return of undisputed desposit

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  • return of undisputed desposit

    Our lease ended 2 months ago on Feb 8th. We had requested the landlord's agent to return the undisputed part of the deposit. Instead of agreeing on the undisputed amount, the landlord came back with additional charges : curtains need additional cleaning eventhough the professional cleaning was finished 1 and 1/2 months ago, increase of the damage charges. That means that the undisputed amount now has just been decreased. We would like to get the remaining of our deposit as soon as possible before he demands more additional unreasonable charges which further increase the disputed amount. The landlord has been nasty and making the end of tenancy process very difficult ever since he was told off for repeatly entering the premise without notifying us or the agent after we had moved out but we were still under the leasing agreement. How can we expedite the return of the undisputed deposit?

  • #2
    Can you give more details on how the deposit is held, what is the exact wording on the AST. Have you dead the deposit document in articles on the home page of this site?


    • #3
      I think that your only option is to write to your ex-landlord and advise him that if the undisputed portion of the deposit is not propmtly returned, then you will have no option but to seek redress in the small claims court. This is quite easy: With regard to your disputed bit, about we know nothing, there is tons and tons about deposits here and what is and is not allowable as a deduction.

      Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


      • #4
        deposit clause stated... please explain

        According to the tenancy agreement:

        Any balance of the said deposit after deductions for any works required by the findings of the inventory clerk shall be repayable to the Tenant provided that if the LL and the Tenant shall not have agreed the balance of the said sum repayable to the Tenant within 60 days from the determination of the tenancy the LL and the Tenant shall be deemed to have hereby irrevocably authorised the Independent Housing Ombudsman to apportion the deposit between the LL and the Tenant in such proportion as in its absolute discretion is considered just and equitable in all circumstances. Should this independent opinion be necessary the cost shall be borne equally by LL and Tenant.

        Does this mean the process of going to Ombudsman will automatically kicked in after 60 days? Any idea what the ombudsman do in order to determine the proportional amount? I'm trying to see if perhaps it's the quickest and least frustrating way to get my deposit back. Appreciate any clarification/advice. Kim


        • #5
          Seems to me that the deposit status is undefined.

          Paul F writes:

          "If the status of the deposit has not been defined within the tenancy agreement then it is the tenant’s money and cannot be appropriated without their consent. The reason being is that there is no authority to do so. The consequence of this is that if the agreement is “silent” it can only be released upon consent or order of a Court.

          Until they agree the money can just sit in the agent’s client account, even if it has to go to Court for a decision to be made. It is probably better not to get involved save having assessed the dilapidations. Whilst the agent acts for the landlord, they make a professional assessment to the best of their ability. This does not mean favouring the landlord if it compromises a lawful point, or is unfair or unreasonable to the tenant."

          As for the Ombudsman automatically kicking in after 60 days, dont bet on it, just because it says something in the AST, doesnt make it lawfull. If you have done everything you can and you think the landlord is unfairly holding your deposit, you have written to the agent and threatened to take the landlord to court (dont sue the agent and be prepared to carry out your threat), then take him to court.


          • #6
            Here we go again!

            The Independent Housing Ombusdman is a voluntary subscriber organisation so the landlord has to have done so for it to be any use. It might be a clause in the AST that has been cloned from another one and has no meaning so you will have to check out if it is any good to you.

            I should also point out (yet again) that the clause is not in plain English so would imagine the rest of the AST is similarly flawed. Unfair contract terms etc.etc.etc. that cannot be imposed on the tenant!

            If the deposit has an undefined status then it could be deemed to be as landlord's agent, purely as the AST is between L & T the agent must act on any instructions from his client in the circumstances of dilapidations being assessed. This is one for the courts to decide though as legal opinion does differ!

            I feel however that after two months they can't now invent other matters for resolution, and of course any agents charges cannot be levied against the tenant unless they were notifed of them before they took the tenancy.
            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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