Deposit Protection: Court case won against Landlord

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    SCC = small claims court.


      It's landlords and agents who continue to operate like this which give us responsible landlords a bad reputation, I am all for them being held to account. If I ever had the need to rent, I would most definitely not spoon feed the landlord/agent and if my deposit wasn't protected I would most definitely do the same.


        Very interesting read and thank you to the OP for writing it.

        I'm about to do similar!

        Long story, but we offered to purchase a house in April last year, the vendors couldn't exchange (waiting for probate) and we've had a nightmare with their solicitor for 11 months. We managed to persuade them to allow us to move in as tenants in October. Landlord is the executor of the will (and an accountant not a relative of the sadly deceased), and all rent and deposit has been paid to the solicitor who is acting on behalf of the landlord.

        Today we completed on the purchase so will be writing for our deposit to be returned however it still seems shocking that a solicitor and/or the accountant as landlord had not protected our deposit. There was no inventory made, and as we've just bought the house, no possible argument over whether to return the deposit.

        On the basis of the OP, it seems the best action now is to write to ask for the deposit, wait for it to be returned, and then start action.

        One question... in writing to the landlord and solicitor, does this need to be hard copy by post, or will email suffice? We have an email for the solicitor (who took the deposit and rent) but no email for the actual landlord named on the tenancy.


          I would always WRITE a letter and send by First Class Post, obtaining free Cert of Posting from counter staff and keep it with copy of dated letter. If you send an email, always send copy by Royal Mail, as above.

          What sort of temp Tenancy was granted? Stat Deposit protection only applies to ASTs. You may have had a Contractual Tenancy tying you to completing on purchase.


            I'm all in favour of ensuring landlord's follow the correct rules, but this sounds like a different situation entirely.

            There's no possible way that the "landlord" in this case intended to be a landlord, and, from the sounds of things, renting the property simply as a route to facilitating the sale.
            Probate is slow and complicated and (from the sound of things) the error was in trying to sell the property too soon.

            If the deposit is returned, the OP has suffered no loss at all, and while, from the sound of things, the law is in their favour, nothing in what's been posted so far gives them any justification for not just letting it go.
            The landlord/solicitor is hardly likely to benefit from being taught a lesson in an area they're unlikely to operate again, and taking a penalty from the deceased's estate seems a bit low.
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


              Put beggars on horseback, eh!



                Having been through 2 lots of probate myself in 2 years i would normally come to the same conclusion, and certainly don't want to "profit" from the deceased's estate. Probate is such a complicated task and i find myself with lots of empathy for the people involved at their end.

                In this instance though, the people drafting the AST, taking the deposit and receiving the rent were solicitors, not some family member who's been thrown in at the deep end. Solicitors of all people should be diligent surely. The landlord herself is the executor of the will however she has literally handed her responsibilities to the solicitor who over the past 11 months has proved to be both evasive (to the executor) and on multiple occasions has provided misleading and completely false information which in turn has resulted in us losing several thousands of pounds.

                Should I go down the route of making the claim, i'm not sure whether the executor and/or the solicitor acting on their behalf could rightly deduct any costs from the deceased's estate? Anyone more knowledgable able to share their thoughts on this bit?

                To answer Mariner's point, it was a normal AST, drafted by the solicitor. The executor is named as the landlord but the correspondance address is c/o the solicitor.

                From what I understand, the legislation is clear that the reference to "landlord" also includes people acting on their behalf so in this instance it sounds like the solicitor might be considered to be acting on behalf of the landlord and given the nature of who they are (i.e. trained legal professionals) then I would hope that it is the solicitor that would be facing the claim (although I guess that might make it a whole lot worse for me!)


                  The only person that can act for deceased is the Executor(s) and thay have a duty to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries.
                  Unless the Estate is unduly complex Probate should take no longer than 6months and will be granted on receipt of due tax.


                    The person liable for protecting the deposit is the landlord or their agent.
                    To make the solicitor liable, you'd have to show that the solicitor was acting as a letting agent, which is going to be difficult, because the relationship isn't normally one of agent and principle - and the solicitor is likely to be able to make better arguments about the legal relationship than the OP.

                    Any amount claimed is, realistically, going to come from the estate one way or the other.
                    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


                      Originally posted by mariner View Post
                      Unless the Estate is unduly complex Probate should take no longer than 6months and will be granted on receipt of due tax.
                      It took longer than that for both my parents. My father spent a lot of time in hospital after my mother died and could not help much, then he died before hers had been sorted, and there was a delay of almost 6 months waiting for the inquest. Overall it took about 2.5 years from my mothers death.


                        When I was acting as my father's executor, probate took nearly two years.
                        It wasn't just that some things were very slow to get responses, there's a human dimension to the process.
                        I couldn't bring myself to do a lot of things I was meant to do and simply put them off so as not to deal with the reality of a dead parent.

                        I spoke to a probate professional who said he'd been exactly the same when dealing with his own family, while acting as a professional 3rd party, he'd expect to resolve matters in under 6 months.
                        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


                          The only bit that's confusing from what the OP has written about their experience is that they seem to have claimed for 3x the deposit, so that's what's driven the value of the claim (and in turn the court fee), whereas all other documentation I can find seem to suggest that you should be claiming for the deposit, and it is down to the court/judge to award a penalty based on their view of how much the defendant should be penalised.

                          I guess the OP's case is different as they'd already received the deposit back so therefore their claim had to actually use the maximum penalty as the claim figure?


                            Hi esotehric, I am going through a similar case and I was wondering if you can help me out a bit.
                            You mentioned that you can send out the forms etc. I do realise that it's been a couple of years now but it would be really really helpful if you did...


                              berz - the N208 form is here: https://formfinder.hmctsformfinder.j...k/n208-eng.pdf

                              I recommend that you type into the form if possible, this will save the court having to interpret handwriting.

                              Also recommend you read N208A - Notes for Claimants (https://formfinder.hmctsformfinder.j.../n208a-eng.pdf), and for the full picture, N208C - Notes for Defendants (https://formfinder.hmctsformfinder.j.../n208c-eng.pdf).

                              When you write out your claim you must cite the legal basis for the claim, by naming the relevant act (Housing Act 2004, probably) and the specific section of this that the breach relates to. If there is no legal basis for a claim set out on a form, it may be struck out ('rejected' in basic terms, essentially).

                              N208A should help you to fill in the form properly, but if you're not confident you might want to consult with a solicitor who specialises in housing law. The legal process is not always straightforward.


                                It is possible to complain tot he legal ombudsman about a solicitor. I dont know if they would instruct the solicitor in this case to repay any deposit claim to the deceased estate but they should do if a claim succeeds.


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