struggle is the landlord possibly arguing that the deposit for the previous tenancy was never intended to be used as deposit for current tenancy. If the tenant can show evidence that it was intended though, the landlord have no defence. "Honest mistake" may be a mitigation which reduces the penalty, it's not a defence.
            I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks for your responses so far, they're really appreciated..

              We've no intention of suing the landlord, we just want to make sure the deposit is returned at the end of the term but anything that puts us in a stronger position is obviously a bonus. I don't envisage things becoming contentious (in 15 years of renting we've always had our deposits returned in full and without delay or need for negotiation) and I aim to continue that.

              The letting agent is part of Countrywide Group and have operated in our local are for over 20 years (taken from their website) so I'm a little more comfortable with the situation.


              Comment


                #8
                In which case, I'd suggest talking to the agent.

                My guess is that the agent has the deposit money and that the deposit is protected by being insured.
                That insurance expired and should be renewed and someone at the agent made a mistake.

                That's the best protection possible for you (other than the deposit being protected by a custodial scheme, but agents seem to tend not to use them - probably so they can charge the landlord for the service).

                There's not a huge risk that the agent will cease trading or the landlord become bankrupt, die or have their property repossessed, but it is remotely possible.
                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


                  #9
                  Even if the agent ceases trading, they would have to be in breach of trust for the deposit to be lost. They are now required to use client money accounts, which would not, normally, be considered as assets to be distributed to creditors .

                  Nonetheless, if the agent is a limited company or limited liability partnership, it would be a good idea to use beta.companieshouse.gov.uk to set a free monitor on the business, so that you will be notified if they try to liquidate the business.

                  Comment

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