Given notice to move out - too late to protect deposit?

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    Given notice to move out - too late to protect deposit?

    Hello

    I wonder if anyone could advise on this situation -

    I have been living in a shared property for a couple of years. I have recently given notice to move out of the property. I am pretty sure that my deposit has not been placed in the tenant deposit scheme. I am now concerned that the landlord may try to keep some of my deposit unfairly, as there are a few issues he has raised regarding the condition of communal areas which we believe are simply fair wear and tear on the property. Recently he has threatened to use our deposits to pay for such things.

    I believe that had my deposit been in this scheme then there would have been some mediation provided if we did not agree on the return of the deposit. As it stands, he may simply keep some of my deposit and refuse to give it back?

    Obviously I should have made sure the deposit was protected straight away and will not make this mistake again!

    Is it too late to ask him to protect the deposit, given that I have already given notice?

    Many thanks!

    #2
    Originally posted by jenn View Post
    I have been living in a shared property for a couple of years.
    1. Do you have a contract for your room, or is there a joint contract signed by all tenants?
    2. Is it an assured shorthold tenancy in England/Wales, rent less than £2,083.33 pcm?
    3. Is the landlord non-resident?


    I believe that had my deposit been in this scheme then there would have been some mediation provided if we did not agree on the return of the deposit. As it stands, he may simply keep some of my deposit and refuse to give it back?
    The deposit schemes do provide an adjudication service to settle disputes, but it is optional (i.e. the LL could refuse to use it). You always have the option of claiming via the county court (if the claim is less than £5,000, it will be allocated to the small claims track, where fees are low and you don't need a solicitor).

    Is it too late to ask him to protect the deposit, given that I have already given notice?
    It's not to late to ask; it can be protected the same day.

    Comment


      #3
      I have my own contract for my room, we each have our own contracts. Yes it is an assured shorthold tenancy, and the landlord is non-resident.

      If the landlord can refuse to use the adjudication service and there is a dispute, does this mean that I could still end up going to the small claims court to try to get it back? I don't know if I'm going to benefit at this stage by trying to get it put in the scheme, or if this will antagonise the landlord further and make him more likely to be unreasonable!

      I'm also going to be going abroad for several months shortly after moving out, so would need to get a family member to act on my behalf, if indeed this is possible.

      Comment


        #4
        You can only be held responsible for damage to areas that you have exclusive access to - ie your room. Was an inventory/condition report taken when you moved in?

        There is a letter on this page that you might find useful to get your deposit back in full. http://www.tenancyanswers.ucoz.com/i..._protected/0-4

        With regard to court action, the only people with a legal right to represent you in court are yourself or a solicitor - ie a relative couldn't.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
          You can only be held responsible for damage to areas that you have exclusive access to - ie your room. Was an inventory/condition report taken when you moved in?
          Again this is something that I didnt insist upon, but certainly will in the future!

          Comment


            #6
            And when were you granted the most recent Tenancy or renewal; was it before 6 April 2007?
            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


              #7
              Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
              And when were you granted the most recent Tenancy or renewal; was it before 6 April 2007?
              It was after, it was in 2008.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by jenn View Post
                It was after, it was in 2008.
                I asked because Deposit Protection does not apply to an AST deposit paid before 6 April 2007.
                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 Snorkerz View Post
                  Was an inventory/condition report taken when you moved in?
                  Originally posted by jenn View Post
                  Again this is something that I didnt insist upon, but certainly will in the future!
                  It will work to your advantage, be it court or a deposit scheme, the landlord is going to have to prove what damage you have caused, with no proof of the original condition he is going to find that extremely difficult.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by jenn View Post
                    If the landlord can refuse to use the adjudication service and there is a dispute, does this mean that I could still end up going to the small claims court to try to get it back?
                    Yes.

                    And you have done nothing wrong by failing to insist on deposit protection or inventory. You couldn't have forced the LL to do either.

                    Re the inventory, as snorkerz says, it primarily protects the LL, because the deposit is your money, and in order to prove deductions from the deposit (whether the dispute is decided via adjudication or the court), the LL must prove the tenant's liability. This means he must firstly show evidence of the original good condition of the property - otherwise the alleged damage could have been there at the start of the tenancy.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thanks guys for the information!

                      So would there be any benefit to me now in asking him to put the deposit in the scheme?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jenn View Post
                        Thanks guys for the information!

                        So would there be any benefit to me now in asking him to put the deposit in the scheme?
                        Yes, because firstly LL might agree to use the adjudication service if there was a dispute, and secondly, it makes enforcement easier if you have to go to court to claim the deposit back, because the money would be held by the DPS (but you'd have to get the judgment order to specify that the DPS must pay you). It's much harder to enforce a judgment when the money is in the LL's pocket and he can't or won't obey the order to pay out.

                        Although the LL couldn't now use either of the two insurance-based schemes as they won't accept 'late' protection, what happens with them when there is a dispute is that the LL must physically hand over the money to the scheme, and if he doesn't then the scheme pays the T and subsequently chases the LL for the money.

                        Comment

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