Letting agent won't return deposit

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  • Letting agent won't return deposit

    I would appreciate any help anyone can give me. I rented for a short term last year and my landlord wanted to keep our deposit for repairs. To cut a long story short, we took them to court and won our case to get our deposit back, and the landlord told the judge he would request the release of our deposit to us. I contacted the LA who told us the landlord wants to appeal the courts decision and won't give us the money. I have a court order, can I make the LA give me the money back?
    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    In a civil case, which this is, the landlord can not 'appeal' against the decision unless there has been some significant proceedural error by the judge. This rarely happens, and an application must be made within 21 days of the judgement, or it will not be allowed.

    His other alternative would be to request that the judgement was set aside. This only applies if he or his representative was not at court. He has 14 days from receipt of the judgement to apply for this - and would only be successful if he had a 'good' reason for non-attendance.

    Presuming neither of these have happened, then you need to take action to have the order enforced. If the order was that the landlord pays you £XXX, then it will be relatively easy to get results. You have options which include getting his current tenants to pay you instead of him (3rd party order), or sending the bailiffs around (warrant of execution). More details here: http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/i...iffs/index.htm

    If the order obtained from the court was simply that the landlord do something (eg tell the deposit agency to release the funds) and he hasn't done so, then he will be in contempt of court and could end up with al sorts of penalties.

    From the vagueness of the last sentence, you will realise that I am not sure of the process for dealing with breach of court, or the penalties, but I am sure a legal eagle will be along soon

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for your reply
      They did attend court as they had a counterclaim in for supposed damage which the judge ruled as fair wear and tear on all counts. They told the judge they would instruct the LA to release the funds which they have not yet done. The court order just gives the amount of the claim to be paid and that the counterclaim is dismissed. I contacted the court today and they said is is very unusual for an appeal in small claims for the reasons you gave and also the costs involved. They said I had to wait 3 weeks to have the order inforced, however, the LA is trying to contact the landlord to see what is happening. It will be interesting to see if they are forthcoming with the court fee though!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Happygirl View Post
        Thanks for your reply
        They did attend court as they had a counterclaim in for supposed damage which the judge ruled as fair wear and tear on all counts. They told the judge they would instruct the LA to release the funds which they have not yet done. The court order just gives the amount of the claim to be paid and that the counterclaim is dismissed. I contacted the court today and they said is is very unusual for an appeal in small claims for the reasons you gave and also the costs involved. They said I had to wait 3 weeks to have the order inforced, however, the LA is trying to contact the landlord to see what is happening. It will be interesting to see if they are forthcoming with the court fee though!
        Remember, your case was against the Landlord, so any action you take would be against him.

        IF you only get the deposit and not the court fees - which the order will have said needed to be paid - then you can enforce those in the same way as the original debt, and the cost of that enforcemet would have to be paid by LL as well.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
          In a civil case, which this is, the landlord can not 'appeal' against the decision unless there has been some significant proceedural error by the judge. This rarely happens, and an application must be made within 21 days of the judgement, or it will not be allowed.
          You can also appeal on the ground that the decision was wrong.

          You have options which include getting his current tenants to pay you instead of him (3rd party order)
          How does this work? I know that when the third party is a bank, the debtor's account is 'frozen' - but what happens if the order is served on a current tenant, is the current tenant's bank account frozen?

          Comment


          • #6
            I have been told by the court that an appeal has to be on a specified point of law and not just that the person feels the decision is wrong.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Happygirl View Post
              I have been told by the court that an appeal has to be on a specified point of law and not just that the person feels the decision is wrong.
              See CPR 52.11(3)(a)

              (3)The appeal court will allow an appeal where the decision of the lower court was –

              (a)wrong; or

              (b)unjust because of a serious procedural or other irregularity in the proceedings in the lower court.
              Source
              http://www.justice.gov.uk/civil/proc...52.htm#IDASPQZ

              Comment


              • #8
                You're both right. In this context, 'wrong' means legally wrong.
                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).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by westminster View Post
                  How does this work? I know that when the third party is a bank, the debtor's account is 'frozen' - but what happens if the order is served on a current tenant, is the current tenant's bank account frozen?
                  It's a 3rd party debt order, the tenant is a 3rd party who owes a debt to the landlord.

                  Just thoughts - not legal reasoning - there could be no interim order freezing the tenants account, but unlike a bank account, landlord could not stop the current tenants liability for rent (ie empty the account). Presumably at the '3rd party hearing' the tenant would be ordered to pay the judgement creditor (ex tenant) an amount equal to the monthly rent commitment, until the judgement amount plus costs are cleared. If the current T failed/refused to do that, they would be in contempt of court and face whatever penalties applied. LL could not use non-payment of rent against current T to evict under s8 because T would be able to prove that they had paid - but to someone else by court order. Of course, stroppy LL may then use s21 against new T - but that will be a new thread on here in a few months time!

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                  • #10
                    Sorry, I should have stated I live in Northern Ireland and I think the rules here are slightly different.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                      It's a 3rd party debt order, the tenant is a 3rd party who owes a debt to the landlord.

                      Just thoughts - not legal reasoning - there could be no interim order freezing the tenants account, but unlike a bank account, landlord could not stop the current tenants liability for rent (ie empty the account). Presumably at the '3rd party hearing' the tenant would be ordered to pay the judgement creditor (ex tenant) an amount equal to the monthly rent commitment, until the judgement amount plus costs are cleared. If the current T failed/refused to do that, they would be in contempt of court and face whatever penalties applied. LL could not use non-payment of rent against current T to evict under s8 because T would be able to prove that they had paid - but to someone else by court order. Of course, stroppy LL may then use s21 against new T - but that will be a new thread on here in a few months time!
                      Seems a bit harsh on the current tenant if they had to get caught up the previous tenant's enforcement problems, but if it's possible to do this, then it's a fiendishly cunning way of enforcing a judgment against a landlord!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Happygirl View Post
                        Sorry, I should have stated I live in Northern Ireland and I think the rules here are slightly different.
                        Oops. Yes, just as in Scotland, NI legal system often differs significantly from that of E&W.
                        But what matters is the jurisdiction in which you were T, not where you are now living.
                        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).

                        Comment

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