Landlord withholding deposit

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  • Landlord withholding deposit

    I have just moved out of rental accommodation after 4 years. After 4 weeks I asked for the return of my deposit but the landlord has said that she had to put in a new shower and a new pump for the boiler therefore I owe her money. Both the shower and boiler were working the day I left the property. From what I can gather from receipts she sent me for the shower, all it needed was a new part but this wasn't available so a complete new shower had to be installed. A gas engineer came in to do a gas inspection on the boiler (the first since I have been in the property) the morning I left. I phoned Shelter for some advice and they have told me that she is in the wrong, maintenance for showers and boilers lie with the landlord and the only way I will get my money back is to go to the small claims court but if I lost, I would have to pay her costs. The amount in question is £500. I phoned the local council and it appears she isn't registered as a landlord. I sent her an e-mail stating that she was liable for the shower/boiler costs and if she didn't give me my money back then I would have no alternative but to raise a small claim. Her response was to copy her lawyer in and say to me that she would see me in court. Am I in the right and should I pursue?

  • #2
    Is the property in England/Wales?
    Was the deposit protected in a government-approved scheme?

    Shelter are right - section 11 of the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act
    You should have an address for the service of documents (see the tenancy agreement) and you must write to her saying:

    What you want (your deposit back)
    Why (because you are not responsible for the repairs she is claiming)
    What will happen if she doesn't co-operate within X (7?) days (you will take legal action).

    You can commence a claim online at

    To start the claim will cost you £35 online. If the landlord doesn't reply to the claim you can request a judgement by default. If LL does attempt to defend the claim, there will be a hearing, and that will cost you a further £55.

    If you win, and you should, the judge will add the £90 court fees to the £500 the landlord is ordered to pay you.

    Your local library (or Amazon) will have books on the 'small claim process' - a worthwhile read.
    This may be useful too:


    • #3
      The property is in Scotland and no, the deposit isn't protected by a government-approved scheme, she holds it herself. I will take your advice and send her a letter today.


      • #4
        If the property is in Scotland then my advice may not have been accurate. It would be better if you posted on the 'Scottish' forum as the law is different.

        I shall ask the moderator to move your post.


        • #5
          This is the first time posting so didn't realise there was a Scottish forum. Thanks.


          • #6
            My advice would be to go for it. Paperwork is easy peasy to fill in - forms downloadable from Scottish Court website, if unsure of what to do phone the Sheriff Clerk's office, they are great round about me so should explain to you which forms to fill in and how the process works, they'll send you out (or point you to, if it's online) a booklet that helps you through the process. It cost me £66 last time I lodged a claim but IMHO she hasn't a leg to stand on. Shower/boiler repairs are down to her unless her tradesman has told her something did or didn't do negligently caused the damage and even then I'd ask for his account written down on his letter headed paper and I'd check it if she can provide it. I cannot think of anything I've ever had to replace a boiler or shower for that was actually down to tenant negligence. In the event you win (and again IMHO you probably will) then she has to pay your expenses with interest. Please let us know what happens.


            • #7
              Agree with MrsM. Sue the little cr;;k!
              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...


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