Deposit Protection

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    Deposit Protection

    Good morning all,

    I was hoping someone might be able to provide some advice regarding a situation I am finding somewhat troubling.

    The long and short of it is that due to our previous property (privately rented under an AST) being deemed uninhabitable back in June 2018 we were relocated into another property by the Landlord's loss adjuster for the duration of the repair works on the property.

    For this second property we signed a 12 month AST however the financial responsibility for the rent and deposit sat with the other Landlord's insurers.

    In December 2018 we decided that rather than return the previous property we would prefer to remain in the new property and having given the necessary notice we formally surrendered the original property and took over responsibility on the place we had been in for the previous 6 months.

    At this point the estate agent (who also manage the property) stated that it was a simple case of us taking over the rental responsibility and transferring them the deposit so that this could replace what was previously paid by the insurers.

    This was duly done via bank transfer and confirmed in writing to ourselves and ever since we have continued to pay the monthly rent as per the original agreement.

    Having a spring clean over the weekend I happened to peruse the documentation provided to us when we originally incepted the AST in June and I was concerned that no mention of deposit protection was made. This in itself is perhaps not surprising as originally we were not responsible for the deposit however that situation has now changed. Since we paid the deposit in December we have received no Deposit Protection Certificate, no PI and no details as to who the deposit may have been protected with (or the type of protection used).

    I have checked today with all three deposit protection companies and no one has any record of us, either with the December date or the June date when we originally moved in.

    Hence I am now in a bit of a quandary, it would appear that our deposit hasn't been protected or at the very least this has not been communicated to us in any way shape or form. Can anyone please advise what steps we should now take in order to remedy this situation? Clearly we would like confirmation of deposit protection in the first instance, we are also wary of the repercussions of approaching this matter in the wrong way (not in a S21 sense more in that we could quickly become subject to harassment/intimidation).

    Also would you advise us to hold fire on raising the issue until the end of the 12 month period (where we will most likely leave the property) or should we take this up with the Landlord/Agent right away?

    Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    If you paid a deposit to the landlord/agent and it hasn't been protected, this has a downside for you unless the landlord or agent goes bust or you have a problem getting your money back at the end of the tenancy.

    It has a downside for the landlord/agent in that they can't serve a valid s21 notice if the deposit isn't protected (they'd have to return it first) amd you can pursue them for a financial penalty for the non-performance with the protection regulations.
    Neither of those things change if they protect the deposit now having not done so from the start.

    So, I'd say the obvious course of action is to tell the agent so that they can protect your money and give you the right information.
    That removes your downside and doesn't change the landlord/agent's downside.
    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).


      Just as an update...

      I asked for a copy of the deposit protection certificate from the managing agent and although they didn't respond directly to me I did subsequently receive an email confirming that our deposit was now protected. Logging in the dates align with the AST signed in June however quite clearly the deposit was only protected as of today.

      Any advice as to what steps we should take now? Given the late protection of the deposit is it likely that a court would actually award compensation or would we be opening ourselves up to a prolonged period of legal conflict (resulting in additional costs)?


        There's no reason to do anything now.
        You can sue for a penalty any time up to six years after it should be protected (if you can be bothered, it's not simple) but you'd almost certainly win - the onus is on the landlord/agent to prove the deposit was protected and they won't be able to.

        You can still defend a s21 notice unless they return the deposit first, and any deductions they try and make when you leave will be easy to defend (because you can use the threat of the penalty) if the landlord tries to charge you for anything you don't agree with.

        And your deposit is now protected, which means your money is safer and you have access to a dispute resolution service if the landlord charges you for (say) some damage when you move out, which you agree with, but not the amount being claimed.

        Good outcome.
        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).


          What he said ^ ^

          Stay schtum now and wait and see if you ever need to use it as a bargaining chip.


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