Who is responsible for refunding the deposit?

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  • Who is responsible for refunding the deposit?

    Hope someone can help out. We paid the damage deposit (receipted) to the letting agency (who may have thought they were going to manage the property at that time). Although the inventory check was going to be done with the agency, the landlord stepped in at the last moment and dealt direct.

    He's not been a great landlord and I suspect he'll try to retain as much as possible of the deposit on whatever excuse.

    Who do we claim the deposit back from? The agency, or the landlord?

  • #2
    No matter who's holding it, if you have to sue, you sue the landlord. The agent would only hold it on the landlord's behalf.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the reply, but the landlord could easily refuse to refund without seeing a receipt, which of course is made out to the agency.

      Our contract, is surely with the agency, so if it came to suing (& I certainly hope it doesn't), we'd have to claim from them and they would claim from the landlord.

      On the other hand, the agency could refuse to refund as they didn't carry out inventory checks........

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      • #4
        Your contract is with the landlord, the agent acts ON BEHALF of the landlord, the deposit is taken by the agent ON BEHALF of the landlord.

        You should have a tenancy agreement as well as a receipt saying it's for the deposit for the property you're renting.

        If you end having to sue for the return of your deposit you'd have to sue the landlord.
        The landlord would then (if you win) instruct the agent to refund you, or the landlord would refund you himself and then get the money from the agent.

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        • #5
          You're getting confused like a lot of tenants.

          You have a contract with the landlord only, the agent acts as..........well, agent. You have no legal entitity with the agent. Were the agent to go bust or run off with your money the landlord is ultimately responsible for the safekeeping and return of your deposit. I have to say no inventory signed by you means the landlord will struggle to justify any retention but you may have to go to court if he proves awkward. Mind you you are likely to win but it's inconveninet to have to do so. Not for much longer though when the tenancy deposit scheme kicks-in, in October!

          If the agent is an ARLA/NAEA/RICS member then your money is safe from being "misappropriated" by insurance. I bet they're not members though!
          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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          • #6
            Originally posted by linlin
            Thanks for the reply, but the landlord could easily refuse to refund without seeing a receipt, which of course is made out to the agency.

            Our contract, is surely with the agency, so if it came to suing (& I certainly hope it doesn't), we'd have to claim from them and they would claim from the landlord.

            On the other hand, the agency could refuse to refund as they didn't carry out inventory checks........
            Why on earth did you bother to post and ask a question if you were going to ignire the answer given to you !!???

            You are wrong of course, but I just can't understand your attitude towards Jennifer_M help !

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            • #7
              Originally posted by zoe
              Why on earth did you bother to post and ask a question if you were going to ignire the answer given to you !!???

              You are wrong of course, but I just can't understand your attitude towards Jennifer_M help !
              I don't have an attitude toward Jennifer or anyone else! As to ignoring anyone, I was attempting to ascertain the exact details of who our "contract" is with. I am well aware of the law of agency, but our contract for the deposit is apparently with the agent, who in this case, may need to be approached first. I do not understand why you bother to instigate such provocative remarks - it certainly does not entice one to ask for friendly, informed feedback and cannot encourage the forum's otherwise good reputation.

              Thanks to all who have replied in propitious terms.

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              • #8
                You are still confused though.

                You do not have any contract with the agent.
                You have a contract with the landlord, the landlord has a contract with the agent. The agent acts ON BEHALF OF the landlord hence the name agent.

                When the agent takes your deposit it's to either give it to the landlord or hold it on behalf of the landlord. It's never the agent's money.

                Although feel free to sue the agent if needs be and if you still don't believe me but bear in mind you'll have to pay for the cost of it when you lose the case as the agent isn't responsible for the deposit.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by linlin
                  I don't have an attitude toward Jennifer or anyone else! As to ignoring anyone, I was attempting to ascertain the exact details of who our "contract" is with. I am well aware of the law of agency, but our contract for the deposit is apparently with the agent, who in this case, may need to be approached first. I do not understand why you bother to instigate such provocative remarks - it certainly does not entice one to ask for friendly, informed feedback and cannot encourage the forum's otherwise good reputation.

                  Thanks to all who have replied in propitious terms.
                  Hope you have read the authorative post by Paul_f. and now realise the advice initially provided by Jennifer was completely correct.

                  I find it somewhat surprising that in these circumstances you follow up with further positings that seem to suggest you have ignored or wish to dispute the advice you have been offered.

                  That does seem to be a little ungracious as all who contribute here do so on a voluntary basis and endeavour to give advice based on experience and supported where necessary by professionals such as Paul.
                  Vic - wicked landlord
                  Any advice or suggestions given in my posts are intended for guidance only and not a substitute for completing full searches on this forum, having regard to the advice of others, or seeking appropriate professional opinion.
                  Without Plain English Codes of Practice and easy to complete Prescribed Forms the current law is too complex and is thus neither fair to good tenants nor good landlords.

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