Tenant uncontactable- what happens to deposit ?

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  • Tenant uncontactable- what happens to deposit ?

    Hi,

    My tenants moved dout of my house in early January and were supposed to forward the final bills to prove there was no outstanding debt. However, until now I have not received these final bills and despite emailing them and leaving voicemails they have not responded, and I don't have their forwarding address.
    I have the deposit registered with the DPS and I'm keen to get the matter sorted as soon as.
    My question is, is there a time limit after which the tenants would forfeit their deposit ? I just don't want this to go on and on.

    Hope somebody can help

    Thanks !

  • #2
    Is there any rush, though, so far as you are concerned? It's the tenants' money, and one assumes that DPS cannot release it without knowing where it's going, so let the tenants worry about the delay- it's their fault, isn't it? Can you yourself not obtain final bills (presumably for Council Tax, Water Rates, and gas/electricity/telephones)?
    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).

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    • #3
      Thanks for the reply Jeffrey.
      I'm just keen to sort it out that's all - there's no rush. I guess I may well have to sort out the final bills - in the contract it's the duty of the tenant to do this, not me.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by adestor View Post
        Thanks for the reply Jeffrey.
        I'm just keen to sort it out that's all - there's no rush. I guess I may well have to sort out the final bills - in the contract it's the duty of the tenant to do this, not me.
        Indeed, and these are their debts, not yours anyway. You can't withold the deposit for debts they don't pay, because you aren't going to settle these debts yourself are you?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by thevaliant View Post
          Indeed, and these are their debts, not yours anyway. You can't withold the deposit for debts they don't pay, because you aren't going to settle these debts yourself are you?
          But L may face demands (e.g. for Council Tax and Water Rates) as now being the billable person.
          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).

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          • #6
            I have just contacted the dps today about the same thing.
            You need to lodge a request asking for deposit back firstly.
            Then they will try for two weeks to get hold of tenant.
            After 2 weeks you need to contact them again and say that you wish to get your deposit back, and the reason why (absconded etc).
            They will then try to trace them again.
            All in all they tell me the process takes 6 weeks, (sorry to tell you).
            Good luck.
            P.S. put it in writing as wel as lodging it on the internet site, then there's no reason they can say they haven't recieved it,also they take ages to answer emails.

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            • #7
              Maybe I'm being daft but OP has stated:

              1. Bills are tenants responsibility, not his.
              2. He hasn't stated there are any damages.
              3. He wants to know if he can take someone else's money from the DPS merely because they do not reclaim it.

              The answer surely is, it isn't your concern, unless there are genuine reasons for asking for part of the deposit to cover damages or costs properly part of the AST.

              Comment


              • #8
                i had a similar situation with DPS - a tenant was evicted, left, with no forwarding address, i claimed the deposit for unpaid rent, and then i did nothing and about 3 months later i got the full deposit from DPS who had spent time writing to and trying to trace the tenant, unsuccessfully.

                yes it is the tenants money, but if they dont take responsibility for it, and for their own post and affairs, then the DPS T&Cs do award it to the LL if they have claimed it for a legitimate reason.

                i dont know what would happen if there is no legitimate reason for the LL to use ....

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                • #9
                  Adestor, tenants' bills are nothing to do with you. Your tenants do not need to prove to you whether they paid them.

                  Did you change the names on the bills to either your name or the names of any incoming tenants promptly?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Izzycam View Post
                    I have just contacted the dps today about the same thing.
                    You need to lodge a request asking for deposit back firstly.
                    Then they will try for two weeks to get hold of tenant.
                    After 2 weeks you need to contact them again and say that you wish to get your deposit back, and the reason why (absconded etc).
                    They will then try to trace them again.
                    All in all they tell me the process takes 6 weeks, (sorry to tell you).
                    Good luck.
                    P.S. put it in writing as wel as lodging it on the internet site, then there's no reason they can say they haven't recieved it,also they take ages to answer emails.

                    Just to let you know that with the DPS you can actually bypass the first request .
                    As long as you have had no contact from the tenant for 14 days from the date of tenancy ending you can call the DPS and ask them to send you a single claim form .This saves on the first two weeks of them trying (as you probably already have done this ) and you then fill in the single claim , have it witnessed by solicitor, send back to dps who then have 14 days to conatact tenant.I
                    f no response from tenant then they send back deposit.
                    One thing that I avoid is their free arbritration service , on the single claim form you can say you do not agree to use that .

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                    • #11
                      Hi guys,

                      Thanks for all the replies. I just found out that the tenants have sizeable arrears for electricity and gas. That's coming straight from their deposit. And they even claimed they had paid. One day soon I'm going to give up this landlord malarky.

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                      • #12
                        Why do you want to pay their bills? The deposit is there for damages and possibly unpaid rent to your property. Nothing else. If you use the money to pay bills and the tenant gets to know about it, they could, conceivably, sue you for that part of their deposit back.
                        I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jta View Post
                          Why do you want to pay their bills? The deposit is there for damages and possibly unpaid rent to your property. Nothing else. If you use the money to pay bills and the tenant gets to know about it, they could, conceivably, sue you for that part of their deposit back.
                          Agreed. It is up to the utility companies to chase previous Ts for unpaid energy bills. All you need to have done to prevent yourself being pursued for them, is to change the name on the account from the last day of the tenancy and give the companies the meter readings on that day. Assuming bills are in Ts names, do not pay them of the deposit, for reasons given above.

                          If council tax bill is in your name and T is supposed to make separatepayments to you for it, then you could deduct as longas you have evidence T has not paid you. But that would be an unusual arrangem,ent as most LLs who pay the CT themselves, factor it in to the rent they charge; they don't chase T fro a separate payment.

                          If you have/acquire tenants' contact details, then you may wish to pass those on - most TAs have a clause permitting you to do this.
                          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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