Disputed deposit. Tenants new address unknown

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    Disputed deposit. Tenants new address unknown

    I am a landlord whose tenants left the premises in such a condition that it has cost me more than their deposit to restore the property.

    I am told by the Deposit Protection Agency who hold the deposit that it cannot be returned unless both parties agree, and the tenants are not responding.

    I understand I need a court order for the DPA to return the deposit, but I do not have a forwarding address for them, only phone and email addresses. Can I proceed without one? I am thinking that it would be easier to negotiate the partial return of deposit but Don't really want them to get away with it. They didn't pay council tax, electric or gas for the year that they were there either which is a pain for me even though I am not responsible.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

    #2
    Have you told the DPS that you have no address for the ex-tenants - this must be one they encounter a lot?



    Freedom at the point of zero............

    Comment


      #3
      I have not told them but I will do so, good point. Thanks.

      Comment


        #4
        You can fill out a claim using the single claim process on the DPS site, they will send a form on which you will justify your claim, you require only to give the tenants last know address the form needs to be signed at a solicitors (cost £5) this then becomes a Statutory deeclaration notice. After 14 days if the tenants have not responded you will get the deposit.....easy

        Comment


          #5
          The problem with that scenario is that the tenants already made a claim for their deposit return which I disputed, so I believe the single claim process is not relevant.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by quercus View Post
            I understand I need a court order for the DPA to return the deposit, but I do not have a forwarding address for them, only phone and email addresses. Can I proceed without one? I am thinking that it would be easier to negotiate the partial return of deposit but Don't really want them to get away with it. They didn't pay council tax, electric or gas for the year that they were there either which is a pain for me even though I am not responsible.
            You're not liable for the utilities, but the council may pursue you for unpaid council tax.

            I would firstly check with the DPS (assuming that's who you mean) whether you can use the single claim procedure; don't just assume you can't.

            In order to bring a county court claim against T, email them and ask for their address, and tell them what you're claiming for, i.e. a breakdown of repair costs, periods of rent unpaid etc. Say that if they don't respond by a deadline you'll bring a claim against them.

            If they don't respond, you would have to try to establish whether there's somewhere, other than a residential address, where you could serve the claim - a work address for example (N.B. you can't post the claim to a work address without the court's permission, but you could get a process server to serve it in person). Failing that, try a tracing agent such as http://www.findermonkey.co.uk/ If that doesn't work, it's then okay to serve at the last known address, i.e. the rental property. Obviously, the T won't receive it (unless they've arranged mail redirection), so you'd get a default judgment.

            Note that you will need evidence of the damage if the T defends the claim. This means evidence of both the damage and the original good condition, usually in the form of a check-in inventory/condition report; without this, you may struggle to prove that the T is liable.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by westminster View Post
              Failing that, try a tracing agent such as http://www.findermonkey.co.uk/.
              I have used these guys, and they need a little time for the tenant to have laid a trail. 2 months after leaving - no luck, 6 months after, he was found on the other side of the country.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by quercus View Post
                The problem with that scenario is that the tenants already made a claim for their deposit return which I disputed, so I believe the single claim process is not relevant.
                I had same my tenant disputed but would not comunicate with me via mobile phone or email and I had no new address so I used single claim process.......it worked for me

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by westminster View Post
                  You're not liable for the utilities, but the council may pursue you for unpaid council tax.
                  Seriously? The council can pursue you for T's non payment of council tax?
                  Assume I know nothing.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Brixtonia View Post
                    Seriously? The council can pursue you for T's non payment of council tax?
                    Yes, and LL would have to pay because you can go to prison for non-payment of council tax. LL would still be able to bring a claim against T, assuming contract says T liable.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Strikes me as more than a little unfair that L has to act as unpaid debt collector for the council. I can think of no justification. Where is it set out that the council can do this?
                      Assume I know nothing.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Brixtonia View Post
                        Strikes me as more than a little unfair that L has to act as unpaid debt collector for the council. I can think of no justification. Where is it set out that the council can do this?
                        See s.6 and a.8 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, esp. s.8(3):

                        6. Persons liable to pay council tax.

                        (1) The person who is liable to pay council tax in respect of any chargeable dwelling and any day is the person who falls within the first paragraph of subsection (2) below to apply, taking paragraph (a) of that subsection first, paragraph (b) next, and so on.

                        (2) A person falls within this subsection in relation to any chargeable dwelling and any day if, on that day:
                        (a) he is a resident of the dwelling and has a freehold interest in the whole or any part of it;
                        (b) he is such a resident and has a leasehold interest in the whole or any part of the dwelling which is not inferior to another such interest held by another such resident;
                        (c) he is both such a resident and a statutory, secure or introductory tenant of the whole or any part of the dwelling;
                        (d) he is such a resident and has a contractual licence to occupy the whole or any part of the dwelling;
                        (e) he is such a resident; or
                        (f) he is the owner of the dwelling.

                        (3) Where, in relation to any chargeable dwelling and any day, two or more persons fall within the first paragraph of subsection (2) above to apply, they shall each be jointly and severally liable to pay the council tax in respect of the dwelling and that day.

                        (4) Subsection (3) above shall not apply as respects any day on which one or more of the persons there mentioned fall to be disregarded for the purposes of discount by virtue of paragraph 2 (severely mentally impaired) or 4 (students etc.) of Schedule 1 to this Act and one or more of them do not; and liability to pay the council tax in respect of the dwelling and that day shall be determined as follows:
                        (a) if only one of those persons does not fall to be so disregarded, he shall be solely liable;
                        (b) if two or more of those persons do not fall to be so disregarded, they shall each be jointly and severally liable.

                        (5) In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires:
                        “owner”, in relation to any dwelling, means the person as regards whom the following conditions are fulfilled:
                        (a) he has a material interest in the whole or any part of the dwelling; and
                        (b) at least part of the dwelling or, as the case may be, of the part concerned is not subject to a material interest inferior to his interest;
                        “resident”, in relation to any dwelling, means an individual who has attained the age of 18 years and has his sole or main residence in the dwelling.

                        (6) In this section:
                        “introductory tenant" means a tenant under an introductory tenancy within the meaning of Chapter I of Part V of the Housing Act 1996;
                        “material interest” means a freehold interest or a leasehold interest which was granted for a term of six months or more;
                        “secure tenant” means a tenant under a secure tenancy within the meaning of Part IV of the Housing Act 1985;
                        “statutory tenant” means a statutory tenant within the meaning of the Rent Act 1977 or the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976.

                        8. Liability in prescribed cases.

                        (1) Subsections (3) and (4) below shall have effect in substitution for section 6 or (as the case may be) section 7 above in relation to any chargeable dwelling of a class prescribed for the purposes of this subsection.

                        (2) Subsections (3) and (4) below shall have effect in substitution for section 6 or (as the case may be) section 7 above in relation to any chargeable dwelling of a class prescribed for the purposes of this subsection, if the billing authority so determines in relation to all dwellings of that class which are situated in its area.

                        (3) Where on any day this subsection has effect in relation to a dwelling, the owner of the dwelling shall be liable to pay the council tax in respect of the dwelling and that day.

                        (4) Where on any day two or more persons fall within subsection (3) above, they shall each be jointly and severally liable to pay the council tax in respect of the dwelling and that day.

                        (5) Subsection (4) of section 6 above shall apply for the purposes of subsection (4) above as it applies for the purposes of subsection (3) of that section.

                        (6) Regulations prescribing a class of chargeable dwellings for the purposes of subsection (1) or (2) above may provide that, in relation to any dwelling of that class, subsection (3) above shall have effect as if for the reference to the owner of the dwelling there were substituted a reference to the person falling within such description as may be prescribed.

                        (7) Subsections (3) and (4) of section 4 above shall apply for the purposes of subsections (1) and (2) above as they apply for the purposes of subsection (2) of that section.
                        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


                          #13
                          Harsh. I have had more than one T leave council tax owing at end of tenancy but to date council has never pursued me for it.

                          Where T's liability to pay CTax is set out in AST is it possible to require proof that the account has been settled prior to releasing deposit?

                          Also, if L is ultimately jointly and severally liable for the full amount, surely it should be possible for L to request details about the account from the council (which I have previously been refused)?
                          Assume I know nothing.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Brixtonia View Post
                            Where T's liability to pay CTax is set out in AST is it possible to require proof that the account has been settled prior to releasing deposit?

                            Also, if L is ultimately jointly and severally liable for the full amount, surely it should be possible for L to request details about the account from the council (which I have previously been refused)?
                            L and T can certainly stipulate (contractually) as to which one is to pay the CT, but that will never bind the Local Authority. If the 'wrong' one is billed for CT, the other one can then be forced to pay-up.
                            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
                              Yes, I get that. But can L make it a requirement that proof is provided by T that the council tax account has been settled up to the end of the term before L agrees to release the deposit?
                              Assume I know nothing.

                              Comment

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