I Haven’t Protected My Tenant’s Deposit, What Should I Do?

For a general view and background on tenancy deposits, please refer to the tenancy deposit guide. For those of you that are familiar with the legislation but have failed to protect your tenant(s) deposit, you’re in the right place.

Brief reminder of what is required to comply with the Tenancy Deposit Legislation

To be in compliance with the Section 213 Housing Act 2004, any money taken from a tenant as a security deposit must be protected in a Government approved scheme. Just to clarify, it is NOT a legal requirement to take a security deposit, so this legislation only applies to landlords that do take a deposit (which quite frankly is most).

When a deposit is protected the tenant, and anyone who provided funds towards the deposit, must be given the Deposit Protection Certificate and Prescribed Information for Tenants provided by the Deposit Protection Scheme which you have used. You have just 30 days from the date that the deposit was given to you in which to do this otherwise you have broken the law. NB. Make sure you have evidence that you have done it.

It’s also worth noting that ALL deposits ever taken must now be protected– even those taken before 2007 when the original deposit legislation was introduced (that was previously NOT the case). Landlords had until the 23rd June 2015 to protect deposits!

Once the deposit is protected and information given as above, you have complied with the law until the tenancy ends – even if you allow it to roll on (known as Statutory Periodic Tenancy) after the fixed term has ended.

I didn’t protect my tenant’s deposit!

If you are one of the many landlords or Letting Agents (yep, they screw up too, but that’s probably no surprise) who have not protected your tenants deposit you’ve got a problem. Well you know that otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. Hello, welcome.

There have been so many changes to Deposit Protection Legislation, since it was foist upon us in the Housing Act 2004, it’s not surprising that so many landlords get it wrong– but unfortunately ignorance is no defence in law.

I am going to do this backwards because it is when a problem shows its ugly face that most landlords realise that they have screwed up, so let’s look at some of the most common scenarios (sadly, none of which will save you), and from my experience, when most landlords frantically start becoming concerned about their non-compliance…

1) My tenants are threatening me
Your tenant(s) has discovered they can prosecute you and potentially make a quick buck by seeking compensation for your failure to comply with the law. Either you pay compensation or face legal action.

This is unbelievably common, which is pretty sad.

2) I need to get rid of my tenant but I can’t serve a Section 21
The penny usually drops when you reach for a Section 21 Notice and read the notes which tell you what you have to do to serve a valid Notice on your tenant.

If the Deposit Protection Legislation has not been followed, you’re screwed – meaning your only option is the hassle of a Section 8 Notice where you must prove grounds for eviction (which you may not even have).

3) The Judge threw out my Section 21 because I had not protected the tenants deposit
Most savvy tenants will take advice when they are served with a Section 21 and one of the first questions they will be asked is “Did your landlord protect your deposit?” Followed by “Did he send you the legally required information about your deposit protection within 30 days?”

If they cannot answer YES to both questions they will be told to contest the Section 21 in court. That’s when the Judge will most likely look at the details and throw the case out of court, so here you are.

4) A bloke in the pub told me that I should have protected my tenants deposit – what is he talking about? I didn’t have a clue!
This is a typical case where the landlord has just one property, from when he moved in with his girlfriend, and hasn’t a clue about the landlord legal requirements. You have also heard through your sources that the tenant can gain compensation… and now you’re scared, wondering if it’s all true.

Yes, it’s true.

5) I forgot!
You forgot to protect the deposit and/or serve the prescribed information (not sure how many people will believe this one!).

Any of the above sound depressingly familiar? If your case is not one of the above (or similar), please leave a comment with the details…

I didn’t comply with the tenant deposit legislation– what can I do?

Now, let’s get to the crux of the matter.

As it stands, these are your options:

  • Protect it now and serve the prescribed information hoping that if an issue arises and it goes to court the Judge will take the view “better late than never”
  • Pay the deposit back to the tenant and hope that he doesn’t find out that he can get compensation
  • If you’re trying to get rid of a rogue tenant, use a Section 8, with Grounds for eviction.
  • Do nothing, but sit tight and pray that your tenants don’t realise protecting the deposit and serving the Prescribed Information is a legal requirement and/or they don’t care enough to seek compensation because you’ve been an amazing landlord.
Can I get in serious trouble for not protecting my tenant’s deposit? What can happen?

Putting it bluntly, you have broken the law and yes, this will have consequences.

  • A tenant, who takes legal action, can expect to be awarded compensation because his legal rights have been denied. A Judge has the power to award between 100% and 300% of the deposit in compensation and may also instruct you to return the whole deposit. This can be an expensive loss, not just because of the compensation, but also if you actually need use the deposit to cover damages.
  • Because you have not complied with the law, your rights to use legal process to remove a rogue tenant have been reduced. You can no longer use Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act (which is typically the most efficient method of removing a rogue tenant).
How do I get rid of a tenant without serving a Section 21?

The latter consequence might leave you scratching your head, because now you might be wondering, “how do I get rid of a tenant if I haven’t protected the deposit and don’t have grounds for eviction (so essentially can’t serve a Section 8 notice)?”

This is the scary and heart-dropping reality…

The simple answer is you can’t. Serving a Section 21 is the only legal method of removing a tenant, known as “the no fault eviction process” because you do not need any grounds and often do not even need to go to Court if you have served a valid Notice. This is the main reason why you MUST COMPLY WITH THE TENANCY DEPOSIT LEGISLATION. Sorry for shouting, but it needs to be taken seriously.

However, in the event you are caught in this dilemma, you do have limited options…

  • In reality, many tenants won’t cause a fuss- if you tell them you need the property back, they’re usually compliant (assuming you give plenty of notice and have a relatively good relationship with them). You might just get away with it.
  • Assuming they do cause a fuss, offer to pay the tenant “compensation” to leave.
  • Talk to the tenant and try to come to an agreement. At this point, it might be worth your time to check out a list of ways you can legally end a tenancy agreement.
My letting agent did not protect the deposit…

Oh dear.

Your hired help has failed you. Common scenario.

So where do you stand in this case? Are you given the luxury of mercy? Unfortunately, you’re in the exact same position as if you have no association with a letting agent.

If you are using a Letting Agent and they do not protect your tenants deposit correctly– you’ll still ultimately be held responsible. Even if you have not touched a penny the law states that the deposit was taken on your behalf and therefore you are responsible. That’s why it’s essential to ensure that your Letting Agent is a member of a Property Redress Scheme (legally required since October 2014) so at least you will have redress if they screw up.

A Letting Agent cannot go to Court for Possession without the property owner, he can go with you as what is known as a “McKenzie Friend”. He can complete the Notices and other documents but you must sign them. Only a legally qualified person can represent you in Court.

Does anyone else have any additional tips to share? Do you have any experiences to share regarding this matter, weather you’re a landlord or a tenant? I’d love to hear your story!

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133 Comments- join the conversation...

Showing 83 - 133 comments (out of 133)
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Nicx 5th September, 2015 @ 06:34

Hi, Yes we have a problem. My family and I moved into a rented house in 2014. And paid a deposit of a thousand pounds. The house when we moved in was pretty much in the state the last proper owners had it, my landlord is on a mortgage which I only just found out. But do not know if this house is on a mortgage to rent basis. Two-three weeks ago the boiler went leaving us no heating or water, after waiting a few days, I had no choice to buy a £300 power shower just for the hot water, we have been decorations the place which we've had no thanx for what so ever, and believe me it's cost us a fortune. He keeps me in by saying the plumper will be here Wednesday (example) then no one shows. But I have been reading in here bout "protecting deposits"? I've had no such thing and don't even know what it is, I was told however that with the deposit protecting then that should of covered someone coming out to fix it pretty quickly rather than the landlord waiting on a mate to have free time to do it. I have a child with life threatening illnesses and really does need to keep warm, and it's getting colder. I've told him that I can actually do something about this and he just threw back in my face "well I can claim for late rent, Which yes I'm only late with one month which I've been adding in to other months. I'm just so damn fed up of these money grabbing little leaches that think they can run a letting business. My last landlord I had to call environmental health out who did end up summoning him due to damn which was major bad (he covered up with paint on viewing) ... Can someone help in building me on what I can do. Someone is suppose to be here at 9 today but I've heard that for a week now. Nicx Help much appreciated thanx .

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SheLandlord 12th September, 2015 @ 14:56

I haven't time to reply to each individual question but I can give you some general information which I hope will help. Most of this is in the article anyway but here goes.

1. If you have paid a deposit to a landlord at any time and he did not give you The Deposit Protection Certificate (sometimes this comes directly from the scheme which he has used) and the Prescribed Information for Tenants (which gives you all the info you need on deposit protection and how to fight a bogus claim from your landlord or letting agent).
2. The law now requires that deposits which were taken before the legislation came into being must be protected and the above info sent to the tenant
3. If your deposit was not protected there are several No Win No Fee companies who will go after compensation for you and charge you a percentage to cover their costs. There is no risk because you only pay if they win.
4. You have up to 6 years from the end of the tenancy to take a case for compensation
5. If your deposit was protected and you were given the info., and you do not agree with any monies stopped you should raise a dispute with the scheme. This will not cost you anything and the onus of proof (that the money stopped was justified) is on the landlord, you don't have to prove that you are not liable for the payment
6.If your full deposit was returned and the landlord did not protect it taking legal action to piss the landlord off is probably a waste of time and energy and you may get little of no compensation but it's your choice.
7. Often letting the landlord or agent know that you understand your legal rights and are prepared to take action will stop them taking your money and will get you your deposit back
8. The deposit is taken to cover the landlord for loss of rent, loss of items or damages and if the landlord can prove these losses he will no doubt win in arbitration with the deposit protection scheme. If he cannot prove it, even if it's true, he will not and he will learn to get his documents in order in future.
9. If you are suffering from disrepair, report it in writing/email, allow a reasonable amount of time for a reply (this depends on the nature of the issue). If the landlord does not address the problem report him to the council Environmental Health Department who will contact the landlord and fight on your behalf. Do not withhold rent because this makes you vulnerable to eviction, unless your problem is so urgent and your landlord does not deal with it and you are forced to get it done yourself. Get 3 quotes where possible and choose the cheapest - you can then show that you were trying to keep the costs down and be fair to the landlord even though he has let you down. You can then take the costs from the rent and provide the landlord withe a copy of the invoice to show that you have spent the money on urgent repairs. He will not be able to recover that money from your deposit because you will have the correspondence and invoice to show to the arbiters

It's always better to try to resolve issues by speaking to the landlord but if the landlord does not reply to you the law will protect you.

Good luck to you all

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Sean 20th September, 2015 @ 10:23

Hello Everyone,

My Landlord has not put our deposit into a deposit scheme.
Would it be possible for him to put the deposit in a scheme even though the lease has ended so we can go through the legal route?

Many thanks,

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SheLandlord 20th September, 2015 @ 11:38

Sean Did you mean to say if he puts it into a scheme now will that stop you going through the legal route or do you mean that you want him to put it into a scheme so that you can use the free arbitration service of the scheme?

If it's the later it is now too late because the tenancy has ended. You can still go to a No Win No Fee company and ask them to take legal action for compensation because he did not protect the deposit but don't waster any time if you intend to do that.

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Ninkynonk 20th September, 2015 @ 14:38

I'm in the process of successfully suing a landlord from 2014 that kept part of my deposit because I broke the lease - but EMAILED ME to tell me that the deposit hadn't been protected. He blamed the letting agency, but I have it in writing from him saying it was never paid into the scheme and that he'd return £400 of my £900 deposit because of the broken lease, plus some other fees the threw in too that seemed unfair.. for example, he told me to move out by the 23rd of July so that he had one week to prep the place for a new tenant to move in on the 30th. I killed myself to move out on the 23rd and then he BILLED ME for the week between 23rd and 30th. Nothing I could do since i couldn't make him give me back the money.. until I found this site and read that you have SIX YEARS to follow up on a landlord who didn't protect the deposit. Suing via a solicitor offering no-win-no-fee, and they keep 33% of the proceeds gained back - after they refund your deposit in full. It's 33% after they've done that. It's money I never thought I'd see again so I'm happy for them to keep their portion.

Just thought I'd share this so that any tenant wondering if they can still do something about a landlord that didn't protect the deposit - it it was less than 6 years ago and you can prove it, then you can. I'm doing it succesfully.

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ben thomas 28th September, 2015 @ 14:56


Lived at a property for 26 months, handed in our notice.

Our landlady did'nt even bother to do a check out with us
Two days later she was unhappy with some items which we agreed to sort

A few days later we discovered she didn't put our money into the tenancy scheme she had stated in our contract, we threatened her with court unless she paid us our full deposit back

She paid us the day after some of our deposit back, but charging us labour fee's etc for damages to us was a bit extreme especially the amount charged.

So we decided we will continue to take her to court, well the following week we had a letter from her solicitors stating if we take her to court they will sue us for £4000 worth of damage and now had another letter which is a joke saying we have now made £12000 plus worth of damages.

How can she go from a few hundred pounds worth of damamge to thousands??

Do i proceed with court?

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SheLandlord 28th September, 2015 @ 17:16

@Ben get No Win No Fee solicitor on it, she it trying to bully you to stop you going for compensation for not protecting your deposit. She would need an excellent Inventory signed by you at check in and check out to win her case and with no check out she's got no chance

@ninkynonk Good for you he is a cheeky sod charging rent for time when he had forced you to move out that £500 will probably cost him over £2K with compensation and I'll bet you would have ignored the lack of deposit protection if he had just returned your deposit

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Lungles 30th September, 2015 @ 04:47

I have just been served the section 21 by my landlord.I just want to find out where i stand legally.

My tenancy started in Feb 2011 and the letting Agent was involved.They indicated on the agreement where deposit was protected. No certificate given.In 2012 the Letting Agent disappeared and couldn't be traced.I realised that my deposit wasn't protected at that time.
My landlord became involved and offered that the deposit would be used as my last rent when i move out.There was a period that i was struggling and the deposit covered the rent on that particular month.

What does this mean in relation with the legality of protected deposit.Can he evict me using section 21.
My landlord as well has not been doing the yearly gas checks since i moved into the property in 2011.Only this year i insisted as i was scared for my life and my children's when hearing about death by gases while people were sleeping at night.No smoke detectors as well were installed by the landlord.Where do i stand in challenging my landlord?

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Connie 5th October, 2015 @ 12:01

Hi, we are first-time private landlords renting our house to a young couple whom we know slightly from work. It’s a Scottish law short assured tenancy of six months with three months’ notice (changed from two months upon tenants’ request), and started on 1 June 2015. Tenants now want to move out early (31 October), and we have realised that we registered with my|deposits Scotland on 22 July (late!) and then “forgot” to pay their deposit in (stupid, I know). We did pay the deposit into the scheme on Saturday last (3 October) and await paperwork. But of course it will show that we were late in protecting their deposit. We are now in dispute with our tenants as to their early termination. They have yet to serve us with valid notice. We have offered 30 November as a compromise (rather than the full three months) but so far they insist on 31 October. How severely have we compromised our position once they find out we have been late in registering and protecting their deposit? Should we cave in and agree to the 31 October so as to avoid them suing and us incurring penalty and fees? We are not so concerned about needing to retain deposit in case of damage etc, but more as a cost benefit exercise. Any advice greatly appreciated !

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jess 5th October, 2015 @ 19:46

Looking for some advice. I had a tenant and paid their bond into the DPS, they were given the prescribed information etc. They left the property at the end of their tenancy and their sister moved in. The previous tenant asked if the bond could be transferred into her sister's name, which I agreed to.
I was advised by the DPS that the easiest way to do this would be to apply to have all of the bond repaid to me, the landlord, then resubmit it in the new tenant's name.
I did this but the previous tenant never responded to the DPS nor to me.
The problem now is that the current tenant is causing me problems with rent arrears. I am about to serve her a Section 8 and Section 21. I was wondering if this issue with the bond is likely to cause me a problem with the Section 21? Any advice is appreciated.

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David 6th October, 2015 @ 16:54

@Lungles where you stand is that your Landlord has not protected your deposit or issued the prescribed information in accordance with the Housing Act.

It does not matter whether he agrees that with you, he is still liable under the law to carry out these procedures.

If you want to be nasty you can put in a claim when you leave for 3x the deposit plus deposit back, so 4x the deposit.

I would not use it to threaten him, either do it or don't do it, usually a letter to him at the end of the tenancy offering to settle for 2x the deposit to avoid court action and legal costs will usually get him to pay up.

The fact that he used an agent does not remove his liability.

Right now I would be more worried about your Gas Certificate and so should he, he can be fined a fortune.

I would contact your local Council and report him.

He can no longer evict you for asking for such things (revenge eviction).

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David 6th October, 2015 @ 17:15


You are in trouble, do you have anything in writing agreeing for the transfer of the Deposit?

Legally the tenancy with the new person is a different tenancy and has all of the requirements of the Housing Act and the PI Act 2007

You can ask the DPS to release the money if you have a written letter agreeing this from the original tenant but I would leave it there as it might mitigate your loss if you explain to the Judge.

The new one can still go after you for the failure to deliver PI

Depending on the level of the arrears I would make an offer to the tenant to leave within 2 weeks with no further action. Even if they do not accept it, it shows the Court you have tried to not waste their time.

The usual fine 3x the deposit plus the return of the deposit but the agreement with the old tenant is a separate contract.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 6th October, 2015 @ 18:25


David covered most of it...

- If you're deposit isn't protected, you're entitled to compensation, up to 3 x rent.

- Your landlord should have installed smoke & CO alarms by the 1st of October 2015 (if you're in England).

- Your landlord should do a annual gas safety check- that's extremely important.

- He can't evict you with a Section 21 given the circumstances (i.e. he hasn't protected your deposit or given you the prescribed information).

Challenging to remain a tenant in these situation always seems counter-intuitive to me, because you end up having an awful relationship with the landlord. And in this case, the landlord is awful!

I'd personally inform him that the section 21 is NOT valid, and then strike up a deal (e.g. you'll surrender the tenancy when you have found a place, whenever that may be) and ask him for 2 x rent (as David suggested, to avoid legal hassle) for compensation (just to teach him a lesson for being so careless).

In any case, you have leverage.

Goodluck with what you decide to do!

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Stix 7th October, 2015 @ 14:17

Hi there, really hope you can help us.
My husband and I have a an annexe flat on side of our property and rented it out in November 2014, a couple offered us £850 rent and they gave us £850 deposit. We held it a separate account we used for rent only, we didn't know anything about the DPS. We just were not clued up enough.

The 6months tenancy finished in May and the couple wanted a new year long contract. We agreed and did another tenancy agreement with them, once this was signed everything changed, they dumped building things in and around the property, they were noisy, dirty. We sent them an email asking them to abide by the tenancy agreement and if they could not, we were happy for them to give us notice. They gave us notice a months notice in August and we found another tenant to move in earlier which worked for everyone. There were a few things that needed doing, carpets cleaning, plastering bits, repainting because of the mess they made. They said they would do it but in the end they didn't. So we go the work done, agreed every thing with them before taking from their deposit. All receipts were give to them. We paid them back £450. We signed inventories, gave them receipts for everything and tried to do the checking out correctly.

Our new tenant asked if his deposit would be held in an escrow account and that led us to realise we needed to use a DPS scheme which we promptly did and did that correctly.

Today we have received a notice from a solicitor (i think its a no win no fee company). The first tenants are taking us to court for not holiding the deposit in a DPS. They are demanding £5,100. They say they are owed 3 x £850 for the first tenancy (6 months) and a further 3 x £850 for the year long tenancy agreement. Although we did not take any additional deposit.

They have phoned at early hours of the morning, laughing and jeering, sent us texts. And they have come back in a builders van and dumped building rubbish opposite our house.

What can we do? Can you help?

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SheLandlord 9th October, 2015 @ 11:32

Stix, they can claim compensation of up to 300% of the deposit and the return of the full deposit but they can only claim that when the deposit is paid, they will not get compensation for the same payment not being protected twice. You could try offering them the deposit x 2 and see what happens. Why not block their number on your phone? If you have evidence of the vehicle which dumped the rubbish you can report them to your council for fly tipping - with the evidence and number plate you probably won't get anywhere.

Good luck, at least you now know what you must do with future deposits


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David 14th October, 2015 @ 16:58


OK you can forget the £5100, what they are doing here is quoting the likely lagal fee if you dispute it.

Do you have a contact address for the old tenant?

Ideally you do not want to deal with this company as it incurs fees, so even if you only have an email address it is better to contact the tenant directly.

Now usually a Judge will not like frivolous or vexatious complainants wasting the Courts time, so if you can show that you TRIED to resolve the matter in a fair and reasonable way they may respond by not paying the Tenant their legal costs and also going easy on you.

Now the law says they can charge UP TO 3x the deposit plus the deposit back. You already returned the deposit or at least part of it.

A judge will charge you the full 3x the deposit if the tenant can show that you were a nasty old scroat, but if you were just ignorant of protecting the deposit and ignorant of serving the PI (the prescribed info that tells the tenant where the deposit is held which has to be done in specific way defined in the housing act) then they will charge you 2x or 1x the deposit IF YOU ARE LUCKY.

Now if you approach the tenant and you say that you are sorry for this oversight and that you see no reason to involve lawyers, 3rd parties or the Court as you would like to resolve this matter amicably. Then that in itself will work against him if he insists on going to Court.

What you do then is to offer him £1300 and as a gesture of goodwill provide him with a written reference. Say that you wish to avoid having to instruct a lawyer yourself and the threats from the 3rd part company has put considerable stress on your wife so you wish to resolve this matter as soon as possible which is why you are asking for a reply within 7 days. Use the BCC part of email to send a copy to yourself so you have a receipt.

If you have his address you could send a manual copy recorded delivery. Include a page from him agreeing to accepting the payment of £1300 as full and final settlement of any legal issues regarding the tenancy and housing act.

If you have to deal with the company no problem, you make the same offer and terms.

If he pushes back it will be for £1700 which is 2x the deposit, I would advice you accept it but if you want to decline and say that you feel the £1300 is fair and reasonable then that is up to you.

Now for those other landlords here let me tell you how you could have avoided this because this is NOT about you not protecting the deposit. This is about you hitting him for a big whack of the deposit for things like painting.

Painting is something that landlords have to do between tenancies as is cleaning. If you are lucky then a cleaning will suffice but painting is in your interest, it makes tenants take greater care, so cost it into your business.

Being a landlord does not give you the right to Lord it over people and unless they did structural damage then cut your losses and give 100% of the deposit back.

If you HAD protected the deposit with one of the three deposit holding companies then you would automatically have access to a dispute system over things you want to claim against the deposit.

Lesson learnt!

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John 15th October, 2015 @ 03:42

Hi there
We have a problem where we didn't put the deposit in to the holding scheme on time. We paid the money in to the scheme in August and have asked for the tenant to leave in December he has a month rolling contract The tenant points out that the Section 21 is invalid and gives no indication of if/when he intends to vacate.
We have now offered him three months rent and the deposit back. What would our next action be if this not accepted by the tenant and they decide that they wish to stay there?

Guest Avatar
David 16th October, 2015 @ 10:13


You do not say WHY you want him to go, for example if he is in arrears or anti social then you have Section 8 options.

You also do not say how long he has been in, key dates are pre or post 2007 and pre or post 2012

So assuming is post 2007 then is quite simple.

So if he is saying that your S21 is not valid just check over your paperwork. When was S21 issued, because he might be misinformed, previously it had to match a rent due date, this is no longer the case after recent changes in the law. It just has to have two clear months notice.

Other recent changes in the law are against revenge evictions, if he asked you to carry out repairs and involved the Council then you need to make those repairs before you can issue an S21 and you may not be able to issue another S21 for 6 months. However, I think I am safe to assume this does not apply because legislation only came in on October 1st 2015 and is for renewed tenancies including statutory periodic after this date.

The most likely reason that it is invalid is that you did not issue the prescribed information (PI), this is not nuclear physics but must be done properly, each of the 3 authorised deposit companies have their own version of a PI form you can use. Did you get him to sign for receipt of it? Were details of tenancy, deposit and dep reference accurate on PI? If he is denying receipt then you need to provide it again with a new S21 and do it like a boss. That means you send him one PDF of it via email with a BCC to yourself, you post one through the door, you stick one to the outside of the door and you video this being done, Then for good measure you post 1 to him with a proof of posting and another by recorded delivery. Do these from a different area to where you live and do not put a return address on the one with proof of posting.

Now there is no need to offer him 3x deposit as that is your worst case scenario and he has shown that his objective is to drag out the tenancy as long as possible. That is fine, it is a game and he is a player and so are you.

So right now the first thing you need to do is to reply to him and ask him to clarify WHY he thinks your S21 is invalid. Include the following paragraph

"I would like to resolve this matter amicably and without Court Action which may expensive for both of us. So can you please tell me why you think the S21 notice is invalid?

I need to make you aware that under the Civil Procedure Rules issued by the Ministy of Justice (Practice Direction) it may affect your costs if you do not provide the reason why you dispute the validity of the Section 21 notice you have been given, see below for more information


This is basically telling him that if he causes a case to be more expensive than it needs to be or even makes it have to go to Court when it did not need to because you have shown willing to settle the matter outside court, then if he forces it to go to Court he might win but not only lose his costs but have to pay your legal fees.

Now, assuming you screwed up on issuing the PI you need to create a sense of urgency.

So you issue a new S21 notice with 2 months notice to expire say on December 20th, you include the correct PI.

Meanwhile you tell the tenant that you wish to resolve this amicably and are prepared to offer them 1.5x the monthly deposit if they leave within 30 days and the property is returned in reasonable condition, also add that you are prepared to provide them with a positive reference if they leave within 30 days.

Considering that a tenant like this may not leave the property in the best condition no matter what you do, you may be wise to simply refund him his deposit. Do this via the scheme you used. If he accepts the deposit back, then under the new Section 215 law he has snookered himself and can't sue you.

"Section 215

(2A)Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply in a case where—

(a)the deposit has been returned to the tenant in full or with such deductions as are agreed between the landlord and tenant"

Now you might not wish to return the deposit because you think it is giving you some sort of security, it is not. If he has trashed the place beyond it needing the usual wear and tear of redecoration and cleaning then chances are it would have cost you most than the deposit anyway. Also it does not change your legal rights to sue him for damages later.

So for now my advice would be return the deposit via the scheme, if he does not accept it (the portal will tell you) then pay the money into his account or ask your bank to return his next rent payment then tell him you have cancelled the rent payment to refund his deposit. Of course he could pay it again but you have to hope he is not wise.

Signs are that he is not that wise because if he was then he would not have told you the S21 was not valid until the very last moment in December, thus dragging out the time it takes you to issue a new S21 (assuming you did indeed get it wrong).

So then you get your S21 sorted, if you take my advice then amend the text I suggested above to the version below:

"I would like to resolve this matter amicably and without Court Action which may expensive for both of us. So can you please tell me why you think the S21 notice is invalid?

As a gesture of goodwill I have returned your deposit which I hope you will see shows good faith on my part, you should have received a notification from the DPS of this, please let me know if you have not received this.

I need to make you aware that under the Civil Procedure Rules issued by the Ministy of Justice (Practice Direction), it may affect your costs if you do not provide the reason why you dispute the validity of the Section 21 notice you have been given, see below for more information


You could save the "i need to make you aware" paragraph for a second email and just see if he accepts the deposit. If he does then you still need to verify why he thinks it is invalid, but it may not be, especially if he accept the desposit.

For more info on grounds for eviction and S21 see


The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th October, 2015 @ 10:42


However, I think I am safe to assume this does not apply because legislation only came in on October 1st 2015 and is for renewed tenancies including statutory periodic after this date.

I don't think it applies to tenancies that roll onto statutory periodic tenancies, only tenancy renewals.

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John 16th October, 2015 @ 13:56

The only reason that he is not leaving is that thinks he doesn't have to. He says the section 21 is invalid as the deposit money was not paid in to a holding scheme within 30 days of the tenancy first starting.
The reason we need to end the tenancy is that we need to sell,its a shame as he has been a good tenant and looked after the property and payed on time.
He moved in at the start of Feb 14.
We placed deposit in scheme on 7 Aug 15.
We issued s21 on the 17 Aug 15 with a end date of the Dec 15.
just to clarify we will need to refund deposit then reissue the s21.
Thanks again

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David 18th October, 2015 @ 18:46


Yes give him back the deposit, once he accepts it then he is done.

Judges tend to look at intent, if they think you never protected it and there is other evidence that you are a "nasty" landlord then they throw the book at you.

However, if as soon as you became aware you protected it, then they do not fine the max.

So do as I said above.

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David 18th October, 2015 @ 19:11

@The Landlord

You could be right and the law does say all new AST's after 2015 but remember for years the statutory periodic has been deemed a new AST in legal cases.

I think this may be tested inc the Courts before long.

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David 18th October, 2015 @ 19:17


Remember do not get adversarial just return the deposit.

If your tenant paid by cheque you can return the deposit by cheque but you need proof he got it. If he admits in in any communication then he is stuffed since

"Lingfield Point No. 2 v Hodgson High Court (Queen’s Bench Division) Sheffield District Registry 30 July 2015"

but paying direct to his account is better or using the DPS scheme to return it the ideal.

In fact I suspect that it will be a matter of time before a Landlord takes legal action when the DPS have offered 100% of the deposit and the tenant has refused it, they will cite the above ruling.

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sean3513 27th October, 2015 @ 22:38

Hello folks

we are currently in dispute with our former landlord over our deposit....long story ( but they are claiming things have gone misding , which they haven't and that they have had to replace carpets , even though they where well worn and in excess of 15 years old) and their agent who inspected the property on temination is refusing to comment to eithet party ( helpful)

but , they (and their agents) failed to secure our deposit In a recognised sceme.

they did eventually , but it was 12 months after we paid the depisit , it is now in dispute with DPS , can we still pursue fir compensation , we have a lettet before action letter ready to send

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She Landlord 27th October, 2015 @ 23:00

You can still go for compensation but you may not get much because the deposit was protected before the end of the tenancy. Send the letter they may offer a settlement. The onus of proof is on the landlord and if the carpet was that old he is not likely to get anything. DPS will take account of the use that he has had from the carpet and would only allow any loss against the manufacturers expected life span He will also need to show that you signed the inventory at the start of the tenancy showing that the missing items were there and that you were at the check out inspection when they were found to be missing


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She Landlord 27th October, 2015 @ 23:06

David the legislation is specific the new rules on Section 21 apply only to new tenants. Not renewals nor SPTs


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Oli 31st October, 2015 @ 01:21

I have quite unusual case.
I was renting the property from housing association as a single mum .Due to the fact that I lost my father and I wasn't coping well my partner has offered me to stay with him to support me in a bad timings.
I have temporary sublet my home , asking a 'friend ' to take care of my belongings, (I left there all my furnitures, brand new cooker etc ) I've asked him only to
pay the basic rent and cover the bills which were on my name .
I gave him a tenancy agreement which described rent value , deposit amount and fact that he suppose to cover any further bills and rent ( no income for me)
This was a terrible mistake as I received possession notice and we both were forced to move out within a month . This was an agreement between friends, I didn't have clue about obligation to protect the deposit .
He stopped paying the rent and the bills and I thought I'll be fine as I had deposit money to cover this .
The guy has threaten me that he won't leave the property until I'll give him a full deposit back , for me this would mean that the housing association would take me to the court as it was my responsibility to make sure no one lives there at the particular date ( he was absolutely aware of that )
As a result I have lost my home , paid him full deposit back , covered all the bills and rent . The day before I suppose to hand the keys back, he asked me for another £500 in order to have enough money to find a new place , even though for a month and a half he wasn't paying a penny and had a full deposit back . I was literally in tears .( he had a month to find a new place , having family down the road )
He has left the place but now threatening me that he'll take me to the court for not protecting the deposit.
I have took full consequences for subletting as I lost my home and I hate my self for making such a terrible mistake .
He took full advantage of me then and now threatens me again.
During the last month of the tenancy I've used protection service,however he refused to sign it in.
Please advise me how bad is my situation?

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She Landlord 31st October, 2015 @ 11:50

Oil there is a point at which threatening to use the law becomes blackmail and this person has crossed that line. Tell him to go ahead and you will tell the judge how he has blackmailed you. He won't do it but even if he did do you really think that a judge will allow the courts to be used in that way? You did the wrong thing and you have paid a big price but he need to move on and not allow this person to hold this over you. I know it's difficult but bullies usually back off when they hit a brick wall Good luck


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David 2nd November, 2015 @ 02:34


Do not accept the return of the deposit, it will damage your legal claim.

If they did not protect it chances are they did not issue you with the PI in the proper form and as such any Section 21 notice would be invalid.

Landlords like yours are the worst, they have wear and tear over 15 years and want you to pay for it.

Issue that letter before action, request the full amount and the return of the deposit, the law is quite clear that the deposit had to be protected within 30 days and PI issued. The tardy protection is only slight mitigation and to be honest if you can show how irresponsible this landlord is it will support your case.

Do not accept any cheques (even in Court) and I would not even settle, Your letter should say that you wish to avoid Court action and your legal fees which you have been advised will be in excess of £3k if he disputes the matter and there is a protracted case.

I see no reason to settle with a twat like this, it is fair wear and tear, that is all. Do not accept the return of the deposit by the DPS, ignore it if they send it to you.

If he threatens you just post back and I will put you in touch with a Rottveiller lawyer that will have his own lawyer recommend he pays.

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David 2nd November, 2015 @ 02:50


It is fraud to sublet social housing properties so you could be in a lot of trouble, some HA's are offering subletting amnesties if you inform them yourself.

Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013

The moment you moved in with your partner you should have informed the HA, either told them you were having a breakdown after the death of your father and ask for a subsidy or break, even give up the property.

The thing is you were smart enough to create a tenancy agreement which suggests you knew what you were doing at the time.

As the She says call his bluff on the deposit protection, it will not even get to Court, if he was dumb enough to issue the proceedings you write to the Court asking to have this vexatious case dismissed as the deposit has been returned in full, 2015 deregulation act.

You need to call Shelter and use their free legal advice line, then have them refer you for legal aid.

You need to inform the Police, this is demanding monies with menaces, blackmail and a lot more besides.

If this guy was a friend I would hate to see your enemies.

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Oli 2nd November, 2015 @ 10:42


I'm aware that subletting the property was a terrible mistake , I simply couldn't afford paying both rents, and I was convinced this would be temporary .

I have explain him the situation and asked for confidence. Leaving with his mother
he was happy to have a chance to move out ( with his girlfriend) for such a low rent and basic bills. We live in high rent level city.

All the bills were on my name therefore not to cover it in some sorts of basic agreement wouldn't be right.
I found this fair for both sides, especially when I was about to hold his deposit money .

The HA start investigating what is going on when he applied for Housing Benefit.
Showing everywhere our agreement.

I know this doesn't look great from law,HA perspectives, I have give up the place, it was heart breaking as I have renovate it and made it look like home.

I have to mention that when I've tried to protect the deposit using TDS service at the beginning of his tenancy, I wasn't able to do so , this is possible only if you are homeowner. At this point I 've left it until he started threatening me, then friend of mine told me about DPS protection which he refused to sign in.

HA gave us both a month to move out, also his tenancy agreement was about to finish two days later.

Now we are both out, my partner helped me to convince him to leave the place, I have rent the van and helped to move his belongings.

Until very last day, he was telling me that no one can force him to move out,
If I won't pay him deposit money ,requesting more money week later.

At this point I have paid him all back even though he wasn't covering bills and rent for month and a half.

Looking at your last comment , I think my enemies act more decent and have more dignity than this 'friend'

I understand that he has lost place to leave ( two days earlier than agreement was signed for) but taking full advantage of me wasn't
right , I have lost my home as well.

I would love to go to the police, although gathering the evidence is very difficult , all I have got is my partner witnessing our conversations, quite few text messages ( in foreign language )

Would that help me to get back what he owns me?

I will definitely get in touch with Shelter.

Thank You

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Puddles 2nd November, 2015 @ 15:46

Hello @David

I rented out my house in Nov 13 and took a £400 deposit from tenant. Tenancy was 6 month fixed term then monthly rolling contract. Original tenants are still in property and are happily staying on. They have no complaints of me as a landlord. I maintain house / repairs etc as needed.
I foolishly haven't registered the deposit and have tried to do this now but because original tenancy agreement has ended (after the first 6 months) the TDS online registration form won't let me register the deposit. I could put a future date in the "tenancy agreement end date" section but that wouldn't reflect what is on the Tenancy agreement and therefore would be lying. Aware I am late and that this could still cause me problems in future even if I register the deposit now but I want everything to be above board if possible. Any advice in how to register the deposit at this very late date? Thanks

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She Landlord 2nd November, 2015 @ 18:17

You can hold the deposit in your own account and use the insured deposit protection option which means that you pay a small premium about £20 and the deposit is protected from that date. You can do it with the government approved scheme here www.mydeposits.co.uk. The premium is tax deductible so it's peanuts in the end.

You are doing the right thing in protecting this deposit before there are any issues because Judges do give landlords credit even if they do it late. Even the nicest tenants change when it comes to their deposits but let's hope that doesn't happen in your case


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Craig 4th November, 2015 @ 16:41

My tenant had no deposit, just the pound in her pocket which she gave me, I didn't protect the pound, I don't think I even had it off her, there's no bank trace or receipt for this, does this count ?

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She Landlord 4th November, 2015 @ 22:20

If your tenancy agreement states that a deposit was taken a Judge will assume that it was taken and should have been protected. The amount is irrelevant to the law.


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Jim 9th November, 2015 @ 22:25

Hi there

Very informative page, many thanks.

I find myself in a quite a frustrating situation where my landlord has kept £80 of my deposit, citing quite ridiculous reasons for not giving my full deposit back. Such as 'not hoovering inside the wardrobe.' As far as I was concerned, the room was left in an acceptable manner, with me hoovering and wiping down the work tops before I left.

The landlady did not produce an inventory when I moved in, and did not do a joint inspection with me when I had finished and was ready to leave. It has left an incredibly sour taste in my mouth, as I cleaned up after her cats for a full week in October while she and her partner were in Paris. This involved feeding them, cleaning up their poo and vomit from the carpets, as well as their litter trays while I dry heaved. Not only this, but I organised free legal advice for her from a relative, as she was experiencing great difficulty with an ex business partner. I'm flabbergasted by her attitude tbh and don't want to take it lying down.

Not once was any safety deposit scheme mentioned. I just received a very patronising email informing me what I would receiving back from my initial deposit.

Sorry if I have moaned a bit, but this has really bugged me giving the good faith that I showed her.

Look forward to your response

Best wishes


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Jim 9th November, 2015 @ 23:29

Can I also add that I only was in the property for 3 months, renting on a month to month basis.

Thanks again


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S and C 10th November, 2015 @ 16:24

For any landlords out there please be aware. I allowed a tenant to move from one of my properties to another and at the time he was a good friend. He came to my wedding and everything was lovely. However, 4 years down the line I decided I needed my property back to sell it. My so called friend has since tried blackmailing me for £10,000 before he will consider moving out. I tried to give the deposit back to him but his representative advised him not too because it is his intention to remain in the property for the rest of his life. Because I had not registered his deposit into a scheme on time I am now unable to issue a Section 21 notice. I have no grounds for a section 8 possession and I recently took my case to court. The judge told me that my tenant now has a right to live in my property indefinitely. I am now in a situation where I have a house worth £265,000 and I can not do anything with it unless I sell it with a sitting tenant and it will be worth a considerable amount less to me.

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Matthew 11th November, 2015 @ 14:57

I have just moved house and when I asked for my deposit back I was given a list showing the cost of damages, which is in excess of my deposit. I disagreed with this and was told if I do not surrender the full deposit, he will take me to the small claims court, I said why can the tenancy deposit scheme sort this dispute out. I was told that the landlord is not willing to do this, I either agree to surrender my deposit or he will take me to court for the full amount of damages which is about £1500. I feel like they are to trying to threaten and intimidate me. can anyone offer me some advice on this?

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 11th November, 2015 @ 19:31

Has your deposit actually been secured? And were you served the prescribed information?

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Tyler jones 12th November, 2015 @ 15:41

we renewed our tenancy after April 2007. Because our initial agreement was in 2006 our landlord says she didn't have to register. She's wrong, right?

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Zara 20th November, 2015 @ 18:29


Any advice please - I have given my tenant 2 months notice to vacate my property as I need to move back in myself due to a family breakup. However the agent I used to set up the initial tenancy has not registered the deposit and informed me it was simply an error on their behalf and the deposit is bus registered a year later. The tenant is refusing to move out after finding out this information And refusing to speak with me. I'm really worried I won't get my house back I have no idea what to do?

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David 20th November, 2015 @ 22:48


I would suggest you write off what your "friend" owes you, just tell people you both know and damage his reputation in your community before he finds another "friend"

Oli Social Housing is not cheap housing, it is housing for people who have fallen on hard times, it used to be for the poorer people but they do not get a chance even if they spend 10 years on the list.

So I have to say to you that it was really bad that you sublet this property when you were not in NEED. By doing so you deprived someone with greater need than yourself a home.

I am sure the Daily Mail or the Sun would love to hear your story and might pay you something for it, they would of course berate you as the poster villain immigrant who has come to this country and taken a home then abused the system.

This is not your fault, it is so hard to get a home and I can imagine you were desperate not to lose it, so you should NOT have moved out. The real problem here is a lack of supply which makes the private rental market inaccessibe to people unless they live in the armpit or anus towns of the UK.

I hope others learn from your mistake.

Do let us know what happens with you legally.

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David 20th November, 2015 @ 22:58


It really depends on what kind of tenant you have, if you think they could turn nasty just return the deposit.

"She" is right about the TDS having the insurance option but they have been known to dump landlords and leave them open to legal trouble.

There are 2 other people you can use, the DPS may let you register a late deposit

A way to test the water with your tenant is to email them telling them you are changing the scheme their deposit is stored with so you need to verify their email and bank account as the new provider needs the info.

Then you protect the deposit with the DPS (having first check you can) and you use their PI form to inform the tenant of the Prescribed Information which you deliver in person and get them to sign two copies of.

Now this does not really protect you but it gives you a way to see what they are like. If they do not sign or mess about just return the deposit to them and possibly issue an S21, better to get any bad things over and done with, although the law may change again and the tenant may be worth keeping if they are good.

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David 20th November, 2015 @ 23:04


What counts is what is in the tenancy agreement, but the simple answer is to return the pound.

If it ever went legal you simply tell the Judge that the tenant promised to pay the remaining deposit amount but never did.

Of course before that you would write a scary letter warning the tenant that you would be vehemently defending the action which has no merit, it vexatious and a waste of the Courts time, also mention that you will be forced to employ a solicitor and Counsel which could mean they may end up paying in excess of £3k in costs.

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David 20th November, 2015 @ 23:11


I am guessing you lived in the property with the Landlady?

Otherwise the minimum term for ANY letting is 6 months, it is called an assured shorthold tenancy or AST.

If you lived in a self contained property then that is what she should have given you. Otherwise you were a lodger living with Landlord really and deposit protection does not apply.

If you have a bad taste then put it down to experience or poison her beloved cats. The former is recommended!

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David 20th November, 2015 @ 23:23


The law only prevents you from issuing an S21 until you correct your mistake, so protect the deposit, either via insurance or the DPS.

With the PI, you simply send it in a number of ways and show that you did,

1. Send in plain envelope from different area with certificate of posting

2.Send by recorded delivery with the return address of Prize fund UK or some other made up name that he will not refuse.

3. Deliver in person putting one through the letterbox and tape one to the door/

Video them all.

Now you issue the S21 again, he will fight it and you a hearing will be scheduled.

At this point the Judge will see that you corrected your mistake and they will say the S21 is valid.

I would write a letter to the tenant saying that you wish to avoid protracted legal action but if they insist on wasting the Courts time then you will be forced to get legal representation from a Solicitor and Counsel which may end up costing them $3k per hearing.

Then instruct the lawyer if they do not go, use a firm with solid housing Act experience.

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David 20th November, 2015 @ 23:33


This is a common trick of many scum bastards, I mean agents.

The Landlord is right to ask you if the deposit was protected AND whether you were issued with the prescribed information.

If not the landlord could be fined, if you did not get details from the Landlord of where the deposit was protected DO NOT TAKE IT EVEN IF OFFERED IT.

You see IF it was in a scheme it would automatically have the arbitration built in where both sides get to say their case.

Even if the deposit WAS protected, the Court would take a dim view of a case not being resolved via the scheme and would consider they were wasting the Courts time. You would of course write telling them that the case is without merit and vexatious in the extreme and as such would be defended vehemently by your legal advisors and you would be seeking costs.

I would also consider the Harassment Act.

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David 20th November, 2015 @ 23:38

@Tyler jones

She was right but IS WRONG as the law has changed.

Ask her to review the Deregulation Act 2015


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David 21st November, 2015 @ 00:13


Did the Agent tell you this in writing?

If NOT write them an email asking them to explain why they did not protect it, make it look innocent, something along of the lines of

"Further to our telephone conversation I am confused, can you please explain why you did not protect the deposit, was my tenancy exempt?"

Say nothing more, do not answer a call from them, you want an email where they confirm they did not protect it and that is all you need, an admission of guilt

If they DID admit it in writing then email and ask them whether they provided the tenant with the prescribed information and whether they have a signed copy of the PI by the tenant.

Again, less is more, you are seeking evidence at this stage.

Once they reply then you have them.

Now it does depend on whether the service you had with them included them taking care of all legal obligations, some might call this "a fully managed service" others might list the things they do for both a basic and a full service.

If you believe they should have done it then save a copy of their website page (use archive.org to make a copy of it or to see if they indexed a copy at the time of you taking out the service)

Then, if they were liable, you write to the agent telling them you are holding them responsible for all consequential costs as a result of their breach of contract. Ask for the name of their insurers.

You will be able to claim for renting your own place for 6 months minimum tenancy as well as any legal fees you incur as a result of their incompetence.

Now for the tenant, check your tenancy agreement for inspections and boiler/Gas Safety etc. Book a date giving approproate notice, if it is an inspection you go yourself, if it Gas Certificate, you book the engineer but go with them.

Whilst there in front of the engineer you give them their deposit back, record audio with your phone just for your protection.

Of course if you have the tenants bank account details or if the agent does simply return the deposit via the bank so it shows on your statement.

You did not say when you issued the S21 notice giving the 2 months, if the tenant was clever they would have waited until the 2 months expired and you will have to issue a new S21.

Now if the deposit is in a scheme and the PI was issued then the S21 is a valid as it can be, write her and tell her the S21 stands and you are prepared to continue with Court action but you would rather resolve things amicably.

Offer the tenant a payment of a months rent if they leave on the agreed date and that you will give them a glowing reference.

Make this a full and final offer and seek their written agreement within 7 days.

Otherwise you go to Court, use a lawyer, the agent is paying because you will be suing them for your costs.

Chances are if the deposit has been protected and you issued the PI you are fine and if you have repaid it then there is no case to answer and you may even get your costs from the tenant.

A Judge wants to see that the law was complied with, even if late. If you are seen to have been fair and reasonable then they will probably rule in your favour or charge you max of one or two months rent.

The tenant has to make that claim for the one or two months rent and if they do not there is a legal remedy for that.

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Andrew 23rd November, 2015 @ 12:38

Hi everyone, I'm looking for some help/advice. I am a landlord and my tenant has just moved out. Tenant is very nice and well meaning but has left flat in quite a state. I was going to charge from deposit the cost of me getting a cleaner in (was really dirty), the cost of an electrician mending a socket they broke, cost of broken blind, missing window keys, missing light dimmer switch, and possibly something towards painting wall (which they had got ink all over) and something towards the carpet I replaced (was badly damaged). The tenant realises that these costs will have to be taken from deposit.

However to complicate things I've just realised that I hadn't properly deposited their £800 deposit in the scheme like I thought I had. I had set it all up with tenants details but stupidly managed not to actually pay in the money, a year ago.

Should I, a. work out the cost of damages and return the rest of the deposit to the tenant and hope they don't realise my mistake, b. give it all back (although this is very annoying given the state it was in and the costs I have incurred) or c. something else? I would appreciate any help!


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