Advice : Landlord won't return deposit – or respond to letting agency!?

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  • Advice : Landlord won't return deposit – or respond to letting agency!?
  • xiphon
    Member

    I’m calling on the hive mind of STW for some advice…

    Parties involved – Me (Tenant), Reeds Rains (Letting Agency), myDeposit (deposit people), Landlord

    Long story short(ish!):

    1. Moved into property in March 2011, deposit goes to myDeposit via letting agency
    2. Got tired of the Landlord not fixing anything in the house (leaks, damp, etc).
    3. Handed in notice of termination in July 2013
    4. Moved out of the property in August 2013 – a “checkout” agent reviews the property (on behalf of the landlord), and gives the Letting Agency a copy of the paperwork to send to us and landlord.
    5. We receive paperwork (checkout report) in the post, sign it, and return it (October 2013)
    6. Letting Agency have rung their “client” about 20 times (even spoken to his wife on occasion), and sent him 3 recorded letters – asking to review, sign and return the checkout paperwork so I can get the deposit back.

    7. Today (Nov 2013) – I receive a phone call from the Letting Agency saying they can’t get hold of their client, and the time for raising disputes with MyDeposit has expired….

    I phone MyDeposit, who pretty much tell me to do one (times expired) despite explaining how everything from both sides (landlord vs. me) went through Reeds Rains, and I had no idea they couldn’t get in contact with their own client – advised me to speak to CAB and start legal proceedings….

    Sorry, it was a bit longer than I thought ^^

    Would I have a leg to stand on, if I were to go through the courts? I’ve done everything by the book my end, but the landlord has done absolutely nothing.

    Help!

    mcobie
    Member

    AFAIK if the land lord hasn’t told MyDeposit to hold your funds due to xyz issues they have to give it back to you within a certain timescale…speak to the letting agent, they’ll confirm this and it’ll be in your contract.

    Personally I’d be sending a recorded letter to both the agent and landlord informing them that if the deposit isn’t returned in full within 14 days then you’ll be issuing court proceedings.

    Good luck!

    Premier Icon teethgrinder
    Subscriber

    If you have copies of everything, small claims against landlord and letting agency.

    hora
    Member

    I’d be telling MyDeposit that I’d be taking legal action against them. That just doesn’t sound ‘right’ – a time limit that then lets them keep (alot) of money? Hmmmmm.

    dooosuk
    Member

    Did you never raise a dispute asking for your money back with MyDeposits? You had 3mths to do this, so why wouldn’t you?

    you don’t need to raise a dispute do you? Thats for when you disagree with their decision. If everything was in order, you get your money back, whether they can locate the landlord or not??

    Moses
    Member

    Small claims court, immediately.

    dooosuk
    Member

    Well, if I was owed a chunk of money and wasn’t getting anywhere with the letting agent/landlord, I’d be raising a dispute to let myDeposits know what was going on.

    dooosuk
    Member

    Nothing in there ADR guide about time expiring (although elsewhere on the site it says 3mths).
    http://www.mydeposits.co.uk/sites/default/files/mydeposits%20Tenant%20guide%20to%20Alternative%20Dispute%20Resolution.pdf

    hora
    Member

    That says nothing about keeping the deposit, only you have to raise any despute within 3months. Where does it say that they can keep the money? Almost by misquote and omission they are implying to their benefit…

    OP tried through here?: http://www.dsdni.gov.uk/index/hsdiv-housing/private_rented_sector/tenancy-deposit.htm

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Small claims court, immediately.

    You have to send a letter of intent first and give due notice (7 or 14 days). Loads of templates on the web, see one I used earlier this year to get back £2k.


    Letter before court action against MotorHolme.co.uk by brf, on Flickr

    If you don’t give due notice or offer to accept mediation, you weaken your case significantly.

    xiphon
    Member

    An Update

    Firstly, thanks to all who’ve replied so far. Man-hug/chest-bump/high-five. (delete as appropriate)

    I told my wife about the situation – and being Captain Obvious, her first question was: Who controls the bank account with our deposit in?

    Quick phone call to myDeposit reveals it’s actually the Letting Agency who control the money, on behalf of myDeposit. Hmmm, interesting. (Did anyone else know that?) That explains why myDeposits told me to visit CAB.

    Now I’ve written (email) to the Letting Agency, asking A ) if they are the ones who control the money, and B ) will they release the money, as their client (Landlord) has not raised a dispute in the time frame.

    In regards to the question “why didn’t you ask for it back earlier?” we wrongly assumed that if we did not hear about a dispute, it would automatically be returned to us. The letting agency (Reeds Rains) is utterly useless at the best of times – no amount of phone calls or emails will spur them on any faster. We’ve been quite busy lately, and sort-of ‘forgot’ about the deposit (as we’d not seen it in over 2 years!).

    Cheers all 🙂

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Subscriber

    This is why Mrs Sandwich does our finances and I’m occassionally allowed to spend money.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    I’d say there’s a fair case here to enact the age of tradition of “tanning their windaes”! 😀

    http://www.mydeposits.co.uk/letting-agents/how-it-works#

    I’d write them a recorded delivery letter, stating that there have been no objections to the state of the property and you are now due back your deposit in full.

    If they fail to pay, you will submit an N1 Court Summons form and seek to reclaim the money, plus any associated costs, through the courts.

    toppers3933
    Member

    If Carlsberg did criminal damage…….

    xiphon
    Member

    Small update

    The letting agency has tried (again) to contact their client, as it requires their authorisation to release the money back to me, stating I have requested his address (with the intention of legal proceedings)

    You would have thought that if no dispute was raised by the landlord, it would default automatically back to the tenant? Unfortunately not…

    The letting agency also emailed me a long chronology of events in regards to their attempts to contact the landlord.

    Very, very frustrating!

    toppers3933
    Member

    i know nothing of these things but can’t the agency just give you your deposit back if they cannot contact the landlord and its been a long time with a full chronology? seems a bit stupid to me. not that something being stupid ever changed anything.

    xiphon
    Member

    toppers3933

    Despite the letting agency controlling the money (in their bank), they have no legal right to “return” the money to me – without permission of the landlord – or solicitor.

    (This is only after the “Deposit Protection Scheme” has expired – during that time period, the deposit people can authorise it)

    sugdenr
    Member

    “Letting Agent controls the money” Every day is a school day.

    Check your tenancy agreement, a decent one will provide for return of deposit unless notice of bona fide dispute.

    Otherwise, the LA can release the deposit on court order, and given the circumstances I would be going for a summary judgment.

    Also check your RR agreement, as you undoubtedly paid them fees for setting up the agreement you have a contract you make be able to pursue them under – although it probably exclude this action.

    xiphon
    Member

    I’ll go over the Agreement with a fine tooth comb – the letting agency is Reeds Rains (so not exactly small).

    They’ve been really helpful so far (which is ironic, considering they were so useless, thats why we left!!), but I can appreciate their hands might be tied legally.

    tymbian
    Member

    You can’t tell me that their hands are still tied legally after countless attempts of trying to contact the landlord. Why don’t they ( RR ) show that chronology to the RR powers that be and request to be able to return your deposit. If they wanted to they could.

    dirk_pumpa
    Member

    I’d be in the letting agency every other day to cause a scene for 5 minutes. They soon sort it out.

    Philby
    Member

    RR could take the landlord to the Small Claims Court.

    crankboy
    Member

    Why have they no legal right to return your deposit to you ? They are the landlord’s agents they act on hos herald the tenancy has ended they and the landlord have no legal riught to retain your money . They need to point to their right to keep your money not no right to return it. Letter before action to them threaten small claims against them for your deposit plus interest at county court rates plus costs.

    This is off the cuff advice based on first principles but following it will at least put the ball in their court.

    scottyjohn
    Member

    Letting agencies are one stage down the scum scale from estate agents in my experience. Talentless muppets who make things as complicated as possible in order to try and make themselves look important.
    We had to deal with one recently, and the bull**** they pull is unbelievable. I had to correct our “senior lettings associate” twice because she didn’t understand the form she was making us sign, and then had to use a pencil and a bit of paper to show her why her sums were wrong about the deposit balance I was to pay on getting the keys.
    Then to add insult to injury, she had me sign and date and time every page, all 27 of them, making sure that the time increments on each page.
    What a bunch of incompetent muppets. 👿

    Premier Icon wiggles
    Subscriber

    I had a situation where my letting agents evicted me after I enquired as to why they charge £80 for printing a new agreement with a different year on it and they didn’t have an answer.

    They disputed the condition of the house I moved out of despite me actually fixing things whilst i lived there that they had failed to do so was actually in better condition than when I moved in! They said it cost £150 to get “professionaly cleaned” and claimed the rest of the deposit was owed due to rent arrears. The house was perfectly clean and I had paid the rent on time every month I lived there! robbing bastards the lot of them.

    I disputed it with the deposit company and requested an invoice to prove the cost of cleaning and provided 2 years of bank statements showing the rent had been paid, got the deposit back within 2 weeks. Seems like your deposit company are being less than helpful in this circumstance

    scottyjohn
    Member

    Im dreading leaving our rental, we have been put there temporarily due to flood damage at our own place, and I am guessing they will try it on big time when we leave

    trail_rat
    Member

    At my last rental i was acused of cracking the toilet bowl……

    The reply was – im going to come out to the house and if you show me a crack ill pay you in cash for a new toilet.

    Got there …. Pushed said crack out the way with the bog brush……aye thatll be a hair then. Got full deposit back.

    xiphon
    Member

    Result!

    Well sort of..

    The letting agency has finally received communication from the landlord instructing them to release the funds, which shall be with me in 3-5 days…

    No indication so far as to how much will be returned – but going by their current track record, I expect more cock-ups along the way..

    Thanks to all the posters above for info/advice 🙂

    shermer75
    Member

    I would say if LA has the money, they’re the ones you want to take to court. Let them deal with the landlord in their own good time, it’s what they get paid for! I would also suggest that they are being so helpful because they know you’re in the right 😉

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