Scotland – tenancy laws – barrackroom lawyer advice please – deposit schemes

  • This topic has 18 replies, 12 voices, and was last updated 4 years ago by  hels.
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  • Scotland – tenancy laws – barrackroom lawyer advice please – deposit schemes
  • hels
    Member

    So, it transpires my landlord hasn’t put the deposit I paid 5 years ago into a deposit scheme. The Shelter Scotland website says I can claim 3 times the deposit via a sheriffs court order, as long as I make the claim within 3 months of the end of the tenancy. I haven’t bought the champagne yet though, as he lives overseas so I don’t fancy my chances, 3 times nothing is still nothing.

    Anybody ever been through this ? What is my best move ?

    I am giving him the benefit of the doubt just now as he has always seemed a nice guy, and have emailed politely asking for details of the scheme, give him the chance to get it sorted quick smart. As I don’t have a tenancy agreement and he hasn’t done any electrical or gas inspections for 4 years, I am not sure he wants to attract the attention of any kind of tribunal.

    And for the record, the house is in excellent order, I keep it clean and tidy, and the cat has only scratched away one bit of wallpaper which I have offered to fix.

    I only found out today about the deposit when I called the lawyers who took it initially. I am pursuing them for the money, they guaranteed to hold it, spent 18 months trying to track the landlord down when the law changed and deposit schemes were set up in 2012 to hand it the money, and never once got in touch with me. I know I will get nowhere with this, but can waste a hell of a lot of their time. Pretty annoyed they never bothered to let me know. Asshats.

    sniff
    Member

    Why do you want 3x the deposit back rather than the original amount?

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    What Sniff said

    hels
    Member

    I don’t want 3 times the deposit back (did I say that ?) I just want my original deposit !! What I am saying is the landlord never put it in a scheme as he is required to by law, so not convinced that he will just hand it back to me, no qibbles.

    I can claim the larger amount through the courts, but that is not the first resort, as I doubt there is any point as he lives out of jurisdiction, which is probably why he never bothered in the first place.

    Premier Icon kcal
    Subscriber

    sounds like its the lawyers that are being cr@p hels..

    Can you claim it back off them? (I doubt it, but maybe Law Society might be worth a call).

    hels
    Member

    I am looking at that kcal – the guy waffled poshly on the phone today about client confidentiality, but I think in this case they have a duty to me too, to at least have told me they were passing the deposit back.

    I have a letter from them from 5 years ago saying that they are holding the deposit and will return it to me at the end of the lease.

    I have asked for copies of all the documents relating to the tenancy and deposit under DPA – will see if they try to claim confidentiality, a tricky one if there is no legal action pending.

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Subscriber

    I don know the law but you make it sound straightforward.

    As you say getting the money might be a hassle, he might not want an undischarged decree against him.

    I’d sue just to get it sorted.

    hels
    Member

    Cheers Al – I will go that way if I have to. So much for the new laws protecting tenants ! As it stands that is my only recourse, can’t use a tribunal as the useless twonks in the original property lawyers just handed him the money. (or so they say, I only have that from the phone call).

    Will give him a few weeks to do the right thing first.

    Doesn’t matter if he’s abroad, he’s still has to use a scheme. Its him and not the lawyers or letting agents who are responsible here.

    Edit: Covered Here http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/privaterent/landlords/tenancy-deposit-schemes

    obelix
    Member

    If he wants to be a dick and withhold your deposit when you move out, then nail him for the full 3X the amount. Chances are he’ll settle for a lesser amount, but still more than the deposit you paid. He can look at it as a lesson in not being an arse about returning deposits. If he’s not being a dick and just has neglected to use the scheme, then I’d leave it, as long as he returns what he owes you.

    Our Scottish landlord tried the same on us, came up with a limp excuse about us causing undue damage to the couch (there was none). We got a lawyer onto it, and managed to get £1100 as settlement. They had withheld £300 of our deposit, but they were facing having to pay £2400 due to not using the tenancy deposit scheme. They’ll think twice next time before trying to steal money from those less well-off than them.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    As obelix said, comeuppance time.

    As I don’t have a tenancy agreement and he hasn’t done any electrical or gas inspections for 4 years, I am not sure he wants to attract the attention of any kind of tribunal.

    How the hell? My flat gets a visit from the housing folk at Perth and Kinross every other year or so who go through all my paperwork….I even email scans of them now to the council when I take on a new tenant, so they have a copy.

    toys19
    Member

    As a landlord I say do the sod for the full 3x, it is your legal right and we need the bad eggs to be rooted out. Every other landlord knows about this and has acted upon it. Your landlord mus have avoided this deliberatly, given that the solicitors have tried to contact him, he must be getting the rent right? So he is actually contactable…
    The 3x penalty is to ensure that landlords do not shirk their responsibilities. It is an easy process, do it.

    Premier Icon JoeG
    Subscriber

    Document the heck out of the apartment condition; take lots of photos.

    Then claim the full 3x! You may help future tenants avoid the same headache!

    mikewsmith
    Member

    So basically your moving out and waiting for an inspection to agree deposit return?
    If he kicks up a fuss you have 3 months to take them to court?

    See what the deal on moving out is first. If you everything back fine then do something about the gas/elec safety.

    hels
    Member

    Thanks for all advice folks – I have an email in overnight promising he will personally return my deposit to me in full plus a small amount I am owed for minor plumbing repair. I will ask for cash.

    I don’t have much option but to trust him at this stage, has always seemed a reasonable guy and I think it is more busyness and being overseas than any intent to diddle me. I will deliver the lecture on responsible landlording when I have the cash in my hands.

    However I will marshal my forces if I do have to go the the sheriffs court – posh waffly lawyer was implying quite strongly that the other party on the lease still lives locally, so I will pursue her I think, if it comes to it.

    “how the hell ?” – privately owned flat, the lawyer agent just did the original let and took the deposit 4 and a half years ago, the rest has been direct via the landlord. I just let the lease expire, and he didn’t serve me with any notices he should have, so AFAIK we default to the terms of the Scottish Tenancy Act, and I am an assured tenant. He is lucky I am a reeasonable and responsible person !

    hels
    Member

    Anybody know if/how I can check if he is registered as a Landlord with t’cooncil ?

    crankboy
    Member

    You are in a very strong position if you get a judgement against him as you can register it as a debt against the property .

    Premier Icon kcal
    Subscriber

    Edinburgh lawyers eh? possible case of CBA as well (having said that, my mums solicitor up here is a lovely man, can’t be faulted, except getting things actually done !!

    When we sold our house in Edinburgh, we repeatedly told our solicitors that A-M would be departing before the actual date of sale (complicated), “not a problem, let us know nearer the time” until the day before she actually left, still they didn’t have the signature needed, then it was all hands on deck, in the office at 5.45pm, panic stations, they seem to run to a “just in time” mode of operation..

    hels
    Member

    All true – with some notable exceptions (Hi graeme !) they are all poshos with surnames for first names.

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