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Lost deposit, doesnt seem fair

(116 Posts)
lostmydeposit Thu 02-Nov-17 14:06:36

I accept I may BU here but as I'm going to learn a 4 figure lesson I think I can ask...

I rented a property. It was first property I'd ever rented so I didn't know how it worked exactly. I paid my deposit to the letting agent. I was told it had been protected. There was no check in nor check out. My landlord was resident abroad (somewhere in the Caribbean, Caymans I think) for tax purposes so I never met them.

I was going through a lot of personal issues when I left, police etc were involved. It was a difficult time. I was also working 300 miles away.

With everything going on, it was only once stuff calmed down a few months later that it occurred to me I'd not had my deposit back. Id had no contact with agents so contacted the co who were protecting the deposit. They said as it was more than 3 months from the end of tenancy I was too late, and they didn't hold the deposit it was with the agents. My only recourse was to them.

I contacted the agents. They said they had never held the deposit and id need to contact the landlord. Except as landlord is abroad that's basically impossible, and I cant even take it to small claims because I don't have an address in UK for the landlord!

I know now I should have done something in 3 months. I had so much other crap going on, plus I didn't know there was such a strict time limit. It just seems so unfair I'm now a grand down and have no recourse.

MyKingdomForBrie Thu 02-Nov-17 14:08:56

The agency need to provide a workable contact address for the landlord. The money belongs to you and you cannot let this go.

Duckstar Thu 02-Nov-17 14:10:58

Give Shelter a call/email. They are incredibly knowledge on issues like this. I wouldn’t just accept there is nothing you can do about this.

RNBrie Thu 02-Nov-17 14:12:31

Contact Shelter, they should be able to advise you. The fine for not protecting a deposit is between 1-3 times the value of the deposit. I agree, dont let this go!!

Ttbb Thu 02-Nov-17 14:12:42

Estate agents are always the ones who give your deposit back. Your LL would never have had it.

lostmydeposit Thu 02-Nov-17 14:13:22

I believe they correspond with landlord via a c/o address. I remember that being on my paperwork which of course I now can't find...

I'm annoyed at my own stupidity. I thought the money sat with the deposit scheme/ the agents. I never knew the landlord had it.

Furiosa Thu 02-Nov-17 14:13:45

This doesn't sound right at all.

Have you looked online about deposits in protected accounts? I'm pretty sure the letting agent oranges and takes care of this and cannot with hold your deposit.

Or go to Citizens Advice.

lostmydeposit Thu 02-Nov-17 14:15:14

I've had a reply from the senior lady at the agents saying they didn't have the deposit and I would need to approach the landlord.

She didn't say 'haha good luck with that' but she might as well have!

I will contact Shelter, thank you!

Furiosa Thu 02-Nov-17 14:16:19

Try this op, it's from shelter about how to get your money back.

SloeSloeQuickQuickGin Thu 02-Nov-17 14:16:21

Ask for a copy of your contract and the protected deposit scheme.

Furiosa Thu 02-Nov-17 14:16:45

What's the name of the letting agent?

BexleyRae Thu 02-Nov-17 14:17:33

It should say in your tenancy agreement who holds your deposit, plus contact details for the deposit holder. Sometimes a landlord can hold the deposit, depending on the type of management service has asked for from the agent. If your tenancy does not hold these details speak to the property ombudsan or association for registered letting agents (arla) who will be able to help you raise a complaint with the agent

GreenFingersWouldBeHandy Thu 02-Nov-17 14:18:19

No, the deposit should not have been given to the landlord. The agent is feeding you bullshit. The deposit should sit in a separate scheme. Had an awful time getting my deposit back from last rental place in London. Flatmate claimed agents had it. Agents claimed landlord had it. Landlords said they'd never seen it... round and round we went, nearly drove me mad. But got it back about 6 months later. I have never heard of the 3-month time limit. I think the agent is telling you rubbish.

lostmydeposit Thu 02-Nov-17 14:21:31

It was the deposit scheme who said the deposit was held by the agents.

The agents say they don't have it.

lostmydeposit Thu 02-Nov-17 14:22:48

Deposit people said you can only raise a dispute in 3 months; as its outside that they can't become involved.

TsunamiOfShit Thu 02-Nov-17 14:27:30

Check to see if you were sent an email with details of the deposit protection, it will say in that who the deposit is with.

BexleyRae Thu 02-Nov-17 14:28:08

Ring the agents again and ask:
Was the deposit held with them but registered with the relevant scheme? If this was the case, then yes, after 3 months of no communication from you they could have just sent the deposit to the landlord. But they would still have had to tell the deposit scheme reasons why the deposit was not refunded to the tenant. (In used to work for a letting agent)

pisacake Thu 02-Nov-17 14:28:08

Do you have any paperwork whatsoever? I would find the payment record for when you paid the deposit.

catslife Thu 02-Nov-17 14:30:10

There is a time limit for some deposit schemes if there is a dispute. But there are strict conditions for LL to retain the deposit.
See link for details

FizzyWaterAndElderflower Thu 02-Nov-17 14:31:49

That's not how it works - the agents are trying to pull a fast one. I'm a landlord and a tenant, so I know this from both sides.

The way it works is that at the end of the tenancy, the deposit is by default returned to you. The landlord/agent can ask for funds to be withheld for repairs, which you can either agree to, or dispute. But that money is yours, it's not the landlords, it does not go to them by default.

Get back to the agent, ask for the paperwork you signed saying that you agreed to the entire deposit being withheld - which they won't have, because you wouldn't have signed it.

They should have returned the deposit to you, in full, within a couple of weeks. Or they should have the paperwork for anything being withheld and agreed by you, and returned the remainder within weeks.

Go to Shelter - this is wrong, this money is not gone, someone has it, and it is your money.

NoSquirrels Thu 02-Nov-17 14:35:17

This sounds all wrong under the terms of the scheme - the deposit should have been returned to you unless the landlord raised a dispute. Either way, you should have known about it.

Do contact Shelter, and get all your paperwork together.

Mummyoflittledragon Thu 02-Nov-17 14:35:25

I don’t know how difficult it will be to get the deposit back. But if you can get the law on your side, it would be worth checking if it is possible to force the agent to withhold rent from the current tenant to reimburse you. This all sounds very dodgy. The agent legally would have had to communicate with you about the deposit at the time.

StepAwayFromGoogle Thu 02-Nov-17 14:35:53

This is nonsense. You and the other party (either landlord or agent) BOTH have to sign something to get the deposit released. In that agreement is what money goes back to who. I can't see how either the agent or the landlord can have that money released back to them and keep it without your specific agreement. Definitely chase this up with legal advice, OP. I'm pretty sure if you have had no previous dealings with the landlord and everything was arranged through the agent, they are legally obligated to resolve it.

disappearingninepatch Thu 02-Nov-17 14:37:11

this is wrong, this money is not gone, someone has it, and it is your money.

^This. The same thing happened to some friends. They didn't pursue it but I think you should. It's YOUR money.

BarbarianMum Thu 02-Nov-17 14:37:59

Fizzy's correct. Im a landlord and I never see the deposit money. Agent collects it and i sign off on its return at the end of the tenancy if the property is clean and undamaged.

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