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Letting agent disappeared with tenants deposit.

(32 Posts)
HouseHell Sat 04-Jul-15 09:07:10

I rented out a house about 4 years ago through a letting agent who did all the references/checks etc and 'managed' the property for a year after. I now want to issue the tenants notice and it seems that the agent didn't put it in the deposit scheme like he said he had. Is there anything I can do?

VodkaValiumLattePlease Sat 04-Jul-15 09:10:14

Give them their full deposit back before they sue you?

Nolim Sat 04-Jul-15 09:12:42

What does your contract say? Can you sue the agent if the tenants sue you? But yes i think it would be wise to return the deposit in full promptly.

Toughasoldboots Sat 04-Jul-15 09:14:22

The tenants could sue for non protection of deposit, there are quite serious penalties for this.

VodkaValiumLattePlease Sat 04-Jul-15 09:14:22

Also there's a forum called landlord zone, I would go post on there as they will give you a list of things to do to get the tenant to leave as this messes things up quite a bit.

Toughasoldboots Sat 04-Jul-15 09:17:50

You can't issue s21 if the deposit is not protected.

HouseHell Sat 04-Jul-15 09:29:14

If I pay the deposit (out of my own pocket) in to the scheme now, then can I issue a section 21?

VodkaValiumLattePlease Sat 04-Jul-15 09:33:02

I don't think so, as the prescribed information has to be given in a certain amount of time. You will have to give the full amount of deposit back to the tenant before you can serve them with anything.

Toughasoldboots Sat 04-Jul-15 09:33:29

You must protect the deposit within 30 days of receipt.
I know that some landlords have got away with paying it late but I doubt that you would at this stage.
It's going to be potentially very problematic and you might get sued.
I think that you should go and see a lawyer who specialises in landlord/tenant law and get some advice.
Do you know the tenants? Have a good relationship with them?
It's a bit risky but might be worth offering them some money on top of their deposit back.

Lunastarfish Sat 04-Jul-15 09:34:56

See a solicitor

Toughasoldboots Sat 04-Jul-15 09:35:59

And report the letting agent to ARLA or whoever he is registered with (not that they will do anything).

HouseHell Sat 04-Jul-15 10:07:16

This is what I was fearing.
The contract is currently running as a periodic one, it was initially a 6 month one. If I got the tenant to sign a new fixed term contract, could I put the deposit in the scheme then?

VodkaValiumLattePlease Sat 04-Jul-15 10:29:14

Well you could, but it doesn't write over the last tenancy, so they can still sue you for 1-3x the deposit. It would be best to give them the deposit back in full.

HouseHell Sat 04-Jul-15 10:30:53

If I give them their deposit back in full, can I then issue a section 21 at the same time?

LamppostInWinter Sat 04-Jul-15 10:32:44

Second the recommendation for landlord zone. This could get extremely messy for you if the tenants are on the ball.

Toughasoldboots Sat 04-Jul-15 10:33:19

No, if you didn't protect the deposit, it invalidates the s21. It doesn't matter if you give it back in full now.

lastnightiwenttomanderley Sat 04-Jul-15 10:34:14

What's the relationship like with the tenant? If it's a periodic tenancy and you give them notice, which they accept, do you need a S21? <not an expert>

VodkaValiumLattePlease Sat 04-Jul-15 10:35:10

A section 21 notice may not be issued unless the tenancy deposit registration requirements were met within 30 days of the deposit payment.

Toughasoldboots Sat 04-Jul-15 10:36:26

You still need a s21 if it's periodic.

Toughasoldboots Sat 04-Jul-15 10:37:58

You're welcome.

DancingDinosaur Sat 04-Jul-15 10:39:01

I'd go to landlord zone for advice. They are very good there. Is the agreement between you and the tenant or the agency and the tenant?

Toughasoldboots Sat 04-Jul-15 10:39:57

It's always between landlord and tenant.

DancingDinosaur Sat 04-Jul-15 10:44:24

This tells you what to do. You can issue sec 21 but you need to give deposit back first. Theres an agreement form for deductions that would need to be completed.

HouseHell Sat 04-Jul-15 10:44:55

Thank you for the advice everyone.

Relationship is pretty good with the tenant, although she's become pretty unreliable at paying on time the past couple of months which is why I've decided now is the right time to sell.

She doesn't have any money (is on benefits) and I don't have any either.confused

So annoyed at the agents, but know fundamentally it's my fault for not being more clued up.

Thanks again for your help.

specialsubject Sat 04-Jul-15 12:06:54

it is 100% your fault, sorry.

as landlordzone will tell you; return the money, out of your own pocket if necessary. If the agent ran off with it that is, I'm afraid, your problem. There is nothing you can do to retrieve the offence of not protecting the deposit except to return it.

then issue your notice. Be aware this is not a notice to leave, it is a notice that you will start legal eviction proceedings if she doesn't go. That is expensive so I hope you have the right insurances.

bet the whiny landlord-haters won't read this thread!

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