Breech of contract and deposits

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  • Breech of contract and deposits

    Hi there

    I have a question about the return of a deposit that is being held by an administrative company that my landlord uses.

    Basically, the landlord is hugely in breech of the tenancy agreement (category 1 and 2 breeches of the Housing Act, multiple maintenance issues...the list goes on). We unfortunately were unaware until recently of the actions we could have taken to repair the property and our tenancy is now approaching its final month.

    Our legal advisor has told us to withhold our final month’s payment and has contacted the landlord to see if he will accept this action as compensation. However given his general arrogance and approach to property management I think this is unlikely.

    If we continue to hold our rent back, does the landlord still have a legal right to recover it from the deposit in light of his invalidating our contract? Or do we have any power to prevent the company that are holding the deposit from allowing him to do so because he has broken the contract? Ideally we would like to recover our deposit and if he feels this unfair, he can take us to court for the outstanding rent (and there is virtually no way he would win).

    I hope this is sufficient detail and it all makes sense.

    Thanks for your time

    Devon Dan
    Last edited by devon_dan; 02-05-2007, 13:47 PM. Reason: It was too long!!

  • #2
    I would certainly withold the last month's rent if I were you. It sounds as though he may well withold your deposit which he may have done anyway even if there were no issues. To get it back, you are looking at some form of court action and I suggest yuo get your own legal advice here as it could be tricky. The cost of such action may well make it not worthwhile unfortunately.

    Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.


    • #3
      Hi P.Pilcher. Thanks for your time.

      Yes I think you are right that this will end up in court. Thankfully though, we have free legal representation based on certain connections so it wont cost us a penny to take it all the way. We have so much evidence against the landlord there really is almost no way we wouldn't recover the money eventually.

      Still, it would be really helpful if anyone could throw just a bit more insight on our rights to challenge the administrative company and prevent them returnin the deposit in the first place, leaving the landlord to try and sue us instead.

      They have full copies of all our extensive documentation (that includes a council health inspectors report listing catagory 1 and 2 breeches of the Housing Act 2004) and are aware that the landlord is in breech of his contract and that the property is in a state of disrepair. In light of this, if they they continue to assist him in getting his money, would it would consitute some form of negligence or a failure to uphold a duty of care (or something of that nature)? Based on our documents they have refused to do businiess with the landlord in the future. Surely a company aware that a customer is in breech of the contract they hold with him don't have any legal obligations to follow standard protocol what so ever...?

      Again I would be grateful for your time and opinions.



      • #4
        The agent is merely the agent of the landlord. You don't sue the agent for breach as you don't have a contract with the agent.

        Your contract is with the Landlord and it is against that party you must proceed.

        The agent seems to have done what any good one would do, that is refusing to act for the landlord going forward.

        By the way, if the property was that bad, why did you take it?


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