Tenant will not provide proof of deposit payment

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    Tenant will not provide proof of deposit payment


    I hope someone can help. My tenant of 3 years gave notice and I realised that the estate agent never gave me official documentation that the deposit was protected. I have since found out that the estate agent was voluntarily struck off at the time the tenancy began. I have gone back on email correspondence and the estate agent advised they had protected the deposit, even though I had stated previously I would protect it myself. They then called me and advised there would be no additional charges for them protecting it as they had gone against my wishes. I then foolishly never followed this up with them. I have since made contact with the director of the estate agent and he cannot locate the deposit in any scheme. I asked my tenant to provide confirmation of which bank account he paid the deposit to. He spoke to his bank on the phone and wrote down the bank account, which had the wrong sort code. As per advice from a bank, I advised my tenant that if he paid to the wrong sort code, the deposit would have been returned to his account within 7 working days. I have requested a payment trace from my tenant yet he has told me that he cannot see the money coming back into his account and he would like his deposit returned by Thursday (10 days after tenancy end). For the past 2 weeks I have been asking my tenant to obtain official written confirmation from his bank of which account the deposit was paid to but he seems to be avoiding the request. I fully understand that it's my responsibility to protect and repay the deposit, which I am prepared to do out of my own money but now I am questioning if the deposit was ever paid in the first place. Do I have a legal right to delay the repayment until my tenant provides proof that the deposit was paid to the correct bank account?

    Any help would be much appreciated.



      It is LL's resp to ensure Deposit is protected within 30 days of receipt from T, normally by asking Agent for rel paperwork. It is not Ts resp to provide evidence.


        Thanks for your response. I totally understand I am responsible for protecting the deposit. However are we within our right to request evidence that he paid it in the first place as we have doubts (He provided a different sort code, hence we suspect the money was returned to him and we could potentially be paying him back something he never paid). Thanks.


          Do you know which scheme it was put into? I think you can check the three schemes, or the tenant can. Somebody can confirm that, I'm sure.

          As the tenancy has only been for 3 years, the tenant should have kept his bank statements (or he could order new ones from the bank), and the payment to the EA will show on the statement. If he paid cash he should have a receipt (would the EA accept cash?).

          It might well be that he never paid it in the first place.


            Search shelter website for how to search deposit schemes.

            It might be safer and cheaper anyway for you to return the deposit you never had from your own money. To avoid tenant angered by the arguments later finding proof he paid then suing you for 3xdeposit penalty for non-protection
            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...


              It doesn't really matter if the tenant paid the deposit or not.
              If you don't "return" it, they can sue you as a matter of routine (or, worse, get someone to do it for them which could be even more expensive.

              The time to have sorted this out was three years ago and it's probably too late now.
              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).


                If the deposit was never paid, then in theory you cannot be made to repay it and cannot be made to pay a non-protection penalty.

                However, if the tenant 'paid' it but to the wrong account and you did not chase it up at the time, then T could reasonably assume that you had received the money. If it has gone to someone else's account (rather that to a non-existent account), then it may be too late to find it and claim it back.

                I would put it down as a learning experience and give the T the deposit amount to avoid provoking legal action.


                  Originally posted by MdeB View Post
                  If the deposit was never paid, then in theory you cannot be made to repay it and cannot be made to pay a non-protection penalty.
                  The issue is likely to be that the tenancy agreement will say that there is a deposit and it would be odd for a landlord to have been due to receive something and not chase it up when it wasn't received.

                  And it does strike me as odd.
                  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).


                    I would give tenant deposit back and get a proper receipt via the bank ect to avoid legal action .

                    The sort code refers to the bank as each bank has different sort code so correct account but different bank so a string of possibles there either tenant lied or money gone missing someone has it , maybe it was paid back and he doesns't want to say , or agent kept it -

                    Who knows .

                    Sorry you are stuck in the middle with - please let us know how it pans out


                      Account numbers and sort codes are actually linked by check digits in the account number, so it's very unusual for an invalid payment not to be rejected because the sort code and account number check don't match - it's possible but it would be very unlucky.

                      The funds go into a suspense account at the receiving bank which is normally simply returned to the bank and account that sent it after a manual check (it may take several days if you don't query it with your bank).

                      While it's impossible to check with the agent, if they say that they protected the deposit, that indicates that they at least believed that they had received the funds at some point.

                      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).


                        I don't think the situation would be any better even if the agent did protect the deposit at the time. It is likely that they would have chosen an insurance based scheme and if they then ceased trading the insurance would have expired and not been renewed.


                          Thank you to all who have responded. I paid my tenant the deposit out of my own money and he has since provided proof from his bank that the deposit was paid to the correct estate agent bank account (it must have been a typo that he gave me before). The amount that was paid was the deposit plus fees, so going to check this overall amount on the 3 main deposit schemes. I had searched for the exact deposit amount before but no hits came back.


                            I chased the director of the previous estate agent for a previous response as he said that he had contacted the deposit schemes but was told he had to email them. He advised this last month, so I feel he is now stalling. I’m going to send him a screenshot of the proof of payment from our tenant and see if he is going to try and reinstate the old company so he can check the finance records but I fear that this will never be resolved.


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