Deposit not protected - Landlord is a limited company - How to proceed?

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    Deposit not protected - Landlord is a limited company - How to proceed?

    My partner and I were assured shorthold tenants of a flat from September 2008 until March 2010. We moved out of the property in March and we have still yet to receive our deposit back from the landlord (£1150). Although we know who the ‘landlord’ is, the landlord is technically a limited company, as detailed on our tenancy agreement.

    Since moving out I have contacted the landlord several times regarding our deposit. Replies of “I’ll do it next week” and “I’m doing it today and I’ll post the cheque today” have been all lies and we have received nothing from the landlord since moving out.

    I only found out about the Housing Act 2004 and the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme whilst searching the internet to find out our options for trying to get our money back. As far as we know the deposit was not protected and we received no information about our deposit being protected at any point during our tenancy and certainly not within 14 days of the tenancy commencing.

    I am planning to file a N208 claim form with the local county court for the deposit itself, 3 x the deposit (£3450) as compensation, the court fee, and interest. I have sent the landlord a Letter Before Action and the 14 day period given on the letter has now passed.

    The flat was in a block of nine flats, and the landlord uses letterbox 10 on the outside of the block for his landlord-related mail. This is the only address we have for the landlord and the address listed on the tenancy agreement. This is the address we sent the Letter Before Action to and the address I plan to list as the Defendant’s address on the court claim. Although the landlord does not live at the flats, during our tenancy he was at the premises usually once a week or once a fortnight to maintain the upkeep of the communal areas, so I do not think he can say that he didn’t get the Letter Before Action.

    I would like to know if I can expect any complications because the landlord is a limited company:
    - Can I simply file a normal N208 form listing the company instead of an individual as the Defendant?
    - I have recently done a company search on the Companies House website and I now also have a registered address for the limited company. Shall I serve court papers to both the address listed on the tenancy agreement (Flat 10 at the block of flats) and the company’s registered address?
    - Will I encounter problems (and high costs) enforcing a court order against a limited company, which may have no assets?
    - Do you think I have a strong case with a high chance of success?

    The deposit is £1150 so it is not an insignificant amount of money, and we really need to money back because we’re struggling to pay off our credit cards bills etc having had the expense of moving house, sorting the money for our new deposit, and paying off credit card bills full of ‘new house’ expenses.

    Many thanks in advance to anyone who can give me some advice.

    #2
    Originally posted by TrickyRed View Post
    As far as we know the deposit was not protected and we received no information about our deposit being protected at any point during our tenancy and certainly not within 14 days of the tenancy commencing.
    What do you mean "As far as we know"?
    ~You need to find out if it is or not, otherwise your claim for 3 x deposit will fail if it is indeed protected.

    Also "He is technically a LTD company".
    What does your tenancy agreement state?

    Do you have a receipt for your deposit, and how much was the rent?
    Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for getting back to me.

      Can we not claims 3x deposit even if it is protected because we were not notified of which deposit protection scheme our money was put in within 14 days of our tenancy commencing? (s.213 of the Housing Act 2004)

      Either way, I will make enquiries with the 3 TDS providers to try and find out if it was protected or not. I expect it was not.

      The landlord is a limited company. The tenancy agreement is between 'xxxx Ltd' and 'myself and my partner'.

      We have a receipt for the deposit (which was paid to the letting agent along with the first months' rent - the letting agent then passed on this money the landlord). Subsequent rent was paid by standing order into the company's bak account. The rent was 575pcm and the deposit was 2 months' rent, £1150.

      Comment


        #4
        The fact that L is a limited company is irrelevant. If a deposit needs protecting, it needs protecting.
        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


          #5
          Originally posted by TrickyRed View Post
          Thanks for getting back to me.

          Can we not claims 3x deposit even if it is protected because we were not notified of which deposit protection scheme our money was put in within 14 days of our tenancy commencing? (s.213 of the Housing Act 2004)
          I don't know, but if it is possible, the judge would need to be convinced that a landlord had gone to the bother of protecting the deposit, but not notifying the tenant. It's unlikely.

          I doubt it has been protected, but you need to know before going further.
          Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
            The fact that L is a limited company is irrelevant. If a deposit needs protecting, it needs protecting.
            But in terms of enforcement, could make life easier.

            Judge may treat a "business" LL with less leniency, and you know that LL owns at least one asset: the property (or you hope it does and is not simply subletting it to the OP).

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by dominic View Post
              But in terms of enforcement, could make life easier.

              You know that LL owns at least one asset: the property (or you hope it does and is not simply subletting it to the OP).
              Yes, I agree. My point was just that any AST's L- even a company- must protect a protectable deposit.
              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


                #8
                Many thanks again for your advice.

                I have phoned all three deposit schemes. No records found based on postcode, first line or address and landlord (company) name.

                So what next? It's been recommended to me to serve a LBA to the company registered address (on top of the LBA sent to the address on the tenancy agreement a few weeks ago) before going to file a claim at court. Is this sensible?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by TrickyRed View Post
                  I would like to know if I can expect any complications because the landlord is a limited company:
                  - Can I simply file a normal N208 form listing the company instead of an individual as the Defendant?
                  Yes.

                  - I have recently done a company search on the Companies House website and I now also have a registered address for the limited company. Shall I serve court papers to both the address listed on the tenancy agreement (Flat 10 at the block of flats) and the company’s registered address?
                  Use the registered address.

                  - Will I encounter problems (and high costs) enforcing a court order against a limited company, which may have no assets?
                  Enforcement costs will be the same whether against an individual or a limited company. You should also be aware of the potential cost consequences of pursuing a Part 8 claim. It will probably be allocated to the multi-track, and court fees alone would be £1,000+ (though these are added to the claim if you win). You would also be exposed to the LL's legal costs if you lose. See
                  http://blog.painsmith.co.uk/2009/05/...or-tds-claims/

                  - Do you think I have a strong case with a high chance of success?
                  That depends on the outcome to a couple of appeal court cases heard last month. The rulings are not yet known, but one possibility is that the LL may be able to avoid the 3x deposit sanction by protecting the deposit late, or by returning it to you. So, it would advisable to await the outcome of the recent cases before considering whether to submit a claim. See

                  http://blog.painsmith.co.uk/2010/02/...cision-on-tdp/
                  http://blog.painsmith.co.uk/2010/04/...come-to-court/

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by TrickyRed View Post

                    So what next? It's been recommended to me to serve a LBA to the company registered address (on top of the LBA sent to the address on the tenancy agreement a few weeks ago) before going to file a claim at court. Is this sensible?
                    It's been recommended by whom?
                    Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by TrickyRed View Post
                      So what next? It's been recommended to me to serve a LBA to the company registered address (on top of the LBA sent to the address on the tenancy agreement a few weeks ago) before going to file a claim at court. Is this sensible?
                      Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                      It's been recommended by whom?
                      It doesn't really matter who advised OP, as Part 6.9 of the Civil Procedure Rules says claims against limited companies must be served to the "Principal office of the company; or any place of business of the company...which has a real connection with the claim". Letterbox #10 isn't a place of business.

                      It would make sense to send the letter before action, as well as the claim, to the company's registered address.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by westminster View Post
                        It doesn't really matter who advised OP,
                        I was wondering why the OP didn't trust them.



                        Originally posted by westminster View Post
                        which has a real connection with the claim[/I]". Letterbox #10 isn't a place of business.
                        Of course not, but it does have a real connection with the claim
                        Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                          It's been recommended by whom?
                          I posted the same initial query on the consumeractiongroup forum and that was one of the replies - see consumeraction group forum/residential-commercial-lettings/263000-tenancy-deposit-not-protected

                          (Sorry, it won't let me post a link because my post count is less than 10)

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Any letter sent to a company's registered office is deemed received (unless returned), surely?
                            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


                              #15
                              Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                              Of course not, but it does have a real connection with the claim
                              I don't know what point you're trying to make.

                              Comment

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