Agents withholding deposit

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    Agents withholding deposit

    We had let a property via a letting agent >1 year ago. They were useless...rent always >1 month late...unable to contact them etc. The agents took the deposit and told us that they had protected it. Now they are refusing to return it to the tenants. We had informed them that we were happy with everything and they should return deposit. No paperwork regarding the protection was given to tenant.

    Our agreement was terminated with a mutual settlement fee as we were not happy with services. The fee and last months management fee due to the agents when deposit is returned to tenants(written agreement). We collected the rent directly for the last month. Despite repeated requests they have not returned the deposits to the tenants.

    We have agreed to help the tenants to recover their money.

    Is it best for tenant to sue the agent and if so will she need legal representation?

    Thanks

    #2
    Call the three schemes and check whether the deposit is protected. If yes, then the tenant should raise a dispute with the scheme.

    Ultimately, the landlord is responsible for both protecting and returning the deposit (the tenant has no contract with the agent) so if the deposit is not protected, and the agent refuses to hand it back, then it is you who the tenant would claim against. She would not need to use a solicitor.

    Anyway, I assume you would not force the tenant to claim against you, so what would happen is that you would give the money to the tenant (and make sure you get proof of doing so - don't just hand over cash), then claim against the agent for the money they are withholding.

    Next time, use an agent who is a member of a professional body such as ARLA, NAEA etc.

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