Claiming against landlord who hasn't protected deposit - is this OK?(17 Posts)
This is the bazillionth time I've looked and asked on Mumsnet for advice and you haven't let me down yet! specialsubject and others have always been particularly helpful on the landlord and lease stuff.
I am drafting the content for a claim form and wondered if someone that knows can read what I'm proposing and tell me if it's OK or needs changing? Or is anything unclear? I'm planning on sending the info as an attachment, and appendices as detailed. Not sure how much hope I have of getting compensation. Our landlord lives outside of the EU (apparently) although the person we thought was our landlord who now 'manages' it lives in London.
Anyway, here it is:
We believe that our landlord has failed to protect our deposit in accordance with Section 213 of the Housing Act 2004 and in accordance with our lease (attached as appendix XXX).
We paid a deposit of £xx before taking up our tenancy on (date). A receipt for this deposit is in our lease, attached as appendix xxxx.
The deposit was paid to the property management company, and the lease details that the landlord should protect it as per the law.
When undertaking our lease we were told (name) was our landlord.
We were then emailed by the property management company on (date) saying there was a change in contact details for our landlord. We were then informed that the property owner had always been (another name) but that (original name) managed it. This email is attached as appendix xxxx.
These two men are both listed as defendants.
Having received a Section 21: Notice Requiring Possession eviction notice on (date) we (the claimants) checked our lease and tenancy agreement.
We checked with the three government-backed deposit schemes and found that our deposit had not been protected in line with the law. We did also therefore not receive the required information about the scheme being used within 30 days.
We took advice from Shelter, the housing charity, who informed us of our rights in this case and advised that as a result of failing to protect our deposit, the Section 21: Notice requiring possession eviction notice was invalid.
However we began searching for a new home anyway.
On (date) we wrote a letter before action to the defendants, copying in their property management estate agent, explaining that they had failed to protect our deposit in accordance with the law (attached as appendix XXX).
This letter was sent via email to the defendants and their property management company. It was also sent recorded delivery and proof of that delivery is attached as appendix XXX.
In the letter, we asked for a response within 14 days. The defendants have failed to respond.
However a contact at the defendants’ property management company emailed within the 14 days on (date), saying ‘I can confirm we have the deposit and this will be returned to yourselves once you have vacated’ (attached as appendix xxx). This is further proof that the deposit was not put into, and is now not in, an approved tenancy deposit scheme. It is also in contrast to a note from the property management company while talking about our tenancy becoming a periodic one on (date) saying ‘As your landlord holds the deposit and has previously registered the deposit they have been advised that they should arrange for it to continue to be registered.’ Attached as appendix xxx.
We are therefore launching a tenancy deposit compensation claim with the court totalling three times the deposit paid, plus our original deposit, plus interest from (date of beginning of tenancy).
We believe, having taken advice, that this compensation should comprise:
Three times our deposit totals: £xxx
Plus interest at 8% per annum (rate as set in Section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984) for three and a half years total: £xxx
Plus deposit paid: £xxxx
Looks spot on to me - you may also wish to point out that the failure to correctly protect your deposit means the s21 notice is not validly served.
I have tripled checked, and the landlord listed on our original tenancy agreement is Person A who lives in London. So should he be the defendant??
But as I said apparently there was a 'change' to Person B who lives in the Middle East.
Should it be Person A as they should have protected deposit etc in the first instance?
Okay - the responsibility for protecting the deposit is with the landlord. The other person is his agent. The landlord needs to know his legal obligations and instruct the agent. If he relied on the agent and the agent stuffed up, as far as you are concerned the buck stops with the landlord. The landlord may have a claim against the agent, but that is separate from your claim and should not cloud the waters.
Just re-word your letter to reflect this. Technically the landlord is the defendant and his agent should receive a copy of your correspondence for information as that is who you have been dealing with. You can send your letter to the landlord c/o his agent if you do not have his address. Apologies if I have confused things - I missed a couple of bits when I read your OP.
You might want to find out who the legal owner of the property is on the Land Registry section of the Gov.uk website - it costs £3 for an instant download of the title register for the property. You need the postcode and the house/flat number.
as you called (blush)... the only thing that confuses me is the bit about the deposit being 'previously registered'. You have checked with all three schemes and it wasn't. So you might want to stress that what you have been told does not tally with what you have found out.
also (devils' advocate) what is the issue? Is it that you haven't had the full deposit back? You should certainly get that. Be aware that the court awards UP TO three times its value at their discretion, plus your costs in bringing the action.
the landlord is the person named on the tenancy agreement.
have you actually left yet BTW?
The issue is that my landlord has behaved disgracefully throughout and I want to take him to court! We're still there, leaving in a few weeks.
Thank you for the comments - all v v helpful!
The deposit has never been protected. We have indeed checked and never been provided info about it
There are three people:
Person A : landlord named on original tenancy agreement (who I believe should have protected deposit)
Person B: person we were later told owned the property and now we're to deal with (although Person A still very much on scene)
Person C: property management company who seem to not do much but they renew tenancies etc
I will check the land registry.
oh yes, I remember now! Take no prisoners!
and yes, person A has the responsibility for deposit protection. Even if it is actually done by an agent, person A is liable. Which is why I made damn sure that my agent had done the protection and issued the paperwork to the tenant.
I've checked land registry and it says Person B owns the property
But I will list Person A as defendant
Checked the letter before action and Person A signed for it when delivered, so he's definitely around!
Whilst I think ll should be nailed to the wall, the award is discretionary and without any Loss to yourself you may not get any recompense.
...which is what I was also trying to find a tactful way of saying..
Actually the only discretion the court has is to set the level at between 1 and 3 times the amount of the deposit. The act says 'must order the landlord to pay'.
The thing I'm worried about is who is the landlord (still!) ie who do I say is the defendant
I expect Person A on our lease will say it's Person B who will never respond to the court because he's off in the Middle East and doesn't give a crap
signing the lease seems pretty cut and dried to me. They can say what they like but the court doesn't have to listen!
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