Can a Tenant claim 3 x tenancy deposit after tenancy ended?

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  • Can a Tenant claim 3 x tenancy deposit after tenancy ended?

    My tenant has vacated my property and i have paid back in full his deposit, the house wanst spotless but, when i came to look at the dps scheme it wasnt there, i had not transfered it over, i had forgot, so i sent the tenant a cheque and thought that would be it, he is now claiming the 3x but he is asked for payment out of court first, can he do this now? or should i take it to court?

  • #2
    Once you have repaid T's deposit, he has no real claim against you for the 3x civil penalty. There are many existing LZ threads about this.
    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
      Originally posted by Scruffy234 View Post
      My tenant has vacated my property and i have paid back in full his deposit, the house wanst spotless but, when i came to look at the dps scheme it wasnt there, i had not transfered it over, i had forgot, so i sent the tenant a cheque and thought that would be it, he is now claiming the 3x but he is asked for payment out of court first, can he do this now? or should i take it to court?
      Cheeky blighter. I think he is trying it on and you should not worry too much. The whole point of the DPS is that unscrupulous LLs should not be able to keep their tenants' deposits unfairly at the end of the tenancy. You have not kept his deposit; you have refunded it in full, without, it would appear, having to be nagged. The principle has been adhered to, albeit unconventionally.

      If I were you I would not even consider 'settling out of court'. This almost smacks of blackmail. If this tenant were able to persuade a judge that he had a case, I would be amazed. Normally the penalty is only awarded against LLs who have not protected or repaid the deposit by the time of the hearing. If you point these things out to your tenant, I would be very surprised if he proceeds with his ridiculous action.
      '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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      • #4
        Originally posted by Scruffy234 View Post
        My tenant has vacated my property and i have paid back in full his deposit, the house wanst spotless but, when i came to look at the dps scheme it wasnt there, i had not transfered it over, i had forgot, so i sent the tenant a cheque and thought that would be it, he is now claiming the 3x but he is asked for payment out of court first, can he do this now? or should i take it to court?
        Was the letting an AST? If not, you could never have protected the deposit anyway.
        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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        • #5
          It was an AST, I am just doing a letter to him, lets see what happens. Thanks everyone for your quick response

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
            Once you have repaid T's deposit, he has no real claim against you for the 3x civil penalty. There are many existing LZ threads about this.
            Why? The sanctions arent for failing to return the deposit, the sanctions are for failing to protect the deposit. The fact the money has been returned is irrelevant. And there are cases on here, and other sites where the LL has had to pay the 3x deposit, even after having paid the deposit back.

            For example

            If a burglar robs a bank, and then gets caught. Is there no crime committed if he returns the money?

            As the Act states, an application can be made on the grounds that the deposit wasnt protected, and then if the court is satisfied it wasnt protected, then the court must rectify the situation and the court must also award the 3x compensation. There is no provision for a return of the deposit to mitigate the offence.

            Remember that it is a strict liability offence, ie there is no excuse for not knowing about what you had to do.

            What if the LL had gone bankrupt with the tenants money during the tenancy? The tenant would have lost their money. Is it fair that the tenant had to unknowingly take this risk on?

            There are reasons why this law needs to be enforced, or is it simply a recommendation that doesnt need to be followed? A law is a law is a law! No excuses!

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            • #7
              Has he cashed the cheque?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by awt19 View Post
                Why?
                If a burglar robs a bank, and then gets caught. Is there no crime committed if he returns the money?
                Not quite the same thing though is it? The idea of the DPS is to stop rogue LL's making off with deposits, a civil matter. Your hypothetical burglar at the bank is committing a criminal act.
                I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Soot2006 View Post
                  Has he cashed the cheque?
                  good point.

                  The OP should check (!) that the cheque has cleared before writing to the ex-T, otherwise he could claim that he hasn't received the deposit back.

                  harry

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jta View Post
                    Not quite the same thing though is it? The idea of the DPS is to stop rogue LL's making off with deposits, a civil matter. Your hypothetical burglar at the bank is committing a criminal act.
                    The point being that a statutory requirement was not met.... it doesnt change the fact it wasnt met by returning the deposit does it!

                    Or are you suggesting the Housing Act 2004 is simply a recommendation that Landlords can chose to follow if they want to?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by awt19 View Post
                      The point being that a statutory requirement was not met.... it doesnt change the fact it wasnt met by returning the deposit does it!

                      Or are you suggesting the Housing Act 2004 is simply a recommendation that Landlords can chose to follow if they want to?
                      I'm not suggesting anything, the fact is that where the deposit has been returned in full, the courts do not generally impose the penalty. The penalty of 3x the deposit is not a fine by the way, but is awarded directly to the tenant. That has encouraged the greedy types of behaviour that we see too often on this forum. In fact I think that a lot of Uni's have notices stuck up everywhere actually encouraging the students to do just that.
                      It's one thing to have a penalty aimed at LL's, why not a similar swingeing penalty for tenants that do not use their HB/LHA for the purpose it is for?

                      Incidentally, the little curly thing on your keyboard is an apostrophe, why not use it occasionally.
                      I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

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                      • #12
                        awt, the link you provided just goes round in circles and does not seem to lead to details of any cases where a LL has been penalised after having returned the deposit in full at the end of the tenancy, even if he failed to protect it during the tenancy.

                        Please could you provide a link which does?

                        I am curious to see one, since it was my understanding that no case had gone this way yet.
                        '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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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                          Please could you provide a link which does?

                          I am curious to see one, since it was my understanding that no case had gone this way yet.
                          Apologies, I meant to post this link...

                          try this one...

                          Read post 14 from natalie.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jta View Post
                            the fact is that where the deposit has been returned in full, the courts do not generally impose the penalty.
                            Care to supply us with some evidence of your facts? You'll see the case linked to above shows the opposite.

                            Originally posted by jta View Post
                            Incidentally, the little curly thing on your keyboard is an apostrophe, why not use it occasionally.
                            Curly? Nah... Id say an apostrophe is more straight than curly. I think youre thinking of a comma.

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                            • #15
                              This doesn't actually seem to be a clear-cut case such as OP's.

                              The general consensus over the last few months seems to be that it is a pig's ear of a piece of drafting which judges seem to be interpreting in different ways.

                              In theory OP's tenant could bring a case against him, but I agree with jta that this is not the same as a bank robber re-paying the money he steals; plus, there seems to be far more evidence of LLs escaping the 3x penalty by late protection or repayment, than of LLs being stung for it (if they have complied late or repaid).
                              '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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