Letter from Tenant Deposit Consultants

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    Letter from Tenant Deposit Consultants

    Searched the forum to see if this had been mentioned previously and didn't see anything - apologies if this is covered elsewhere. I'll try and be as brief as possible!

    I had some tenants move out of a property and attempt not to pay the remaining months rent they owed. Once they moved out there was some damage to the property and we went through TDS with them. They wrote to the TDS and said they were agreeable to the rental money owed being taken from the deposit. we were also awarded a small amount for damage caused.

    Since then I have had a letter from the Tenant Deposit Consultants based in Manchester, threatening legal action if I don't pay them some form of compensation. They say they can take me to court and I could be liable for between 1-3 x the deposit + costs. This is based on saying that there has been a breach of the Housing Act 2004 in that the deposit was 'protected outside of the required timescales'.

    I've had a search on the internet with not much success to find out more info. Has anybody had experience of this kind of letter/threat? Any advice on next steps?

    I don't know if it makes any difference but the property was managed by an agency who originally lodged the deposit with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

    Any advice very gratefully received.

    #2
    Was the deposit protected later than 30 days after being paid?? If so yes, you are liable for up to 3xdeposit: No, even if agent should have sorted it...

    These guys??
    http://www.getdepositback.co.uk/

    If it was late I'd try & negotiate...
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


      #3
      I'd contact T to confirm it's legit.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for the thoughts so far.

        Heythere - 'contact T'? Who is T?

        Comment


          #5
          Should've been "ex-T".

          Forum shorthand;

          T = Tenant
          L/LL = Landlord
          LA = Lettings Agent

          Quite a few more!

          Comment


            #6
            I see! Thanks - new to all this so pardon my ignorance.

            Has their names on it although it does have the address of the property wrong!

            Am I being naive in assuming that because it has their name on it, it is legit?

            Comment


              #7
              sad_ken,
              If you did not give the tenant the PI within 30 days, you will be penalized.
              If you did not protect the deposit within 30 days, you will be penalized.

              There are several people in our office who have recently either been awarded compensation from landlords via settlement or have been awarded it from the courts after going to trial - the facts are that landlords must protect a deposit within 30 days of receiving it and they must give the tenant the PI.

              My co-worker just moved out of a flat in Aldgate. Her landlord did protect the deposit but did not give her the PI and she's just banked a cheque for the full 3x times penalty. The court awarded the full penalty because it ruled that her landlord had several properties in their portfolio and therefore should have been clued up on the law and not giving the PI was inexcusable.

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks HerilSamika

                **Can you let me know what PI is? Thanks** - Ignore - just looked it up

                Also, does the fact that the TDS has adjudicated make no difference? I'm guessing not...

                Comment


                  #9
                  If the worst comes to the worst and OP is taken to court, X3 penalty is not automatic. It is actually in the scale 1 to 3 as judge has discretionary powers to consider mitigating causes i.e. LL in the hands of irresponsable LA, deposit was protected but only a little late.

                  Not only a late deposit protection and not giving PI can trigger the X3 penanlty but also not giving T the tenant leaflet and the deposit receipt from the protection scheme i.e. DPC. (People usually forget to mention the last two but they count too!)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks for this - really helpful. So even if they have had a portion of the deposit back after aTDS adjudication they can still apply for the 1-3x deposit payment?

                    Appreciate you can't give legal advice but would the tenant not paying final rent then writing a letter agreeing that it could be taken out of the final deposit have any influence over matters? Or would it be a straight did you/didn't you do what was required regarding the deposit and PI?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by sad_ken View Post
                      Also, does the fact that the TDS has adjudicated make no difference? I'm guessing not...
                      The adjudication has no bearing on the penalty issue, as they are separate. The penalties arise because you have failed to comply with the law.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        sad_ken,

                        I am no lawyer so please do not follow my advice but I think it is common sense that:

                        1. Let T have his full deposit back. Write a letter confirming that this is a gesture of goodwill despite the fact that you feel that T has a claim to answer. But do not mention under any circumstances the pending penalty claim T has against you as this could be misinterpreted as if you are trying to take his statutory rights away from him in exchange for returning the full deposit..

                        2. T's legal advice would most likely result in the advice to accept settlement of not less than 1 times deposit. Therefore why not just make that offer in writing in the first place. If T then tried to take you the LL to court the LL would appear to be acting with integrity (it was LA's deficient performance that caused you the problem) and T would have to run the risk of not getting any more in settlement and incurring the costs of the claim. Yes, you will probably only pay X1 penalty and court costs could go against T if you can show you did everything possible to settle out of court and acted with integrity throughout.

                        Good luck!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by londiner View Post
                          2. T's legal advice would most likely result in the advice to accept settlement of not less than 1 times deposit. Therefore why not just make that offer in writing in the first place. If T then tried to take you the LL to court the LL would appear to be acting with integrity (it was LA's deficient performance that caused you the problem) and T would have to run the risk of not getting any more in settlement and incurring the costs of the claim. Yes, you will probably only pay X1 penalty and court costs could go against T if you can show you did everything possible to settle out of court and acted with integrity throughout.

                          Good luck!
                          Its interesting that you mention in point 1 that you could be construed as influencing Ts legal rights but dont see how this could be just the same.

                          Its effectively 'freerolling' in that youre hoping to rely on the offer of 1x (the minimum amount) to deter T from continuing his claim in court by attempting to place the burden of costs on him (or to just defeat a claim for costs later on). You are correct that the courts like to see people acting to avoid court and with integrity but this is not an offer that shows 'integrity,' it is in fact quite the opposite.

                          Now, if youre offering 1x because you think the breach was relatively minor then fair enough, but to do so as a matter of strategy would not look good if you got a judge able to see this.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Ryan 28, I was not suggesting that LL tells or write to T saying the court costs could go against T as that would defeat the whole point of the exercise if the judge hears about it. T's legal team would be quite capable of working it out for themselves.

                            LL's offer to refund deposit and offer compensation x1 deposit should be unconditional and in writing. LL should also provide letter explaining delay in registering deposit was due to an ineficiente LA. A judge will award X1 mínimum penalty to T but not costs because of T's behaviour refusing reasonable compensation and not settling out of court because of greed perhaps?.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Ah, you know what guys:

                              OP's tenant probably handed control of this case over to the case manangement firm, so any offer to settle should go to them to make sure they get it.

                              Saying that, Sad-Ken still hasn't actually confirmed that his agent was delinquent with the deposit obligations.

                              Can you find out, Ken?
                              To save them chiming in, JPKeates, Theartfullodger, Boletus, Mindthegap, Macromia, Holy Cow & Ted.E.Bear think the opposite of me on almost every subject.

                              Comment

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