Do we sue the estate agent or the landlord for non-return of deposit?

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  • Do we sue the estate agent or the landlord for non-return of deposit?

    Hello,

    Me and a mate rented a house for 6 months last year, through an estate agent acting on behalf of the landlord. On moving out the landlord decided to spent most of our deposit - £1500 - on redecorating the house to cover scuff marks which were already mentioned on the original inventory, as well as in the check-out notes, therefore we are not responsible for those.
    We have sent letters to both indicating that we have a right to the return of our deposit but have had no acceptable response. We now have no other option but to pursue the claim in the small claims court.

    The question is, do we sue the landlord directly, or do we sue the estate agent as they were the agents for the landlord during the tenancy? My lawyer housemate says that under the law of agency, we can sue the estate agents, which would be our preferred cause of action, but I would like other opinions to confirm this.

    Matt Wise

  • #2
    Originally posted by matt.s.wise View Post
    Hello,

    Me and a mate rented a house for 6 months last year, through an estate agent acting on behalf of the landlord. On moving out the landlord decided to spent most of our deposit - £1500 - on redecorating the house to cover scuff marks which were already mentioned on the original inventory, as well as in the check-out notes, therefore we are not responsible for those.
    We have sent letters to both indicating that we have a right to the return of our deposit but have had no acceptable response. We now have no other option but to pursue the claim in the small claims court.

    The question is, do we sue the landlord directly, or do we sue the estate agent as they were the agents for the landlord during the tenancy? My lawyer housemate says that under the law of agency, we can sue the estate agents, which would be our preferred cause of action, but I would like other opinions to confirm this.

    Matt Wise
    Agent is Landlord's, not yours. Sue L (or sue both, to be on safe side).
    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).

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    • #3
      I've understood from previous posts on this matter that a tenant should always instigate the legal action against the landlord - the letting agency is a total irrelevance (whether or not they hold the deposit on their behalf and even if the letting agency business dissolves or they abscond with the deposit).

      I can't see the point in the tenant pursuing two civil claims when it is the landlords responsibility to ensure the deposit is returned.

      Here's some info here. You can kick it off online on the moneyclaim site.

      http://england.shelter.org.uk/advice/advice-3007.cfm

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      • #4
        Well, I take it back - another post indicates how you can name the letting agent as co-defendent in the case you bring against the landlord

        http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ead.php?t=5339

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        • #5
          Thanks for the quick replies, we shall go ahead and sue both the estate agent and the landlord.

          Matt

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          • #6
            Would you then name them both on your N1?
            Please note i may be in pumpkin mode, the light might be on but i may not be here

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            • #7
              Here is a long story on a very recent actual case. It will take you two days to read the whole thing, so here is the conclusion:

              The OP claimed against both the LA and the LL in separate cases. The first case against the LA was basically dismissed by the judge but did say they were on thin ice because they hadn't provided a correct contact address for the LL . The OP is scheduled for a court case against the LL, which is now properly located. Sounds like no point in pursuing the LA. The LL is now couterclaiming for the LA legal expense against the OP, which the LA passed onto the LL.
              http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/...227606&page=71
              ASSUME NOTHING - QUESTION EVERYTHING!

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              • #8
                sue the landlord. he/she is breaking the law. tell them and the agents u r going to sue first.

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                • #9
                  You will find that a judge will dismiss any action against the agent as there is no privity of contract between agent and tenant. I know of at least two agents who asked the action against them by a tenant to be struck out by the judge before it went to court and the judge agreed on both occasions. TDS should of course eliminate many of these shenanigans
                  The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

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                  • #10
                    Estate agents witholding my due rent they have collected

                    Hi all,

                    I hope someone can help me with this issue i am having. I am the landlady. I have let out my property through a estate agent with whom i have also signed up a contact to manage my property i.e to collect the rent from tanents & put it in my a/c. However, for the first month i got the rent on time but the 2nd month the agent collected the rent from my tanents & sent me cheque but the cheque bounced. Repeatedly they sent me two cheques for month 2 & 3 for due rent but both cheques bounced again as they had insufficient funds in there acoount. Since November 2006 i have been chasing them to pay my outsating rent they collected. However, they are still collecting rent on regular basis & deducting the managenent fee. Initially they told me i can choose to cancell the management service after six month but now they are saying that they will charge me since i have a contract for 1 yrs if i wish to cancel. They have promised many times they will pay the two months outstanding rent but it is approcing 6 months they still haven't paid. I am desparate to recover that money from the estate agent. What can i do? Can i take any legal actions agaginst the agents who are in breach of contract. Any advice will be much appreciated.

                    Waiting for earliest possible reply

                    Many thanks.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Matt, at the end of the day it is the landlord who says whether the deposit is paid back to the tenant.

                      The agent may advise the landlord on what to pay or not to pay but it's the LL who has the final say.

                      The agent is only acting on behalf of the LL.

                      I don't see why the agent can just withold a deposit without the LL consent unless someone can tell me different.

                      (the none technical) rewop
                      If you are not offended by what I say then please tell me so that I can try harder next time.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rewop46 View Post
                        Matt, at the end of the day it is the landlord who says whether the deposit is paid back to the tenant.

                        The agent may advise the landlord on what to pay or not to pay but it's the LL who has the final say.

                        The agent is only acting on behalf of the LL.

                        I don't see why the agent can just withold a deposit without the LL consent unless someone can tell me different.

                        (the none technical) rewop
                        If deposit held by agent as 'stakeholder', agent can only release undisputed money to LL or tenant. It must go to mediation otherwise.
                        All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

                        * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * *

                        You can search the forums here:

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mollika View Post
                          Hi all,

                          I hope someone can help me with this issue i am having. I am the landlady. I have let out my property through a estate agent with whom i have also signed up a contact to manage my property i.e to collect the rent from tanents & put it in my a/c. However, for the first month i got the rent on time but the 2nd month the agent collected the rent from my tanents & sent me cheque but the cheque bounced. Repeatedly they sent me two cheques for month 2 & 3 for due rent but both cheques bounced again as they had insufficient funds in there acoount. Since November 2006 i have been chasing them to pay my outsating rent they collected. However, they are still collecting rent on regular basis & deducting the managenent fee. Initially they told me i can choose to cancell the management service after six month but now they are saying that they will charge me since i have a contract for 1 yrs if i wish to cancel. They have promised many times they will pay the two months outstanding rent but it is approcing 6 months they still haven't paid. I am desparate to recover that money from the estate agent. What can i do? Can i take any legal actions agaginst the agents who are in breach of contract. Any advice will be much appreciated.

                          Waiting for earliest possible reply

                          Many thanks.

                          You might be better starting a new thread with this query mollika.

                          Kind Regards

                          J

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for the further replies.

                            So if the check-out notes say there are a few marks on the walls, and the estate agent is told by the landlord to "organise all the works listed on the checking-out report" (which is in an email between LL and EA that I have a copy of), and the estate agent thinks this means to redecorate the rooms, it is the LL's fault for not specifying what "works" the EA should get done and giving the EA free reign. Makes sense I suppose.

                            LL to be sued then.

                            Thanks,
                            Matt

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