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Ex-landlord owes deposit

(10 Posts)
Koumak Tue 28-Jul-09 16:38:08

Anybody around who knows about tenancy deposits?

We have moved out of the property couple months ago (after living there for more than 3.5 years!) and giving the estate agents more than one month notice in writing. Since then we have tried getting the deposit back from both the agents and the landlord. Agents say they have no responsibility at all as “they have no managing contract with the landlord of the mentioned property, and our deposit was held by the landlord for whom they acted as commission based agents”. The landlord is not replying to phone calls, emails or letters!

We have informed the landlord in the last letter that we are prepared to take him to county court. Does anybody know how to go on about this? I just want to get what is rightly yours as the landlord has no reason to withhold the deposit for any reason. The property is actually in much better state than when we moved in!

Also, I wanted to know what the amount I can charge is. I.e. if he owes us £1000 can we charge interest (what would the % be?) on this and/or other costs involved?

Thank you.

Lilymaid Tue 28-Jul-09 16:46:39

Bumping this
It is fairly easy to make a small claim in the County Court.

lara27 Tue 28-Jul-09 17:18:54

firstly, did you renew your tenancy after 6 apr 2007? if so then the landlord had a legal obligation to put the deposit with a protection scheme which acts as an independent third party and resolves disputes. The agent should know about this even if they weren't managing the property. If it is covered by such a scheme then you need to contact them.

If it is not, or you can't find out, then a small claim in the county court is the way to go as lilymaid suggests. This can be done online through [www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. You will need to complete a claim form, ask the court to serve it on the landlord, then the landlord has 14 days to acknowledge it, if he does acknowledge he has a further 14 days to put in a defence (or just pay up!). If he doesn't meet these deadlines then you can ask the court to give "judgement in default" and you'll then have a court order requiring him to pay you the money. If he still doesn't pay then you get the court bailifs on the case grin. If the landlord does defend your claim then the court will arrange a short hearing where you can go along with your evidence and the landlord will also attend and then the judge will make a decision.

As to what you can claim that is usually the amount of the deposit plus interest at the court rate (was 8%) from the date that it should have been paid (e.g a month after tenancy ended - unless different in your tenancy agreement). There is a court fee for starting a claim, for £1000 it is £60 for an online claim. If it does go to a hearing then there is a further fee of similar amount. If you are successful then this will usually be added to the amount the landlord has to pay you.

You cannot recover lawyers fees on claims under £5k so if you need further help best to speak to your local citizens advice bureau.

Sorry for length of post, hope it helps!

Koumak Wed 29-Jul-09 09:38:24

Thank you very much for your help.
We have signed contract in July 2005 for one year and then had been renewing "verbally" since then but never actually had any contract. But we have always paid our rent on time (by cheques) and obviously have all household bills to prove the residency. I doubt therefore that the deposit is protected in any way.
We gave notice in March and moved out on 18 April. The deposit owned is £975. So would i be charging 8% for Apr, May, Jun, and July? I have looked at online claim and it says that i need to claim a specific amount so would like to get that right! 8% would mean £78, would this mean x4 months = £312 or is it calculated differently?

lara27 Wed 29-Jul-09 10:53:34

For the date when interest starts check in the original contract to see if it says anything about when the deposit should be returned. If it doesn't say anything then I suggest (only my view though!) that you claim from the date you moved out (the court may disagree in which case they could order a different amount). It is 8% per year not 8% of the total amount x number of months (though that would be nice! grin). The interest should be calculated on a daily basis from the date you are claiming until the date you submit your claim to the court. Have a look at this helpful guide from the Citizens Advice Bureau www.adviceguide.org.uk/c_starting_court_action.pdf which explains how to calculate interest for court actions and also gives you the wording to include on the claim form in relation to interest.

Koumak Wed 29-Jul-09 11:17:19

lara27 shock at me being naive at getting high interest!
Thank you I am going to read up on the link now.

surreylady Wed 29-Jul-09 13:40:15

Having done a Small claims process - I would advise that before making the claim you send the landlord a 7 day letter - stating that you require the deposit returned in full within 7 days and if this is not received you will proceed to court with no further correspondence - I would also record/register this letter - I am saying this because the court will look to see that you have made all reasonable attempts and have given the landlord notice that you are intending to take the action - hope this helps - good luck

Koumak Wed 29-Jul-09 14:39:13

Thanks Surreylady We have send both the agent and the landlord letters with a deadline for payment. That was some weeks ago, even months. Is the process quite straightforward? And may i ask what was the outcome for you?

AnarchyAunt Wed 29-Jul-09 14:46:23

Koumak - slightly different, but last week I won a small claims case against my ex landlady and letting agent for not protecting it.

Not the same as what you will need to claim for as you have no case for non-protection, instead its a non-return issue. Do you have copies of the letters sent with a deadline for payment?

Have they given any reason as to why they are not returning it? If they try to claim they are keeping it due to damage/disrepair they will need to prove this, with a signed start-of-tenancy inventory and photos of any damage they are claiming for.

Small claims is fairly straighforward and the court staff can give procedural advice.

Koumak Wed 29-Jul-09 15:01:46

I have a copy of at least one of these letters! There was no inventory as the flat was in really bad state when we moved it. We painted the walls although the landlord paid for the material and recarpeted the flat. Overall though the flat was in better state when we moved out then it was as we deep cleaned (not done for years) and generally took care of everything for the 3&half years we lived there! The landlord never told us that he wants to keep the deposit for any damages and they have people living in the flat already so don’t see how we or he could prove anything? I took pictures of the flat when we moved out. Although not much there to see either. The only thing the landlord said was to make sure we close all the utility accounts and email him the bills which we have and haven’t heard from him since!

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