Get deposit back, landlord illegally subletting + claim tenancy deposit compensation

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    Get deposit back, landlord illegally subletting + claim tenancy deposit compensation

    Hey guys,

    Here is my situation, I truly hope you can help me with it:

    - I rented last year a bedroom in a 2-bed apartment from someone (let's call him "T") and paid him a deposit on move in (£800).
    - "T" was originally a tenant of the flat along with "U" who was his roommate. Then "T" sublet his room to me, therefore I lived with "U" throughout my tenancy, we shared kitchen and bathroom. "T" did NOT live with me during the tenancy.
    - I have signed an AST with "T" when I moved in (although on the contract he did not sign anything as a landlord, his name is only mentioned as Lead Tenant, the other person that signed with me was my former roommate "U").
    - It is only when I moved out of the flat and asked to get my deposit back that I discovered that my Deposit Certificate was actually a FAKE one (copied from the certificate between "T" and the lead landlord of the flat). But here he is referred to as the landlord and I as lead tenant.
    - I discovered later during the tenancy that it was actually an illegal sublet. The AST agreement that "T" used with me was probably a copy of the one he signed as a tenant along with U, with the lead landlord, with my name instead of his on the agreement.
    - Now this "T" is refusing to pay back my deposit, he has blocked me on social media and doesn't answer any of my messages anymore.

    Now I have 2 questions:
    - I am entitled to go to Small Claims Court and ask for my £800 deposit back + interests? What are the costs of that? I've heard you can make the defendant pay for your fees if you win.
    - More importantly, am I entitled, on top of the Small Claims Court, to make a tenancy deposit compensation claim, and ask for up to 3 times the deposit amount, since he did NOT protect my deposit? Is that claim legit even if I signed an AST for a sublet that was illegal?

    The other way to put that last question is:
    - Did "T" have to protect my deposit even if the sublet was illegal and I was only renting a bedroom, not the whole apartment? (I remind here that he was NOT living there with me, hence I was not considered a lodger)
    - As per "T"'s AST with the lead landlord, was he not living there from a legal standpoint? Because he still paid his part of the rent on a monthly basis to the lead landlord, which would make my claim invalid?

    I'm really lost here I don't know what to do. Thanks in advance for your help.
    Dan

    #2
    Yes you could go to small claims over the debt and if you win get costs against T
    Was the address of T the flat you lived in even if he did not live there with you? This Lodger V AST is a bit iffy to me.

    I would just send a Letter Before Action to T demanding your money.
    Inform HMRC that you have paid T this money for X amount of time and suggest they investigate him/her.
    Inform the owner of the flat of what is going on - find out who it is for £3 at www.landregistry.gov.uk



    Freedom at the point of zero............

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for your reply.
      I believe he had that same UK address where I was living in London, but he lived abroad at the same time so must have had that address abroad.
      I am not sure how HMRC would help me? Investigate on what?
      I have made the landlord aware, he has actually been evicted from the flat because of that illegal subletting, but this unfortunately did not help me get my deposit back.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by dan201 View Post
        Now I have 2 questions:
        - I am entitled to go to Small Claims Court and ask for my £800 deposit back + interests? What are the costs of that? I've heard you can make the defendant pay for your fees if you win.
        - More importantly, am I entitled, on top of the Small Claims Court, to make a tenancy deposit compensation claim, and ask for up to 3 times the deposit amount, since he did NOT protect my deposit? Is that claim legit even if I signed an AST for a sublet that was illegal?
        Yes you are. If you claim online (using money claim online) the fee will be £60. You can select an option when making the claim to include that fee and interest in the claim. It's a piece of cake.

        The second part is more complex. You are not meant to use MCOL to claim penalties and the cost of the claim for penalties is much higher and the process is much more complicated (you'd probably need some legal help, because it's notoriously easy to cock up). But if you use the MCOL process, there's nothing stopping you asking for the penalty during the hearing.

        If you look at the shelter website, there's a description of the process to follow and some useful template letters.

        Who was names as Landlord on your tenancy agreement, out of interest?
        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
          The name of the Landlord on the tenancy agreement was actually the real landlord of the place, this I only found out later.
          Should I send a letter before action to him before proceeding to court? The problem is I do not have his current address. Would that work by email and / or text message?
          jpkeates you're saying that I can claim this non-protection compensation penalty during the small court hearing claiming for my deposit back is that right?

          Comment


            #6
            If he faked a deposit certificate this may be fraud. You should report it to hhe Police.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by dan201 View Post
              The name of the Landlord on the tenancy agreement was actually the real landlord of the place, this I only found out later.
              OK, T was acting as an agent and was the person who received the deposit. That makes it a bit more fiddly, but still OK.
              Should I send a letter before action to him before proceeding to court? The problem is I do not have his current address. Would that work by email and / or text message?
              You have to send him a letter before action, otherwise he could defend the claim on the basis that you haven't tried to collect the debt otherwise.
              You have to provide the court with a real address, so, even if you contact them by email, you'll need more than that to proceed.

              You can use a people finding service (try the Directory section of this website) or use the address of the rental property. If you do the latter the chances are you'll simply win by default and, when the tenant finds out they have a ccj they'll either settle it or ask to have it set aside and you start again.

              The landlord might have an address?
              jpkeates you're saying that I can claim this non-protection compensation penalty during the small court hearing claiming for my deposit back is that right?
              You can ask and people have posted here that it worked.
              The justice department says that the small claims process shouldn't award such a penalty.

              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


                #8
                So I can address by default my Letter before action to my former place where he rented me his bedroom is that right? He will probably have no intention to settle the debt before I go to court anyway.
                I know for a fact he still goes there on a regular basis to pick up his mail.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by DPT57 View Post
                  If he faked a deposit certificate this may be fraud. You should report it to hhe Police.
                  Is that true? Can I sue him for that as well? How much could I hope to get from that claim?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Nothing, fraud is a criminal offence and any fines resulting are paid to the Treasury.
                    Please complete & paste https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...om-new-posters

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Forget the fraud, other than as evidence in the civil case.
                      No one is going to investigate this as a criminal matter, although it probably is fraud.
                      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


                        #12
                        Originally posted by mariner View Post
                        Nothing, fraud is a criminal offence and any fines resulting are paid to the Treasury.
                        Please complete & paste https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...om-new-posters
                        I've already answered most of the questions in the link provided, what details exactly do you want to know mariner?
                        I was a tenant, the subletting landlord did not live with me. (Although in the eyes of the lead landlord he did since he still paid his rent to him every month). My lease was for the end of Oct 2018 to Mid-May 2019, with an AST of 3 months continuing month-per-month after that. My agreement was a joint agreement between me & U & the lead landlord, T's name is only mentioned once as "Lead Tennant" which I agree is weird.

                        I'm not really interested in reporting him for the fraud anyway, I'm mainly concerned about claiming compensation for non-protection.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Hey everyone,
                          So I have sent a "last chance" email asking for the money or I will proceed to sue him in court (along with a letter before action sent to his old address).
                          He has replied to me since, and is now arguing that he is keeping my deposit because I did not pay Council Tax nor water during my stay; even though it was made very clear between us that my rent was all utilities included upon moving-in.
                          Does he have any legitimacy to claim that if we go to court? I did not sign the page of the tenancy agreement where it is stated that as a tenant I need to pay a fair share of the utilities.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            He can make that argument when the issue comes to court.
                            It's a reasonable defence (you not signing that page specifically probably doesn't help you).

                            However, there are two issues that remain, one is, if he expected you to pay the utilities (in line with the contract) why didn't he ask for the money while you lived there (which supports your view that you had agreed that they would be included).
                            He would still have to explain the forged deposit certificate and the non-protection.

                            I would simply respond that you agreed that utilities were included and that, if you don't get your money back, you're going to take them to court.
                            And, if they don't give you your money, do that.
                            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


                              #15
                              Thanks for your reply.
                              Yes that makes sense, plus the fact that it's only now that he uses this as an excuse while I've been asking that money for 10 months with no result. He even said everything was fine and I just had to wait for MyDeposit to send the money, at the time I left the place, so that doesn't help his point at all!

                              Comment

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