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Deposit Protection Service - tenant disputes deposit

(22 Posts)
LaPampa Tue 03-Oct-17 23:09:25

Has anyone any experience using the DPS. If tenant disputes part of the deposit but landlord refuses to enter the arbitration element, can tenant get money out without having to go down court route.

Our landlord is trying to claim £300ish of a £2000 deposit which we dispute but they have gone silent. I am concerned their tactic is just to wait it out knowing I won’t want to take it to county court.

Anyone used the DPS before?

prh47bridge Wed 04-Oct-17 08:28:28

If the landlord is refusing to use the alternative dispute resolution service the only way you can get your money back is to take it to court. If you really don't want to go to court you will have to accept the £300 deduction.

SnowBallsAreHere Wed 04-Oct-17 08:31:03

Why won't you take them to court?
It's very easy and cheap to do this online.

LaPampa Wed 04-Oct-17 09:56:28

Thanks. I know it’s not super difficult to take them to court but I’d have to pay out £105 to issue the claim and given that it is only really £150 that is in dispute that doesn’t seem very proportionate.

I’m just angry that the landlord is trying to make deductions without any back up information as to how they calculated the amount for an item we dispute is missing.

prh47bridge Wed 04-Oct-17 10:50:06

The fee is based on the amount you are claiming. You aren't, as far as I can see, claiming the full £2,000 as at least £1,700 is not in dispute and therefore should be paid to you immediately. You are claiming £150 - the amount of the deduction that is in dispute according to your last post. So the fee would be £25.

LaPampa Wed 04-Oct-17 11:22:55

That’s the thing though. If one party doesn’t agree to the ADR process I have to go to court for the full amount despite only £150 being in contention. (As I understand it - the DPS is quite confusing to actually use in practice).

Having spoken to the DPS now, I’ve rejected the landlords claim and submitted a claim of my own being the amount not in dispute by us. We will see what happens if the landlord rejects it.

LaPampa Wed 04-Oct-17 11:24:03

It seems that if the parties can’t agree on an amount and if one party doesn’t agree to use the arbitration service then the full amount is withheld until a court order is received.

prh47bridge Wed 04-Oct-17 11:41:24

Now that you have responded the landlord should release the undisputed part of the deposit to you without any need for a court order. If the landlord refuses to release any of the money you are taking action to recover the full amount. If the landlord releases the undisputed part of the deposit you are only taking action over the disputed amount.

In either case you would need to send a "letter before action" to the landlord before starting legal proceedings. This is a letter giving a deadline to repay you and stating that you will take legal action if the money is not repaid by the deadline. I believe Shelter have sample letters you can use on their website.

LaPampa Wed 04-Oct-17 12:25:13

Thanks for your replies. I am not sure that any part can be released by DPS if we don’t agree - which was why I am posting.

We will have to decide whether we think it’s worth the time and effort and more money outlaid upfront for £150 if the landlord disputes our offered amount. I don’t think it is possible for the undisputed amount to be released which is why I was wondering whether anyone has had experience with the DPS specifically.

HarrietKettleWasHere Wed 04-Oct-17 12:36:01

I thought in this circumstance you have to trigger the arbitrary process with the DPS and provide evidence to back up your claim. The landlord then has the option to do the same thing. The DPS decide what amount of any should he taken from your deposit.

We are in this situation right now with an absolute bellend of a letting agent who funnily enough as gone silent after doing his check without us present (we tried very hard to be present but he made it as difficult as possible) and claimed all sorts of things by email afterwards. We will dispute it because it's mostly total bollocks. One of the things he's trying to claim for is the labour involved in the removal of personal items. These items are cleaning products we left under the sink (useful for new tenants we thought!) and a pen he found in one of the wardrobes.

He's not getting away with it so I hope the DPS isn't too difficult a process.

LaPampa Wed 04-Oct-17 13:00:47

Harriet, in theory that is what happens but the landlord has to agree to the arbitration process. Our simply submitted an amount which took off extra money and then went quiet. They haven’t even said what it is for or substantiated why they chose that amount.

I hope yours works out ok.

HarrietKettleWasHere Wed 04-Oct-17 13:07:55

Oh bugger- I thought if they didn't contest what you put to them they have to return your money after 90 days.

Good luck.

LaPampa Wed 04-Oct-17 13:13:45

Maybe if they don’t do anything at all there is a process. Such a minefield. Not sure how it helps tenants really.

prh47bridge Wed 04-Oct-17 13:22:45

I am not sure that any part can be released by DPS if we don’t agree

Yes it can. The DPS can release the undisputed part of the deposit. The landlord is required by law to return the undisputed part of the deposit to you without waiting for the dispute to be resolved.

prh47bridge Wed 04-Oct-17 13:24:28

I suspect the DPS is waiting for the landlord's instructions. Remember, your dispute is with the landlord, not the DPS. The DPS can't release the money just on your say so.

HarrietKettleWasHere Wed 04-Oct-17 13:28:13

The landlord has to counteract the dispute though- and provide evidence. So in our case he will (or the letting agent for us) have to provide invoices to prove the labour he's supposedly had to carry out at the end of our tenancy. I think he has 90 days to submit this or yes, the money comes back to the tenant.

It belongs absoloutley to the tenant Unless the landlord or agent can prove they have a claim to all or part of it.

LaPampa Wed 04-Oct-17 14:12:25

Thanks guys! I would agree with you, except the man at DPS said that wasn’t the case and that the only options were:

- landlord agrees with our counter offer figure and money is released
- landlord disagrees and puts forward their proposed figure (which we disagree with) but agrees to arbitrate (unclear if sum is returned straight away that is not in dispute)
- landlord disagrees and puts forward their proposed figure (which we disagree with) and says no arbitration thus forcing us to either accept their proposal or suing them for the entire amount. (DPS won’t release without a court order if we don’t agree on the amounts - they said they won’t even release the undisputed amount, who knows if that is actually true.

I really hope they either just accept our proposed figure or agree to arbitrate.

LaPampa Wed 04-Oct-17 14:14:05

Thus far the landlord has made no effort to justify the sums they are proposing although we have ascertained the items they think the amounts refer to. (Item they say is missing, we say is there)

Allthebestnamesareused Wed 04-Oct-17 14:18:37

Was the item there when you did the check out?

LaPampa Wed 04-Oct-17 14:27:33

Yes, we say it was. And the item we left is in a photo. Sadly we weren’t there for check out and landlord says the item we left isn’t the item they left and therefore the report says not seen.

LaPampa Wed 04-Oct-17 14:29:55

(Think say a cushion. Inventory says blue cushion well used. Blue cushion is there, landlord says the one they left was bigger and made of down. We know it is the one that was in the property and they are misremembering?)

Additionally as they won’t provide a link to what they think was there we can’t agree an amount - even if they win on the item based on inventory - I don’t want to pay £150 for something that was already well used 5 years ago.

(Not real Item, landlord might read here, I am paranoid)

LaPampa Fri 06-Oct-17 11:03:28

Just in case anyone was interested - the DPS do not make this clear at all but once both parties have disagreed once they then both have an opportunity to say how much should be released - whereupon the undisputed amount gets repaid and only the disputed sum is held pending ADR or court order. Still waiting to see if LL will go to ADR or whether we have to bring court proceedings to get our disputed £50 back (they came down a bit, we made an offer despite disagreeing)

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