How long can TDS keep a deposit for during a stalemate?

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    How long can TDS keep a deposit for during a stalemate?

    I had a dispute last year with my two tenants over the return of their deposit where they wanted a higher rent abatement than I offered them for some major bathroom works that was done while they were there. They therefore failed to pay some rent in their last month.

    When they moved out, I retained some of their deposit to cover this rent and they raised disputes with DPS where the deposit was registered. I had to send cheques to DPS for the respective amounts. I dealt with one using the ADR service (which I was successful on), and the other I opted out of the ADR service (so it would have to be dealt with in court).

    However, the tenant for the outstanding deposit is a barrister and I imagine I would have a long and tedious battle through the courts over this deposit, which I don't have the time or inclination for now. Likewise, she doesn't appear to be taking any action either, perhaps because she knows the other tenant lost. So, it's now a stalemate. Neither of us have the benefit of the money because it is now with DPS, and DPS won't release it without a court order.

    How long realistically can DPS keep the money? Surely it can't be forever, because the money is effectively in limbo and would have to go somewhere eventually once both I and the tenant are dead and/or DPS is wound up. Where would the money go then? Also, many records are destroyed after 6 years with most companies.

    There must be a time limit on holding this money if neither party makes a claim. Then surely, after this time limit, it must be released to whomever asks for it first, me or the tenant. Or perhaps by way of a simple court order at that point. What I'd like to know is, is there a legal precedent where I can consider that the tenant has abandoned the money after a certain period of time and I can then ask for DPS to return the money to me?

    Hypothetically speaking, if I and the tenant did die, when and where would the money go then? Would it go to my estate, the tenant's estate, or become the property of DPS eventually?
    My name is Neo

    #2
    Deposit is Ts money so it would go to her Estate, unless you are using TDS Insured scheme, your Estate would still be liable for deposit. IMO
    Your only option, other than returning deposit, is SCC for a speedy resolution.
    Why did you decline ADR?

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      #3
      I posted the same question on Property118.com which had some more interesting responses.

      As for why I declined ADR, it was because the tenancy agreement for the tenant had been destroyed (outside of my control), and one of the requirements for ADR is that the tenancy agreement must be supplied as evidence. The DPS guide on this states: "If this document is not provided it is likely that the landlord’s claim will fail because the adjudicator will be unable to establish the obligations agreed between."

      By taking this to court, a judge is not restricted by the above posit and will accept the tenancy agreement as evidence from either party, and the tenant would of course produce it in their bundle of evidence. The above DPS statement is more specific and constraining.
      My name is Neo

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