Dispute on returning security deposit

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    Dispute on returning security deposit

    Dear All

    I am an international student at here in the UK and I had been staying at a private shared accommodation during the period starting from 11 Sep 2009 till 8 Mar 2010. I had paid a security deposit of GBP 255/(equivalent to one months contract)- to my landlord and signed a contract for a duration of 6 months. I fulfilled my contract and vacated the house and handed over the key to the landlord . Now, after a week since my moving out, my landlord is making false allegations about the condition of the room(about the inherent dampness in the room) and is refusing to pay back the security deposit.He infact started the renovation work even before contacting me. He has send me a bill for GBP 500. I also now realise that the landlord has never handed over to me the TDS certificate. I have confirmed with TDS and the other 2 schemes that he has not protected the deposit. His argument seems to be that it was a rent in advance where as the contract clearly states that the money was held as a security against any potential damages. Could you please help me on how i need to proceed here taking into consideration that i am a foreign student here.
    Thanks in advance
    Jonathan

    #2
    To add to the above information , TDS also has confirmed he hasnt protected the deposits of any of my ex-house mates
    Thanx in advance
    Jonathan

    Comment


      #3
      The first thing to clarify is if your landlord lived in the same building as you? If he did not, then there was no need for him to put your deposit in a scheme.

      If your landlord lived elsewhere - then this letter might help get your deposit back. Please read my notes about the extra landlord penalty which are printed directly above the letter.

      http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk...ml#post2576374

      EDIT: Your housemates could send the same letter, even if they are still living there.

      Comment


        #4
        Than you sir for the quick response .

        The land lord did not live in the same building.
        Could u please comment on how the fact that the tenancy has ended impacts the 3X penalty rule.
        The landlord also is keen on refunding my deposit first and then charging me for the damages.

        Thanks in advance.
        Jonathan

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by intstudent View Post
          Than you sir for the quick response .

          The land lord did not live in the same building.
          Could u please comment on how the fact that the tenancy has ended impacts the 3X penalty rule.
          The landlord also is keen on refunding my deposit first and then charging me for the damages.

          Thanks in advance.
          Jonathan
          The fact that the tenancy has ended does not affect the 3x rule - but what does affect it is a recent court case that essentially said that late protecting a deposit that is held would not trigger the 3x - it is only for NOT protecting it. The effect of this is that if you commenced proceedings for 3x (which are neither cheap, quick nor simple) your landlord would not be ordered to pay anything if the deposit was protected with DPS (or the deposit refunded) before the court hearing. Also, as it would not be a 'small claims case' (they are never referred to Small Claims - no matter what the value) you could be liable for your opponents legal costs (solicitors £75+ an hour).

          If you take the landlord to the court for just the deposit, you can do that through the 'small claims' at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. - It is relatively cheap and simple. Presuming you win, the landlord would have to refund the court fees to you.

          If your landlord refunds your deposit (or if he counterclaims in the above) he will have to PROVE that the damages he alleges were caused by you. If there was no inventory or condition report signed by you when you moved in, he would find that very difficult.

          It is worth noting that court decisions made in the UK can be enforced anywhere in the EU.

          Comment


            #6
            The landlord did not protect the deposit for any amount of time over the course of the 6 months tenancy. On what grounds can he be exempted from the penalty if he protects it now ? No body is gaining anything by that action.

            I had signed a perfect inventory condition certificate when i moved in . The damages are due to the inherent dampness in room which i am not responsible for. He has photographs of the room before and after. Also please note that he did not inform me before starting the repair work.
            Thanks in advance
            Jonathan

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by intstudent View Post
              The landlord did not protect the deposit for any amount of time over the course of the 6 months tenancy. On what grounds can he be exempted from the penalty if he protects it now ? No body is gaining anything by that action.
              Because the Housing Act 2004 only says he has to protect it - the section about sanctions does not say anything about protecting it late. You can try to get the 3x by all means, but it is my opinion that the costs and potential downfalls outweigh the possible benefit. Obviously, you would need to take legal advice, but the decision I referred to was a High Court one by Mr Justice Tugendhat in the case of Draycott v Hannells Lettings Ltd.
              I had signed a perfect inventory condition certificate when i moved in . The damages are due to the inherent dampness in room which i am not responsible for. He has photographs of the room before and after.
              That is your opinion, and could be right. However, you may need more than your opinion for it to stand up in court. The landlord is only responsible for damp caused by a structural defect. If the 'damp' was actually 'condensation' then that is caused by the tenants lifestyle and could be your responsibility.
              Also please note that he did not inform me before starting the repair work.
              The landlord has no obligation to inform you of this. IF the damages are attributable to you, you had plenty of opportunity to put them right before you moved out. Your obligation (and I repeat this is only applicable if the damages are your fault) is to return the property to the landlord in the condition it was in when you moved in (less wear and tear).

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks again for ur valuable comments. I understand that it is the responsibility of the land lord to protect the tenants deposit and it is the TDS people who have to mediate and settle and disputes with regard to returning it . Now that the land lord has not involved TDS , does he still have the right to sue me for damages?
                thanks in advance
                Jonathan

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by intstudent View Post
                  Thanks again for ur valuable comments. I understand that it is the responsibility of the land lord to protect the tenants deposit and it is the TDS people who have to mediate and settle and disputes with regard to returning it . Now that the land lord has not involved TDS , does he still have the right to sue me for damages?
                  thanks in advance
                  Jonathan

                  That's not completely right, the landlord does not have to agree to use TDS to arbitrate the dispute. That can only happen if both of you agree to it. Since the landlord appears to be claiming more than your deposit anyway he would have to claim it through a court.

                  As Snorkerz say's, he only has to protect it now and any claim you make for 3x deposit is almost certain to fail. Damp appearing in a room that has never had it before is very likely to be down to your lifestyle.
                  I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                    The fact that the tenancy has ended does not affect the 3x rule - but what does affect it is a recent court case that essentially said that late protecting a deposit that is held would not trigger the 3x - it is only for NOT protecting it. The effect of this is that if you commenced proceedings for 3x (which are neither cheap, quick nor simple) your landlord would not be ordered to pay anything if the deposit was protected with DPS (or the deposit refunded) before the court hearing. Also, as it would not be a 'small claims case' (they are never referred to Small Claims - no matter what the value) you could be liable for your opponents legal costs (solicitors £75+ an hour)
                    I have a situation where my deposit was protected first but then the LA went into liquidation and ceased to be a member of the scheme. Therefore, my LL had to re-protect it afterwards which she failed to do.

                    I failed a Part 8 against her for deposit + 3*deposit. Do you think the fact that the deposit was protected first and was not re-protected because the agent went into liquidation will be enough for the judge to decide in LL's favour?

                    Surely I cannot be obliged to pay for my LL's legal costs because she simply refused to re-protect my deposit?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Platomey View Post
                      Surely I cannot be obliged to pay for my LL's legal costs because she simply refused to re-protect my deposit?
                      I believe you would only be at risk of an order for your landlords costs incurred after your landlord protected (or returned) the deposit. Once that has been done, the claim has no further purpose so to continue it would needlessly incur costs for both parties. If you chose to do so, you would have to bear the cost.

                      Comment

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