Last year I lived in a flat owned by a friend. We did everything properly and did contracts to involve any potential dispute and there were no problems.
However, he still hasn't given me my deposit back. It also appears to be the case that he didn't put it into a deposit scheme though in my contract it said he would. I have asked for it repeatedly, and occassionally he has promised to give it back but has generally ignored my requests.
I don't know what to do and really need the money. He is the partner of my oldest friend, who I don't want to get involved as it is not her job as it is his house, and I don't want to ruin the relationship. However, finances are really really difficult and a constant source of worry at the moment.
Money and friendship are a really rotten combination, no matter how well you set it all up in advance. Verbal assurances aren't working so you should move up to written demands for the money.... and use the 'PNS' system i.e. Polite Letter, Nasty Letter, Solicitor's Letter. If you can't afford to sue then try CAB. Keep copies of all letters, make notes of conversations had and dates. Don't be afraid about talking to your friend either. You need to be exerting as much pressure from as many different angles as possible to get it resolved. If anyone's ruining the relationship it's him, not you.
There is no agency, just 3 approved schemes. Technically you can sue him for 3x the deposit amount as it was not put into one of these schemes - however courts are lax at doing this. Much better to send him a polite but factual letter of notice before action, stating the facts and that unless he refunds the deposit within 10 days you will take him to small claims. You can then sue him online for about £25.