Landlord trying to keep deposit

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    Landlord trying to keep deposit

    My former landlord and letting agent are trying to withheld my deposit. (England 12month AST).
    They are trying to claim I caused damage to the carpets and walls but this damage actually belongs to the second flat in the same building and was caused by the previous tenant of that flat who left the flat 4 months ago. I took photos (have exif data) before I left the property that shows it was in a good, clean condition is this enough? The flats layout and decor are identical.
    I gave them 6 weeks written notice and 5 days before the end of the tenancy I handed the keys into the letting agents office and got a receipt. Now they are claiming I never gave notice and want another months rent. Was I naive in sending the notice by standard post?

    There is also some discrepancy with the protection of the deposit.
    Deposit was protected on time.
    Prescribed Information was given at the time I signed the tenancy agreement.
    I didn’t receive the DPS terms and conditions or any leaflet.
    I didn’t receive any proof or receipt the deposit had actually been protected until I asked for the deposit to be returned, this was 2 weeks after I left the property.

    The prescribed Information actually states I should have received this information within 30 days of the tenancy starting and if not to seek legal advice. I actually had no idea where the deposit was, as although the agreement says it is held with the DPS when I put my details into the website it says no deposit matching them could be found. It wasn’t until the letting agent emailed me a copy of the DPS certificate/receipt (2 weeks after the end of the tenancy) that I knew the deposit ID but the website still wouldn’t show the deposit as being held. Only when I phoned DPS and gave them the ID did they confirm they were holding it but I still can’t use the details to log into the DPS website. Is this a DPS error or something relating to the landlord?

    Should I win a claim through DPS (providing I can actually log in)? Failing that because they didn’t provide all the correct documents on time would court be an option? I really just want the actual deposit I paid returned.

    #2
    Did you leave 5 days before the end of the 12 months fixed term?
    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


      #3
      Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
      Did you leave 5 days before the end of the 12 months fixed term?

      Sorry if I didn't make that clear. Yes the keys were handed back 5 days before the end of the 12month AST.

      Comment


        #4
        In which case, unless the tenancy agreement is worded so that the fixed term continues, you don't have to give any notice at all (regardless of what the tenancy agreement says).
        The tenancy simply ends at the end of the fixed term.

        While you may have broken a term of the tenancy agreement by not giving the notice required, the landlord has suffered no loss (because the tenancy was due to end anyway).

        The DPS no longer requires a leaflet be provided, but the terms and conditions are part of their Prescribed Information.
        But their omission is such a small issue it's only useful as a stick to beat the agent/landlord with.

        The DPS has a dispute resolution service and, if you and the landlord/agent aren't able to come to an agreement, simply dispute any deductions from the deposit and use this arbitration service.
        The downside is that it's currently taking months to get through its caseload.
        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


          #5
          Thank you for explaining. My tenancy agreement does state if no notice is given the tenancy becomes periodic. I did give them 6 weeks notice sent by standard post which they must have received as the admin assistant I gave the keys to wasn’t surprised at them being returned.

          Is there a chance the DPS will believe I caused the damage? The damaged caused by the old tenant is quite bad. If the DPS do say deductions from my deposit are due could I then try the court? On the grounds the landlord/letting agent never sent me proof the deposit was protected within 30 days, or is this not a valid case?
          Also the prescribed information seems to be drafted by the letting agents themselves.

          Comment


            #6
            T cannot serve Notice during Fixed Term, so how much did you pay for that final month?
            DPS ADR will compare your move in/out Inventories to apportion any loss payable.

            Comment


              #7
              Sorry if I didn’t make this clear. In the tenancy agreement it states unless notice is given by either party the tenancy will continue at the end of the fixed term. I gave them 6 weeks notice that I would be leaving at the end of the 12 month contract. I paid all 12 months rent, it is the 13 months rent they are seeking.

              In the tenancy agreement it states at the end of the tenancy to return the keys to their office and a check out inventory will be provided within 7 days of the tenancy ending.
              I returned the keys 5 days before the end of the 12 months. 2 days later I went to the US for 14 days when I returned I hadn’t received any communication from them. I called their office to enquire about the check out inventory and told them I realised I hadn’t received the proof the deposit was protected.
              Then I was emailed by (I’m guessing by their name) one of the owners who asked me why I hadn’t given notice and why I left the property in such poor condition. Attached was a copy of the DPS certificate/receipt and pictures showing damage to the other flat in the building. They then said they wouldn’t be returning the full deposit because the deductions would actually cost more than the deposit amount.
              And I still have not received a check out inventory.

              I still can’t log in to the DPS using the details I’ve received. I’m moving to the US at the end of May would I still be able to dispute this from there?
              Is the letting agent not providing proof the deposit was not protected in the required time enough for a LBA? I’m just wondering if sending one will get them to release the deposit, I don’t want to seek compensation I just want the amount I paid returning.

              Comment


                #8
                Please could you quote the exact wording of the tenancy agreement.
                If you're in England, the tenancy will probably have a fixed term and then some text to say that it will continue if not ended.
                In fact, what happens in most cases is that when the fixed term ends, a new tenancy starts automatically if you don't move out.

                But, as you'd moved out, a new tenancy won't start and the previous one ends (regardless of notice or whatever the agreement says).

                It is possible to word a tenancy agreement so that this isn't the case, but it's quite unusual.
                The detail is what we need.
                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
                  Sorry this is all very new to me.

                  There are two references to ending the tenancy:

                  The first:
                  If, on coming to the end of the fixed term agreed above, the landlord does not seek possession and the Tenant remains in the property, they will be considered by virtue of the Section 5 of Housing Act 1998, to have a statutory periodic tenancy and this will continue until ended by either party.

                  The second:
                  If the Tenant or Landlord intends to terminate the Agreement at the end of the fixed term, or at any later date, the Tenant agrees to give the landlord at least one month’s prior Notice in writing and the Landlord agrees to give the Tenant at least two months prior notice in writing.

                  Below the second reference it says how to give notice.
                  Sent by ordinary post in a prepaid letter, properly addressed to the landlord or agent…..If any Notice or other document is sent by ordinary post it shall be deemed to have been served 48hours after it was posted.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by cherrie View Post
                    Sorry this is all very new to me.
                    No worries, it's a common enough issue and very few people know their rights!

                    The first term of the agreement presumably refers to a definition of the Term, which will say something like "A term of X months starting on XX/XX/XXXX and ending on YY/YY/YYYY.
                    That is both the fixed term and totality of that tenancy.
                    When it gets to midnight on YY/YY/YYYY that tenancy ends - regardless of notice or anything either you or the landlord (or agent) do.

                    What the rest of the term says is what happens by law. As soon as that tenancy ends, if you are still resident, a new periodic tenancy starts. However, you weren't living there then, so no new periodic tenancy began.

                    For the record, the relevant Housing Act was in 1988 not 1998.

                    The second term confirms what notice you are required to give. You didn't do that, so you're in breach of that term.
                    Don't worry about that, you might even invite that landlord to sue you for the breach, it won't do them any good because they haven't suffered any loss.

                    Because the initial tenancy ended (technically, and rather beautifullly because of "the effluxion of time"), there is no need for you to give notice to end it. It simply ends on its own.

                    There have been lots and lots of cases where this happens and there isn't anything the landlord or agent can do about it.

                    More to the point, when you returned the keys, it was an almost certainly offer to surrender the tenancy, which the actions of the agent confirmed was accepted (they retook possession of the property on behalf of the landlord.
                    That's a little bit less certain because it depends on exactly what was said, but arguably the tenancy actually ended then.

                    As a practical step it might help to point this out to them and suggest that, like you, they take legal advice.
                    They're not going to know it's just some bloke on a forum you were advised by.
                    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


                      #11
                      I did give them notice though. I sent them a letter (template I found online) by ordinary post 6 weeks before the end of the 12 month term. When the tenancy agreement effectively said they only needed 1 month + 2 days.
                      I don’t have any proof of what was said when the keys were returned but the admin assistant did mutter Friday which was when the tenancy was due to end. And I would have imagined she might have been slightly confused if I came in to drop off keys if they weren’t expecting them.

                      If they continue to mention the rent I will mention this to them but how does this play out in regards to the deposit? I am guessing they are relying on the fact the notice was sent my standard post, therefore I can’t prove they did receive it. Can I use the receipt I received when I handed the keys back to counter act this?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Your notice isn't relevant to anything.
                        The tenancy ended because it ended, not because of your notice.

                        It's almost certain that your notice wasn't valid if you sent it in the fixed term anyway.
                        That's another reason that that contract term is pointless, all it does is give the landlord information about your intentions.
                        I can't remember the actual legislation (anyone?)

                        In future, post anything important first class from a post office and ask for a "proof of posting" certificate (it looks like a receipt, but it's evidence of sending something at least).
                        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


                          #13
                          Tell the agent to check the law. No notice required

                          Comment


                            #14
                            First you will need to log in to DPS and tell them that you don't agree with your landlord's deduction of the deposit.

                            If you don't respond within 14 days (from the time you receive the deposit deduction notice from DPS), your landlord have to serve you a statutory notice (which will cost them money), and you will have another 14 days to respond to that.

                            If you respond to disagree with the deposit deduction with 14 days, both you and your landlord have to submit evidence to an adjudicator who will then decide how the deposit it split (in any case, the adjudicator will favor the tenant over the landlord). If you disagree with the results, you can then go for small claims through court.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by mariner View Post
                              T cannot serve Notice during Fixed Term
                              Of course T can serve notice during the fixed term. It is just that T cannot serve legally-binding notice to quit during the fixed term.

                              There is nothing to stop T serving notice on L stating that that they do not intend staying in the property beyond the fixed term.

                              Comment

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