Letting Agent withholding my tenants' deposit

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  • Letting Agent withholding my tenants' deposit

    I recently terminated my agreement with my Letting Agent over renewal fees.

    I now deal directly with my tenants.

    The letting agent however is still holding my tenant's deposit.

    Despite my requests (in writing also) for them to return it to my tenant, the agent will not even acknowledge or respond.

    I know it is not legal for them to offset any tenant's funds (the deposit)against any fees they believe I as landlord may owe them.

    Apart from reporting the agent to ARLA, the NAEA, the Ombudsman for Estate Agents, and Trading Standards, how can I force return of the deposit to my tenants?

    Any advice appreciated.

  • #2
    what does the AST state about how the deposit is held and who by?

    Whats the problem with letting the LA keep the deposit and protecting it until the end of the tenancy - unless of course you have reason to believe they have not protected it etc?

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    • #3
      Although Poppy35's suggestion would be perfectly reasonable in the case of a well-run and reputable letting agent, my concern would be that it might too easy for them to access the money (especially in non-custodial schemes) and that a nt inconsiderable number of letting agents 'disappear' or go bust - taking LLs' and Ts' money with them. LL would then have to sue LA for its return, whilst either finding the equivalent amount out of his own pocket to refund to T or risk being sued by T. Sounds stressful. I would want it back to re-protect it myself.

      The risk (of LA refusing/being unable) to return this money must surely be higher if LL has parted company with LA mid-tenancy.

      Marrcustandy, how much do you trust your agent?
      '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
        Under these circumstances it is reasonable for the landlord to retrieve and re-protect his tenant's deposit. There is a possibility, I suppose, that if the parting of landlord and agent has not been in accordance with the terms and conditions which they signed up to when the agent commenced his duties, said agent might be aggrieved and holding onto the deposit for this reason. If this is not the case than court action is the only way forward.

        P.P.
        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.

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