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treforissa

Deposit nightmare

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I stupidly forgot to put the deposit made by my ex tenant in a deposit scheme and am now being sued for the usual 3x. My fault, no excuse, the law is the law. I received two letters from the ex tenants solicitor. One sent to my address and one sent to the rented property. However, the letters were different with different amounts claimed!! I wrote back to the solicitors pointing this out and they replied that it was the same letter. Can I address this?

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It's the court that decides how much of an award the T should get, not his vulture solicitor.

I also have the view that as the claim should go through the County Court there is no need for your ex T to employ a solicitor so any costs for that shouldn't be a penalty to you.

I would consider creating your defence in preparation for court, however minimal that might be. You have the 2 confusing letters and might use them to show the poor confusing effect of the solicitor anyway. Be ready to make settlement after the hearing and there should be no adverse marker against you.

You might reduce your final outlay by negotiation (pre Court), that at max is 3 x deposit value + return of deposit (so 4x effectively), but be cautious that this would actually remove the right of the ex T to claim anyway. It is now a game that solicitors like to play for revenues, don't be harassed.

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Many thanks for the reply. It is quite an interesting case if I may bore you. 

The T commenced with the Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement on the Ist March 2016 and subsequently gave me notice to quit on, or about, 1st July 2016 with a vacating date of 30th July 2016 informing me that he had purchased a property. Around the middle of July the T spoke to me and told me that his new property would not be ready for habitation on the date previously agreed for vacating the property. At that time I agreed that he could stay at the property on an ongoing daily basis and that the rental would be deducted from his returning deposit on this agreement at his request. I did this to help out the T.  

    It has to be pointed out that the T was aware that the deposit was not placed in a deposit protection scheme. This is proven by his request that the extra time his remaining at the property be covered by the deposit. This could not be done if the deposit was in a TDP, as the very reason for the TDP is to protect the deposit which cannot be accessed by the landlord. The T was party in the knowledge that the deposit was not put in a TDP.
    

  

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Assuming this was a 6 month tenancy agreement the tenant is liable for rent for the full 6 months i.e. up to and including 31st August.

If the tenant serves notices and stays beyond that date I believe you are entitled to receive double rent.

Always, always have tenants pay rent in advance so it's you that needs to make a refund.

Did you either receive his notice in writing or did you respond in any way in writing.

It seems he may be entitled to his claim but you may be able to counterclaim to mitigate some of the potential loss.

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I read somewhere that a claim for unprotected deposit compensation cannot be made in the county court........anyone else know about this ?

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I think that is correct RL (Not 100% sure though). In the early days of deposit protection it could go to CC but I believe that has now changed. 

Just a thought but if the deposit has now been used for rent as agreed by both parties, there is now no deposit and would be classed as returned. Doesn't stop the claim though.

And remember the claim isnt x3 the deposit value which it was fixed at when it came into force it is now UP TO x3 the value of the deposit so any penalty could be a lot less. 

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I'm just trawling the net to find this out but all I can find points to County Court. CR,what do you think is the best way to inform the Tenant's 'No win, No fee' solicitor that I won't be liable for her fees?

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You are receiving responses to your questions but you are not providing answers.

You won't get a definitive answer on how best to proceed unless you do.

My advice is get professional legal advice/ representation.

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You need proper advise from a specialist housing law solicitor not some high st solicitor who generally know less about housing law than your average letting agent.

Try http://painsmith.co.uk/ I have heard they are quite good.

 

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Please remember I'm just some guy on the internet, but my further thoughts.

By now you should know your maximum exposure, but that assumes that you won't become liable for your ex T's legal costs and you can be sure his vulture will attempt to make you so. In court you should be prepared with your response, possibly at summing up.

Now there is a vulture on the go this will have its own momentum. The vulture will want as much meat from this as can be had, an easy result isn't in his interest. Your employing your own vulture could easily run up your own costs that outweigh the present exposure. Two vultures play a lovely game each feeding off the developing conflict. You may find paying up any award is cheaper, far less time consuming and less stressful.

His vulture may not realise you are up for the possible effective 4x, in any negotiation that could help some. It seems he realises that you are liable for non protection, and non serving of prescribed info (but that makes no difference so don't be harassed if that argument comes up). Considering the deposit has been returned in a fashion that was to the T's advantage, and as this was by you being very compliant to the T's wishes and supporting his life development the Court may well give you sympathy. It isn't difficult to see an ex T who now sees an opportunity for an easy buck to buy his new sofa.

Already you you have shown your agreement to extend the tenancy, on a daily basis, so no double rents there (distress of rents).You can claim for any unpaid rents though, and it wouldn't harm any to claim for cleaning and repairs required at the end of tenancy. I'm not expecting you carried out a 'check in' and 'check out' to give that any credibility though.

It doesn't seem likely the exT would listen to your education but just rely on the vulture. A little satisfaction might be that any award will just pay the vulture, not the ex T.

Don't get too stressed, let his vulture claw and squawk, just be prepared to cough up when need be. 

Let us know where this goes though, cos this is just theory so far.

 

 

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