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Looks like I've screwed up the DPS again.

Carryon Regardless

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The T, since July 2012, has been a poor payer. Sort of tries but not hard enough.

Early this year I diverted HB to myself and things were getting there, he then got employment. After a lead in due waiting for salary payments to him and paying usually late the account was getting there again, then he lost the job.

If you remember I try to stick with the devil I know as the choices in that area generally don't bring better than I have. I served the s21 long ago, more as a threat but careful to hilight that no conditions were attached.

There is a £400 deposit, so methinks get it now as it brings the account to near enough ok, we discussed and he is ok with this as I'm off his back for a while. I can then consider hoofing the bugger out later.

So the 8th October I went through the "request a deposit repayment" on the DPS site. Not really expecting the lazy T to respond to the request, likely a head too full of cider, I thought after 14 days of no response the repayment to me would be automatic.

Today I checked the site 'again' and it still shows "awaiting tenant response". Trying to find confirmation of my belief in their Q & A system proved to be a pita so I went into the start a claim process, more to learn the process. One press and the claim was started and then tells me a form would be posted that I need to have signed by a solicitor, or other silly choices. Taking the time and paying a solicitor for that service doesn't appeal so I cancelled the claim process. Now I'm back to the 'very' start with the deposit 'active' again.

To avoid me chucking this bloody PC through the window and as the DPS are untouchable HELP.

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I can understand the frustration. We took on a property with a tenant already in situe. But the landlord only set the tenancy up with the hubby with no mention of the wife. The hubby has since died and 80% of the deposit needs to be claimed upon. The wife (ex-tenant now) needs to request a form and fill it out and sent back to the DPS, but the ex-tenant seems to not be bothered. So it seems we cant get the funds.

Catch 22 springs to mind.

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Yes Grampa long gone are the days of just being able to get on with running a tenancy, or finishing it.

Did I just dream that after 14 days I could expect the repayment ?

I remember some time ago I mistakenly applied the 'Repayment ID' to all my statements, not understanding that was for me only. A T used this to recover the deposit with absolutely no reference to me, or use of a solicitor at all. I was told by the DPS there was nothing I could do. Seems a tad one sided again.

I've just spoken to the HB regarding Mr Cider Head, as he had said that he would elect for payments to be made direct to me I thought it was time to confirm the status. They left me holding while looking for an answer to that question and then said they could only talk with the T about the claim. from that I assume that he hasn't chosen for me to receive the payments and not knowing if any payments have yet been made I can't know what to expect following my letter requesting payments to be diverted. You try to help them with leniency, you trust their statements, they stuff ya. Seemed like a nice chap to. Well I hope he has a warm coat cos the weather's turning.

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..........and with a smug knowing of the head am I pleased to have paid my £15 DPS insurance backed tenant's deposit to register my last tenant's deposit to keep it all government legal.... and the deposit money is sitting in my account instead of the DPS having it. :D

It is the one big flaw in the DPS system.........you can lose control of the deposit and end up with a situation like COR is experiencing right now.....pain!

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So, theres a lot to be said for my lettings agent holding the deposit for me. They are registered deposit holders with DPS........ever thought of doing it this way Grampa ?

I already do I have been protecting my deposits in my client account ever since 2007 with the Dispute Service TDS. But I do have a handful or properties which I have taken on with the deposit already held in the DPS custodial scheme so we use both schemes but 99% I hold internally like your agent.

It isn't cheap to do so but it is a lot easier to release and apportion the funds.

The down side is your yearly premium goes up if you have a dispute but we have the max of 60% no-claims bonus and we have only had one dispute since 2007 and all the others have been resolved in-house.

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OK, sounds like you are already on top of it.

My agent charges £10 per let as a contribution to their DPS running costs. Seems worth it to me as a landlord as I get the best of all worlds.....funds held in house, no paperwork for me and a low operating cost.

Plus, I can imagine its a big marketting bonus for any agent to offer this service.

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But I am now thinking if I get a existing tenancy to take over with the deposit in the DPS custodial scheme can I transfer it over to the DPS insurance based scheme for 15 quid (and get the funds sent to me) and should I have done that with the situation I mentioned in my first post as I did have a signed agreement for the deductions from the tenant.

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What we're trying to do here is make the best of a bad job. I have never had approval of deposit protection and only view it as another modern day corruption that screws over the honest more than the dishonest, the easy targets to my mind. But as realistically we don't have choice and must adhere to Stalin's wishes (feels like), I'm just winging.

I've had a quick look at the insurance alternatives and recognise the additional expense, but if that saves time and even helps lose less dosh it can be easily justified.

The DPS insurance looks simplest and even cheapest as there isn't a registration and annual fee. Where I'm concerned is the extra chew of informing 'them' as the tenancy becomes periodic. 1. it is extra admin and I think there is much more than should be already in this industry. 2, If I miss then the hassle is increased significantly. While I know I can set up reminder systems it isn't infallible as if it prompts too early I still forget, if later I might be on a beach (trust me the PC doesn't come with me).

Once the custodial is taken care of it should be taken care of, today however proves 'once again' that isn't the case.

To be considered further, while in the Caribbean hopefully. Some research into moving the custodial monies into insurance may be worthwhile, unless you have already looked at that Grampa. Effectively that means having the deposits repaid.

Edit, I see I'm a slow typer again, not used to this place being so active

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Cor you could make any new tenancy a contractual (not statutory) periodic tenancy from day 1. Then just let it run. The only down side I see is you have a tenant who could give 1 months notice at any time.

Or give the tenant a option of not paying a deposit (but with a guarantor if poss) but a increased rent of say 15/20 quid. Over 18 months (if they stay) you could have a extra 360 quid..

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The 1st suggestion could have merits. Since my lower quality T's don't respect giving notice anyway there's little difference.

The downside's of the 2nd.

It would confuse many of them.

Even if they understood the principle they would only see an overcharge, compared to the competition, when rents are due.

Similarly later in the tenancy they would perceive incentive to take a cheaper property.

The deposit incentive to be good T's is lost.

Most of mine have a g'tor (although not Mr Cider Head) but they do need reminding of the implications when things go titties up.

A little more thinking on this situation.

I can go for the repossession which would mean, in theory, 14 days notice at the Court date of approx 6 weeks. So the 2nd week of December(ish).

Not the best time to re let, so likely as not I then become responsible for Council tax and a little electric (water responsibilities vary) till February. Insurance being void from sometime January.

It becomes more intelligent to drive the 80 miles to the property and help him fill out the HB claim, oh I didn't mention another call to HB leaves me believing no claim has gone in yet.

That being the case the repayment of the deposit loses urgency I've just to help him respond to that also.

All that and I've to find reason for him to keep living so he doesn't top himself over xmas leaving me with an empty flat I have to pay for. Buggered if he's coming to the Caribbean with us.

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Buggered if he's coming to the Caribbean with us.

Some landlords ......they are just so tight !

I always tell my tenants they can come on holiday with me. :)

You have to balance the cost with all the other benefits such as less wear & tear on your rental. -_-

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My other 3/4 is looking at Mexico now. I can see how he might feel comfortable under a sombrero under a palm tree with a bottle tequila cider,

but then I reckon he's spent most of his adult life on holiday already.

Am I allowed to charge him a penalty, cos at this rate I'll have to pay for this business trip myself (just in case the tax man's listening in as this is to look at the potential timbers for our next renovation) ?

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This thread interests and concerns me as I, probably like many other small LLs, have placed deposit with DPS and yet to test how to extract it when the occasion arises.

Getting back to Cor's OP, haven't we missed something? Isn't deposit the tenant's money? If tenant doesn't or can't be bothered to co-operate with landlord's attempt to extract it from DPS, why should it be concern to landlord? It's not landlord's money to fret about, is it?

If Cor's tenant has agreed to surrender £400 in lieu of debt, shouldn't Cor simply sue tenant for that (equivalent) amount? ....If of course it's worth doing....

Maybe I've missed something?

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Yep I think you may have missed a bit.

The T has agreed for me to have 'his' deposit, but only verbally. I see why the DPS need some approval of this from the T. Since I've been waiting since 8th October I 'thought' the opportunity for the T to respond had expired, possibly not.

So how long is reasonable for us to wait, after all the T could be back packing across the Tibetan Plateau.

I'm sure the info on procedures is there on the site, I clearly fell short of understanding regarding making a claim, but in my simple mind it isn't user friendly. I gave up looking the T not responding time period. I was caught out by the claim cancelling kicking me back to the lower rung to start the climb again. The warning of requirement of a solicitor would be nice prior to going forward with one button press, even a "c'mon silly boy are you sure" warning might have helped me.

What I hoped for was a less involved method of getting what 'I' now view as my dosh. Going to court takes considerable effort and of course needs the court fee. In this case all to be lost for what I see as no useful result.

Haven't courts been known to refer LL's to the DPS if a deposit is held there, with a "don't bother us" type attitude ?

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This is the advantage of holding the funds/deposit yourself.

I find if you explain to the tenant the marks/damage wasn't on the inventory they signed and the invoice is £xxx, 99% they will accept it though sometimes with a bit of a grumble. We then send a chq with the balance of the deposit ?(if any) and a accompanying letter stating:

Please find enclosed the balance of your deposit less the deductions agreed on xx/xx/xx as full and final settlement and copies of the invoices for the works required.

This works well for us and there is no fannying around trying to jump through the hoops of the custodial deposit scheme.

We also get when possible the tenant to sign a form agreeing to replace,clean or repair a item if the issue crops up during the tenancy on a inspection.

I did a bit of research on full and final settlement and there is a fair bit of case law. The below is assuming the payment is sent with a letter stating F&FS.

1 You can cash the chq and as long as you inform the person/payee promptly you don't accept it as F&FS that is ok but the longer you leave it the weaker your case/argument becomes. Once you get to approx. 3-4 weeks later with no contact it is fairly safe to assume it cant be disputed and if longer even better.

2 This is a odd one. If the chq is from a third party (say you wife or friend who is unconnected) and the chq is cashed it doesn't matter in the eyes of the law (case law) it is accepted even if is disputed the following day. People don't take much notice of who wrote the chq and just want to bank it asap..

I had too much time on my hands last year when changing utility supplier and thought I would try this out and see how a big company would deal with it using the above. I send a chq for only 10% of the final bill as F&FS from a 3rd party account knowing full well they would cash the chq but the letter would go to another dept for reply if any. About a month later I get the usual reminder letters to which I replied using the above arguments. Lots of threatening letters (all replied to) later and its all gone quiet. I kept repeating if they knew of a legal reason why the above wasn't valid and they (or legal dept) couldn't or wouldn't answer.

I did mention a number of times I was prepared to defend my case in court and quoted the relevant case law but to be fair as the amount was not large it would have cost them more to go to court with a solicitor so that could have some bearing on their decision making.

But the important thing is they couldn't dispute the legal argument which I kept requesting and was what I was after.

As a footnote the total letters sent and received was about 35 over a period of 12 months and I want no complaints above utility bills going up because of me. :)

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Just as a side comment on this discussion, my last tenant of the flat (DSS) who left the property last month had changed my electric meter to a key operated meter without my permission or knowledge. This would not have been allowed had I known about it.

The end result of this was that he was charged £51 to change it back to a proper credit meter. This was the charge that the electric company made to undertake the work.

They use to do it for free not so long ago but now there is a charge for this type of work....surprise... surprise!

He could not argue the case because it's in his contract not to meddle with meter's and his deposit was held by my LA so the whole issue was sorted in a flash much to his dismay and he was £51 light on his deposit return.

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Cor: "Yep I think you may have missed a bit."

I don't think so. Why should LL extracting what is seen as 'tenants' money by DPS be any easier than Court action?

Grampa: "This is the advantage of holding the funds/deposit yourself."

To hold deposit oneself I understand it has to be insured by LL through approved insurers e.g. Mydeposits. When scheme was introduced this method was considered expensive compared to DPS which looked straightforward enough for small-fry LLs like me . From reading this thread, maybe not! That is why I'm interested in responses.

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When scheme was introduced this method was considered expensive compared to DPS which looked straightforward enough for small-fry LLs like me . From reading this thread, maybe not! That is why I'm interested in responses.

I have just insured through the DPS for £15. Looks good to me. Total control over the deposit.

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Chestnut I imagine your being a devils advocate here and that's good. Discussion like this can help us understand the procedures better.

I can't see it as reasonable that we should go through hoops to get money that is designed for events that should compensate us. Cause us to demonstrate it as reasonable for us to have the dosh yes but if we are so disadvantaged by deposit protection, if it isn't 'reasonably' user friendly for us it fails, as it will not be used or LL's will circumnavigate (well try to).

This is often my theory about the legislation's that continually develop and load 'us' with heavy responsibilities and penalties. There will be a point where a much more significant number of LL's will effectively say "f that for a game of soldiers".

Once a LL realises that to comply with the deposit protection legislation and stay 'clean' and secure form T attack (or Shelter, or CAB, or the Housing Enforcement Officer) is close on impossible (hi lighted by a recent thread regarding an ambulance chaser) you might as well be the wrong side of the law for all of the rental.

Stuff the EPC,

stuff the gas inspection,

ignore electrical safety,

employ a bruiser to collect rents.....

Of course it is far better for us to run safe, ethical businesses. Where my cynicism is fueled is the clowns in London not letting us get on with it.

A little thought regarding the insurance scheme. If this gives us total control over the deposit we then hold, effectively for £15 any deposit becomes our bonus. Tooo easy methinks.

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