Tenant suing me for 3 times deposit- help!

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    Tenant suing me for 3 times deposit- help!

    Hi, my ex tenant went to an online court, Money Claim Online, for her deposit as I went 2 days over the agreement stated time. I was waiting for her 'to get back to me' regarding damage to bathroom fittings. She had already replaced some items. I thefore didn't know how much to pay her back, there was other damage to kitchen worktop surfaces which I will have to replace, broken mains sockets, and the worst, she bought a new Gas oven, fitted it, Didnt get it checked out, Lied to me saying it was included in the annual safety check, and only got a letter saying it was 'safe ' the day she moved out, so I billed for Gas Safety Check aswell. Now the bad news, through all of this I have found out about the Tenancy Deposit Scheme! (TDS). At the begining of the tenancy I used an agent, and after several disputes over there lack of managment, the tenant suggested going one on one, without an agent. Direct debit was set up, agent sent me deposit cheque, I put into an account, where it was safe, they never told me about TDS. I have just had an e-mail from Money Claim Online saying that although I have sent a cheque for what I belive I owe, she is stil persuing the claim. It has now gone to my local count court, i'm expecting details any day now. Upon learning of the TDS, I see I can be made to pay 3times the depsit to her Just because I didnt use the scheme!. Surely this cant be right?, the deposit was always safe!, I have returned what I belive I owe!, there is lots more I could have been funny about, a mature apple tree cut down without consent, pet cat without consent, I had to take out a fee from the deposit for clearing the house of fleas by the local council!!!. I tried to get hold of her regarding all this, but my calls and mesages were never returned, until I heard from 'Money Claim Oline'. Has Anyone got any advice, or should I expect to pay out nearly £2500!. Many Thanks in advance! sorry for Long thread!. Neil
    Last edited by neil.daines; 02-09-2008, 20:00 PM. Reason: spelling mistakes, and missed out info

    #2
    Originally posted by neil.daines View Post
    Hi, my ex tenant went to an online court, Money Claim Online, for her deposit as I went 2 days over the agreement stated time. I was waiting for her 'to get back to me' regarding damage to bathroom fittings. She had already replaced some items. I thefore didn't know how much to pay her back, there was other damage to kitchen worktop surfaces which I will have to replace, broken mains sockets, and the worst, she bought a new Gas oven, fitted it, Didnt get it checked out, Lied to me saying it was included in the annual safety check, and only got a letter saying it was 'safe ' the day she moved out, so I billed for Gas Safety Check aswell. Now the bad news, through all of this I have found out about the Tenancy Deposit Scheme! (TDS). At the begining of the tenancy I used an agent, and after several disputes over there lack of managment, the tenant suggested going one on one, without an agent. Direct debit was set up, agent sent me deposit cheque, I put into an account, where it was safe, they never told me about TDS. I have just had an e-mail from Money Claim Online saying that although I have sent a cheque for what I belive I owe, she is stil persuing the claim. It has now gone to my local count court, i'm expecting details any day now. Upon learning of the TDS, I see I can be made to pay 3times the depsit to her Just because I didnt use the scheme!. Surely this cant be right?, the deposit was always safe!, I have returned what I belive I owe!, there is lots more I could have been funny about, a mature apple tree cut down without consent, pet cat without consent, I had to take out a fee from the deposit for clearing the house of fleas by the local council!!!. I tried to get hold of her regarding all this, but my calls and mesages were never returned, until I heard from 'Money Claim Oline'. Has Anyone got any advice, or should I expect to pay out nearly £2500!. Many Thanks in advance! sorry for Long thread!. Neil
    First of all, you are liable for 3 x the deposit, my best advice would be to join the RLA at www.rla.org.uk, they can offer first class online advice, but more importantly they have a helpdesk that you can phone for dedicated advice, well worth the £75 and could save you a massive amount on solicitors fees.

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      #3
      Cheers Porridge, i'll join up tommorow!, what gets me is that if she hadnt ignored my phone calls and messages she would have got her cheque on-time!. Its like dammed if do, dammed if dont if you're a landlord. 3X!!!!!, I know it is my fault for not knowing about the TDS, but like I said in my defence letter to Money Claim Online, I never Not wanted to give her deposit back!. I only wanted to bill for thing not covered by fair wear and tear, even then I could have gone further!, Oh Well, i'll keep everyone posted on how things go. Thanks for the Very Speedy reply!!!, Neil

      Comment


        #4
        Did the agents tell you to protect the deposit?

        Possible grounds to sue them if they didn't.

        Suggest you get your act together regarding what she owes you for damage (get receipts) and with all relevant proof (eg schedule of condition, correspondance).

        Get legal advice.
        All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

        * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

        You can search the forums here:

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          #5
          There are two distinct areas here;

          1) Justifying deductions to the deposit

          2) TDS Non-Complaince

          Keep this in mind as what you have listed (tenant not returning calls, wanting to give the deposit back) maybe a defence for (1 ) it certainly isnt a defence for (2 ).

          Im not clear about what claim has been submitted, is a claim for the deposit or a claim for x3 + the deposit?

          Comment


            #6
            The key question

            Just to highlight it THE key question is did when did the original tenancy start - if the answer is pre April 07 you are strong grounds to claim that the TDS dosn't apply.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by fletchj View Post
              Just to highlight it THE key question is did when did the original tenancy start - if the answer is pre April 07 you are strong grounds to claim that the TDS doesn't apply.
              No, not "strong grounds to claim" - it just doesn't apply!
              The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

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                #8
                Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                No, not "strong grounds to claim" - it just doesn't apply!
                ...except the argument that, if an old AST (pre-April 2006) is renewed (post-2006) the Deposit Protection rules might apply to the new AST.
                Several threads have ventilated this inconclusively.
                JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                  ...except the argument that, if an old AST (pre-April 2007) is renewed (post-2007) the Deposit Protection rules might not apply to the new AST.
                  Several threads have ventilated this inconclusively.
                  Edited to correct the mistake in the dates and the fact that my argument that TDP does not apply to such tenancies is, in the absence of any case law on the matter, a bit of a minority view at the moment.
                  Health Warning


                  I try my best to be accurate, but please bear in mind that some posts are written in a matter of seconds and often cannot be edited later on.

                  All information contained in my posts is given without any assumption of responsibility on my part. This means that if you rely on my advice but it turns out to be wrong and you suffer losses (of any kind) as a result, then you cannot sue me.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Wickerman
                    Not sure about possible grounds to sue here.
                    It could be argued they had a duty of care to inform him if he was a client. He employed them for their expertise, which possibly was not delivered
                    All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

                    * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

                    You can search the forums here:

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Many Thanks to all!!!, Agent 46, after a few hours scouring the internet, I came up with the pre April 6th 2007 date, and YES YES YES!!!!!, it does!, September 16th 2006 to be precise, Few. Not sure as to why she's suing me yet, but I got a letter from my local court today, one off the questions you have to answer is will you accept a Free(!) mediation service, i'll be ticking yes!. As to proof, I have photo's reciepts etc. I havn't as yet replaced the worktop or toilet cistern yet though, but know costs involved, as if I don't win, i'll have to repair and make it aware on the new condition report as I can't really justify the extra cost involved as I have just replaced the whole heating system in the house, Thouroughly recomend Mr Central Heating!!, but that is another thread. I have already had to re-decorate through out, as more than fair ware and tear, which I Didn't 'bill' her for!. I would just rather it fresh for new tenant. Also contacted old agent today who I used at first, to see if thay could return the original condition report to me as they didnt return it to me when we parted company, i'll check in the morning. All in all i'll be sleeping better tonight!, Again thanks to all, I appreaciate any more help advice!, keep you all posted!, Neil

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hi Wickerman, yes when I spoke to an agent they told me about new legislation, i've even just renewed central heating, from night storage to condensing combi boiler!, and the one good thing ex tenant done was to get me Free top up loft insulation, I had 6", now got 10"!!. Also i'm going to get the new electricity certificate (like the gas one but for electrics), Many Thanks for your reply!, Neil

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by agent46 View Post
                          Edited to correct the mistake in the dates
                          Yes. Thanks for that, agent46; and sorry to others for my slip of finger in year reference!
                          JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                          1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                          2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                          3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                          4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by neil.daines View Post
                            I have returned what I belive I owe!
                            This gets to the root of the reason for the TDS. It removes the unilateral decision by the landlord as to how much of the deposit should be retained, provides an arbitration sevice so agreement between the landlord and tenant can be reached and it informs the tenant that this arbitration service exists.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by neil.daines View Post
                              Many Thanks to all!!!, Agent 46, after a few hours scouring the internet, I came up with the pre April 6th 2007 date, and YES YES YES!!!!!, it does!, September 16th 2006 to be precise, Few. Not sure as to why she's suing me yet, but I got a letter from my local court today, one off the questions you have to answer is will you accept a Free(!) mediation service, i'll be ticking yes!. As to proof, I have photo's reciepts etc. I havn't as yet replaced the worktop or toilet cistern yet though, but know costs involved, as if I don't win, i'll have to repair and make it aware on the new condition report as I can't really justify the extra cost involved as I have just replaced the whole heating system in the house, Thouroughly recomend Mr Central Heating!!, but that is another thread. I have already had to re-decorate through out, as more than fair ware and tear, which I Didn't 'bill' her for!. I would just rather it fresh for new tenant. Also contacted old agent today who I used at first, to see if thay could return the original condition report to me as they didnt return it to me when we parted company, i'll check in the morning. All in all i'll be sleeping better tonight!, Again thanks to all, I appreaciate any more help advice!, keep you all posted!, Neil
                              Dont want to put a dampener on things but make doubly sure the LATEST rental agreement did'nt start after 6th april 2007? i would be surprised if a letting agent has not renewed the agreement since 2006 (they usually renew at 6 or 12 months as a way of making extra income from the landlord!) just be absolutely sure the agent has not renewed the agreement since april 2007 but failed send you a copy? which the tenant will be in receipt of hence the basis of their 3x claim otherwise if the ONLY agreement in question is the one from september '06 they aint got a leg to stand on, their wasting their money trying to sue under deposit protection rules, maybe their just trying to sue for their original deposit back? in which case you need all the evidence you can get to justify witholding all or part of the deposit in the abscence of an inventory.

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