LL not returning deposit, deposit not protected, what are my options?

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  • LL not returning deposit, deposit not protected, what are my options?

    Standard AST, £480 deposit paid in September 2006.
    New agreement signed every 6 months, last agreement signed in March 2009.
    Moved out November 2009.
    Deposit NOT protected, as confirmed in writing by my LL and in writing from the 3 schemes.

    After I moved out the LL sent me a letter confirming the full £480 would be returned when I provided proof that all utility bills were paid. They wanted to see stamped bills though, which I couldn't provide because I paid them online. But I emailed them payment receipts which they've not objected to.

    However, despite several requests, I've still not received the deposit back.

    I'm about to send them a LBA, in the hope that will focus their minds. I really can't see how they've got a leg to stand on in court.

    I was going to submit a normal claim for the amount of the deposit (N1 claim form). But would I have a valid case for going down the 3 x deposit claim route, because they didn't protect my deposit? Or is it too late for that?

    From what I've read, the courts accept that if you sign a new tenancy agreement after April 2007 the deposit legislation applies, even if the actual deposit was paid before then. Though my LL confirmed in writing (in June 2009) that my deposit wasn't protected because it wasn't required to be.

    What would be the best thing to do in my situation? I'm mainly bothered about getting the £480 back, but I certainly wouldn't be upset if they got hit by a big fine.

  • #2
    There's no definitive answer. See

    But the majority view seems to be that deposits do need to be protected where there is a renewal of the tenancy after April 2007.

    See also

    As your landlord is adamant that protection was not required, there is a reasonable chance of succeeding in a claim; that is, he probably won't try to avoid the penalty by returning the deposit, and there is a strong case to argue that protection was required. I suggest you contact PainSmith (a specialist landlord/tenant firm of solicitors, link via the above blog post) as I think they take on deposit non-compliance cases on a no-win-no-fee basis. It would be inadvisable to pursue this route without proper legal advice due to the scale of court fees in the multi-track, and the exposure to the defendant's legal costs.

    However, if you decide just to claim for return of the deposit, then it's fine to DIY as it would be allocated to the small claims track. The deposit is your money unless the LL can prove he is entitled to keep it, and it doesn't sound like the LL has any valid claim to the deposit.


    • #3
      Westminster, thanks for your help.


      • #4
        Well... I decided to send the LL a letter before action. Within 2 hours of receipt, the cheque was ready for me to collect.

        They had a bit of a rant about how disappointed they were that I'd resorted to threats of legal action blah blah blah, but it certainly did the trick. Just hope the cheque doesn't bounce....

        Once again thanks for your help, and keep up the good work.


        • #5
          Wait for it to clear; only if it does should you celebrate.
          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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