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Private landlord - problems getting my deposit back

(18 Posts)
WhereIsMyCoffee Sat 25-Jul-15 08:34:22

Hi, I've recently moved out of a rental property and I'm having some trouble getting my deposit back. However I'm not exactly sure of the law on these matters and would be very grateful for some advice!

We were on a rolling contract and had been living in this privately rented house for about two years. Then in June, we got a note through the door giving us 6 weeks notice to move out. I asked if we could have some more time (as indeed I was advised the legal minimum for a landlord giving notice is 2 calendar months), but the landlord said this wasn't possible and that we had to move out.

So, we found another place. Quite a lot more expensive then we had hoped but as we didn't have much time to shop around, we didn't really have a choice and had to go for something in order not to be homeless.

Now it's been several weeks since we've moved out and I so I text the landlord to ask, when will we get our deposit back? He said he will transfer it back to us, but that he will be withholding two weeks rent as we didn't pay the last two weeks of rent.

Now, this is what happened with the rent: Our contract started on the first of the month, we we had a direct debit set up for the 12th of the month (which the landlord was happy with). So we he gave us 6 weeks notice in June (to move out on the 12th of July), we had literally just paid the rent for June. He is now claiming that we have not paid rent for those two weeks in July. I guess this is technically true, but I don't feel I should have to pay this because of the following reasons:

1) He is the one who gave us less than the legal minimum (I think?!) notice. If we had had the normal notice we could have moved into our new place a month later, and wouldn't have had overlapping rent, etc. It doesn't seem fair that he can just decide how much notice there is (not even to the whole calendar month! But just deciding on this random date!) and then we have to pay this to the exact date he gives us.
2) He never even put our deposit in a deposit scheme, so there is noone I can ask or consult. As far as I'm aware it is actually illegal for a landlord not to place a deposit in a deposit scheme (and illegal to withhold money from such a deposit). It all seems really unfair.

Anyway, I really don't want to make this into a huge deal or a battle, I just feel like we have been pushed around for the last months and we were basically powerless. He owned the house and we just had to move, even if what he was doing was not legal. It felt incredibly depressing to be honest to feel so powerless, and now I've come through it all I just want my &%&* deposit back!

Sorry this is such a long message, I would really appreciate any advice. I guess if the law says I have to pay this additional rent even though I wasn't given the legal notice, and the deposit wasn't held in a scheme, then so be it. But equally if I'm in my rights to get my full deposit back, then I would very much like to get it back! Thanks again.

VodkaValiumLattePlease Sat 25-Jul-15 08:37:28

I would go on landlord zone and post on there. They're experienced people who know the law so you'll get better advice there.

WidowWadman Sat 25-Jul-15 08:39:15

Has your deposit not been held in a deposit protection scheme?

WhereIsMyCoffee Sat 25-Jul-15 08:40:32

No it has not. We asked about it at the time but the landlord said this would not be necessary...

Nolim Sat 25-Jul-15 08:41:15

The notice perion should be in the contract, have you checked?

Not protecting the deposit is illegal. You can take him to court for that. Maybe someone else can comment on the legal procedure (i hired a solicitor to get my deposit back)

Regarding not paying the last two weeks, i dont know if you can just do that.

Can you call shelter?

WidowWadman Sat 25-Jul-15 08:41:40

Ah, should have read properly. Very dodgy landlord. Both early eviction and not protecting deposit are wrong. Can you speak to CAB or get some legal advice?

Nolim Sat 25-Jul-15 08:42:34

No it has not. We asked about it at the time but the landlord said this would not be necessary...
Bollocks. He has to do it.

WidowWadman Sat 25-Jul-15 08:44:01

Nolim - statutory notice period to tenants is 2 months regardless what the contract says. And it doesn't sound as if the landlord has followed the proper procedure serving a section 21.

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 25-Jul-15 08:45:39

I would strongly suspect that writing a prior to action ( court) letter about the unprotected deposit might find your deposit returned I full. If it does not check landlord zone for how to go to court correctly and you are likely to be awarded three times the deposit.

WhereIsMyCoffee Sat 25-Jul-15 08:48:29

Thanks for your good advice so for. WidowWadman I also thought the notice period to the tenants is two months regardless of the contract.

I will contact CAB for advice. I am just sad that it has come to this. The whole reason why we didn't kick up a fuss when he evicted us was because we were worried we would not get our deposits back. And now we've put up with the stupid eviction AND it looks like we're not getting our deposit back!!!

WhereIsMyCoffee Sat 25-Jul-15 08:51:21

Yes Lonecatwithkitten I think you are right, I just really had hoped it wouldn't come to that! I hate confrontation, but really, I hate being screwed over, too.

Thanks again for the advice, I'm going to be out for the day (so I'm not abandoning this thread) and will check in later.

specialsubject Sat 25-Jul-15 15:15:32

England/Wales - he's broken the law and you can sue his sorry arse for not protecting the deposit, so do it.

plenty of online help how to do this, not a complex process. You will get your deposit back and possibly compensation up to 3x its value.

please also be an informed tenant, which makes you less vulnerable next time. Make sure you know your rights. the laws are there to protect you, use them! The only way to get crooks like this out of business is to make sure the law is enforced (and ideally not to rent from them in the first place but hindsight is a wonderful thing)

so make sure the next place has gas safe cert, protected deposit, smoke alarms, CO alarm, is in a decent state of repair etc etc etc.

AboutTimeIChangedMyNameAgain Sat 25-Jul-15 19:42:58

You can sue him for not putting the deposit in a protection scheme. It's illegal, (I think for three times the amount).

emwithme Sat 25-Jul-15 19:58:22

Shelter have sample letters you can tweak to send him.

He should've protected your deposit...and by not doing so opens him up to a penalty of 1 - 3 times the deposit amount (on top of returning the deposit)

WhereIsMyCoffee Sat 25-Jul-15 21:31:03

Thanks for the advice everyone.

Sunnyshores Sat 25-Jul-15 21:53:01

Its a shame you didnt know about the deposit not being protected, as it wasnt he couldnt evict you fullstop.
Moving on though, you will definitely be awarded all of your deposit back - and maybe up to 3 times your deposit. As he has broken other laws re eviction (and who knows what else probably), it is likely the judge will come down hard and you'll get 3 times back.
In any case you should go to CAB and make the claim. Its a very simple form. Dont let him get away with it.

NotDavidTennant Sat 25-Jul-15 22:11:17

Your landlord was completely in the wrong in only giving you 6 weeks notice, but you can't simply elect not to pay rent for a two week period as a 'punishment' for that. He is legitimately owed the rent for those two weeks. However, as others have pointed out he could potentially be liable to pay you back more than the deposit if a court finds out he hasn't used a deposit protection scheme.

Applesauce29 Sat 25-Jul-15 22:24:51

After watching a program about how people exploit council housing, I'd also report him to the council on the off chance he was illegally sub letting! I was shocked at some of the flats / houses you wouldn't have thought were council stock that were being illegally sub let and put on airbnb etc. long shot I know but sounds like he has a reason for not doing things above board - do you even know if he owns the property?

Hope you get the deposit back!

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