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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212 Comments- join the conversation...

Showing 162 - 212 comments (out of 212)
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Freddie 5th April, 2016 @ 20:12

Good Lord, what incredibly long posts! No way I'm getting through those.. time to unsubscribe from this thread. Thanks, it's been helpful! Bye

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David 6th April, 2016 @ 22:20

@Ali

You can be against all you like, the law is the law, he is entitled to 1x the rent minimum and 3x the rent maximum, plus the return of his deposit less any damage (decided by DPS) plus potentially his legal fees which may be £3k

You made a mistake, ignorance of the law is not an excuse accepted by any Court.

Do not consider it settling, consider it a way to resolve the matter with the least grief.

If he does not settle and does not clear arrears, then you S8 and S21 his arse, the Judge MUST award him the 1x rent, it is right there in the Housing Act, but he has discretion on costs and you MUST use a decent Housing Lawyer. They will charge you £250 per hour and they will be worth every penny because they know how to ask the Judge to make Tenant pay your and his own costs.

There is NOTHING in law that invalidates his claim to ASK for between 1x and 3x, the act says a minimum of 1x if not protected in an approved scheme within 30 days, did you protect it within 30 days, no, so accept it and look for best way out.

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David 6th April, 2016 @ 23:39

@Advice Greatly Rec'd

He can feel let down and go cry to his priest or therapist but the law is the law.

The Law is he is liable, some Judges work on a formula

Deposit not protected at hearing = Max 3x, S21 invalid, costs to tenant

PI not issued at hearing = 2x, S21 Invalid

Deposit protected late and PI issued late, 1x deposit S21 valid if issued after these were done (and new 2015 S21 requirements)

As I mentioned above they do not like arrears at the hearing or paid just before in which case they slam the tenant but still have to award S21 1x. If the tenant pays late every month they do not care if it is caught up within reasonable time.

The Judge WILL consider both sides but guess what, the law is the law, look at post to Ali above where I quote the passage, note the operative word is "MUST". If a Judge did not award it he would immediately give tenant right to appeal, costs would triple and the Judge's rep gets hammered.

So he admits he made the mistake, great, evidence you put with your case, albeit that failure to produce 30 day paperwork will suffice.

Judge does not give a hoot about late payment of one day; legally it does not get counted as unpaid for at least 14 days. This is something a lot of tenants do that pisses off landlords, but it comes with the territory.

They can't appeal unless a point of law has been broken, if the Judge awards 1x or 3x he has followed the law. If he awards nothing when a deposit has not been protected then you get right of appeal, you should ask for it right there right then, even if a Judge said no, he can be overruled with a simple form, but a circuit Judge will decline appeal for landlord and still take the Court fee for his trouble.

Courts are not playgrounds, you can't go back just because you do not like the decision, bad breath or cheap suit of the Judge. It has to be a point of law that was not followed correctly. In such cases the person bring the appeal, will have to pay fee and pay for digital transcribe of case and that is just to be considered for the appeal.

Really! What planet is he on, he has a handful of properties, the Judge will just laugh, tell him that as he is so incompetent a landlord best to sell property, you would ask Judge for permission to put a charge on property until debt is paid and register it at land registry.

Court action is pretty swift on these types of cases, 6 weeks, it is called an accelerated procedure.

Only you can determine what is acceptable but my approach is that each negotiation attempt costs you time and money, so I give less each time.

I would say that deposit must be paid into scheme immediately and PI issued; that is the law, you took an inventory, photos and video when you moved in and you will do the same when you leave. DPS have a system for deciding, they love video evidence. Even if you did not have it on coming in they will accept outgoing evidence, post it on Youtube under hidden link.

Next I would say that as he is being intransigent, vexatious and wasting your time you withdraw your previous offer, your new offer is 2x deposit and he issues a new legally valid S21 which is the law, you will leave when it expires. The original S21 is invalid already and as such is rejected, if he wishes to waste the Courts time by starting accelerated possession using that S21 you will simply ask the Court to reject it and award you your costs to defend it (typically £500 minimum) although I got £2k once for someone who earns a decent whack.
Being a nanny is not mentioned in the housing act so irrelevant, it does mention "quiet enjoyment of the property" which basically means you can do what you like as long as you do not disturb others and you are entitled not to be harassed.

DPS have an arbitration system and it is exactly because of cunts like him the deposit protection was made law.
OFT356 unfair contract terms, basically it recognises that a tenant is in a weak state when signing a tenancy agreement so it provides guidance about what is fair and what is not.

If he wishes to push it he can request it of the DPS who will only say you should leave it in the way you found it. they take into account fair wear and tear, length of tenancy but also that it is the Landlords property, that he would be reasonably expected to redecorate every 2 or 3 years or when a tenant leaves if they want to maximise rent. As long as it is clean you should be fine.

He is not allowed to increase rent like that, he has to issue S13 proposed rent, see note 3 onward on page 2 of this form on Gov.uk website

bit.ly/has13

basically you go to tribunal, show a copy of his response and they note it. Also speak to local authority about his behaviour, say that he is not a fit and proper person to hold a license to rent property.

This is coming pretty close to harassment, I hope he did this by email or letter so you can present it to Judge. They will take a very dim view of this intimidation. If he did it verbally write back quoting everything he said and your response.

Forget the deposit upfront, that needs to be paid into a scheme and released by DPS after you leave, that is best for you.

You now make you offer full and final, his S21 is invalid and rejected.

Any attempt to increase the rent must be done via the S13 and would be referred to tribunal and local authority

You will now settle for 2x deposit sanction paid within 7 days. That will give you your rent to pay back to him for the 2 months notice he needs to give you to issue S21. Of course if that is not legally valid for any reason you reject it too in 58 days. E.g. if he issues S21 but the PI has not been done right.
He can't fleece you really, the DPS decide when there is a dispute.

Understand a few things, you can start proceedings with 2 forms or you can counter claim his S21 if he is stupid enough to try and take it to court without issuing a new one. You would ask the Court to dismiss but to hear your S214 claim. Make sure you do both forms, he will be paying your court fee in due course.

Start by giving him 7 days notice of your intention to start proceeding, a nice touch I do is to complete the forms and email them to him so he can see you are serious.

Tell him any further action will be taken by solicitor and you will be seeking recovery of their costs at whatever stage.

Use a solicitor, write the letter before action and ask them to send it on their letterhead. Add their fee to any settlement they reiterate and offer.

If this idiot has not paid it into a scheme and is trying to intimidate you the Judge will give you 3x and make him pay your costs, do not forget to add the cost of a days work to attend court, your travel costs etc

The sting for him is he will be looking at £3k of costs and unlike Ali above he is being nasty, he will lose.

You are right about the number of properties and he should know better, make sure you mention it in your reply.

Say something like, “you are supposed to be a professional landlord with over 25 properties, so I am shocked at your attempt to intimidate and harass us. You derisory offer is rejected and in consideration of your behaviour my previous offer is now withdrawn, null and void. I am now prepared to make a revised full and final offer as detailed below.

He really does not have a leg to stand on, it is just a matter of whether he wants to settle or pay legal costs for both sides.

No increase in rent, if the tenancy expires a stat periodic is created, he is not allowed to harass you, enter the property without mutual consent (call police if he does, say he had already made threats and your wife is scared). He will get told in no uncertain terms that if he repeats such action they will arrest him, also ask the police to make a note on their records as he owns 25 other properties and probably tries this with other tenants.

If he does any of that your lawyer can bolt on Harassment act breach and he could be in serious trouble.

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Advice greatly rec'd 7th April, 2016 @ 16:47

David, first let me sincerely thank you for your response. After reading its contents several times I believe I have understood the majority of it and I must say I was initially leaning towards rolling over and accepting my LL's somewhat derisory offer just for ease and to see an end to matters. I must say I am now seriously considering further action.

If you wouldn't mind I would really appreciate clarification of a few things to ensure I have fully understood your previous post. To start I will clarify my exact scenario to ensure all of the information within you previous post remains valid:
- deposit paid 8/13
- AST commenced 8/13 and ran to 8/14
- deposit was placed into my deposits DPS scheme 11/13 (late but inside initial term)
- tenancy reverted to stat periodic 8/14
- no PI was issued until 3/16
- s21 issued 2 days later 3/16
- LL (in my eyes) would be considered professional as has been in the business 50+ years and owns properties worth approx. £3.8m (according to last years reports) - I don't know the number of properties he has (I would say probably 5-15, mine is worth approx. 350-400k I would think but no idea about others).

Could you please confirm the following:

1. Is the current s21 valid?
My initial view was no as the deposit was protected late I thought in order to issue a s21 he would need to return my deposit in full (or less agreed deductions) or await the judgement on a s214 hearing (as per s2A of s215). I am wondering now if the dereg act means that because the deposit was protected late (but inside the initial term) when it went stat periodic it was considered protected and thus a s21 now is valid (although he is still liable for the initial late protection s214 claim). Is this right? And if so does it matter that the PI was only issued 3/16 (so not inside the initial term)? Again I thought that as long as it's done before the s21 was issued (which it was) then the s21 is valid.

2. Assuming he amends his rent increase to fall in line with the requirements under s8, what options do I have?
Do I need to pay the increase as I am in a stat periodic, or can I refuse? If so does this mean he has no choice but to issue a s21 and obtain possession?

3. What is your opinion (given the circumstances) on the following approach:
A. Reject his derisory offer claiming a lot of the points you raised: I.e. Cannot appeal if judge has followed the law, court case would be fast tracked so would not drag out, judge would through out his claim for insolvency/hardship and either way I would apply for a charge to be secured against property
B. Withdraw my previous final settlement offer (I sent it without prejudice as full and final settle and also sent a before action letter detailing my case) - I considered my original offer more than reasonable and set the limit where I felt he would have no option to counter offer (he obviously disagreed) at 1.5x comp + deposit paid back in full immediately
C. New offer of 2x as comp immediately and full deposit (less agreed deductions) on vacating the property (I don't think he was keen on the idea of paying it now and it is in the DPS now so I am happy they will act as an independent adjudicator to avoid him fleecing me). Also confirm I will comply with the existing s21 notice/date to avoid him any further trouble of potentially having to issue a new one or persue a possession order if I don't leave.

My view is that I would likely be awarded 2x in court given he should have known better and ensured his legal obligations were adhered to, his excuse/defence doesn't reduce his responsibilities. There is a risk it could be 1x if the judge is particularly lenient on him (especially as it was only slightly late) but I would argue even when they noticed and rectified their error and protected it late they still did not issue PI (presumably to try and cover it over and not bring attention to the error). Even so he has only offered 1x to settle so there is no incentive to accept his offer. He would also have an awful lot of fees to pay if it goes to court which would far outweigh the 2x settlement compensation (even if he feels a judge would award less).

Am I right in thinking I cannot lose as no matter what happens he would also have to cover my costs (I assume the judge would not consider his offer reasonable and try and penalise me for not accepting it and make me pay my own and maybe even his fees?).

I also wonder if it would be sensible to complete the court forms now and send them to him to confirm I am serious with my threat to pursue the matter in court if required.

Your thoughts would be incredibly valued.
Thanks

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David 8th April, 2016 @ 11:36

@Advice Greatly

It is clearer when you lay it out with the dates, when you said "(although he had then rectified the PI by issuing it late) which rendered his S21 notice invalid." I thought you meant he delivered the PI AFTER the S21.

If at the time of issuing the S21 the Deposit has been protected and the PI has been issued (assuming it is valid with no errors) then his S21 is infact valid.

Prior to dereg act 2015 the S21 would have to refer to the new Stat Periodic Tenancy and the deposit would have to be reprotected, but this is no longer the case. So it seems based on what you say that his S21 IS valid.

If you had sued him in 9/14 you would have won as the law stood then.

However, I still do not think you should settle at his offer and I will explain why.

1. His threats to put up rent and generally being an Ahole, when you negotiate with a tenant you have to seek to resolve things amicably and mean it. His response suggests that he WILL try to claw back any settlement out of the deposit, so it makes sense to make the sanction as high as possible.

2. He is the one who broke the law, he is a professional Landlord and the Judge will have little sympathy, especially as he did not issue PI till this year. This denied you of the rights afforded by the act, you had no idea where your deposit was because he did not inform you that it was protected or where it was. Even if you got paperwork from DPS it does not replace the requirement to issue PI. Also some dodgy landlords have been known to try a little trick, they go register an email similar to your own e.g. if your email is CameronD@hotmail.co.uk they go register CameronD@yahoo.co.uk, they also give a different mobile from a sim they buy or do not give a mobile at all. They are prepared to swear blindly that this is what you gave them or they say it was a clerical error. This gives them the power to release the deposit at the end of the tenancy.

So the first thing you need to do is go to DPS make sure it is still protected (he could have said tenancy ended when it became stat periodic, you should be able to log in to DPS back end and make sure your details are correct, you can also ask the DPS if the data has remained the same since it was deposited. The reason I ask is that you sound as if when you got the PI this was the first you have heard of it, the DPS are a cheap lot, I have confirmed in other cases that their policy is to send an email confirming receipt of deposit, however, they only spend the money on an SMS if the email bounces. The DO use the SMS at the end of the tenancy if there is a mobile number.

The Landlords in these cases argue that they did indeed protect the deposit, it was there safe all the time but they made a clerical error or they say the tenant gave them that data, it is very hard for the tenant to prove they did not do something. The clerical error is wiser because if they email the tenant using the correct email it shows they had the correct email, but one even used a different lead tenant, people will try anything!

2. Your landlord wants to sell, he is doing this because he needs the money or wants to invest somewhere else, that means he is in a hurry. If you stayed and it went 3 months prices may change, he may have to accept a lower offer 10K below market so paying the 3x deposit with no Court fees is still a good deal for him.

Now what concerns me here is your local authority telling you to sit tight, I am guessing that they (like me) got the impression that his S21 was invalid. You need to ask then to clarify on writing their advice to sit tight and give them the chronological list of events as you have above, also call Shelter helpline who will go through your case. Ideally get them to confirm in writing by email their advice. Look for errors in S21 and remember to check Dereg act not just old law. Dereg made it not matter about the date served but forms and paperwork changed, if he did it "old school" he may have screwed up, same applies to PI, Dereg act changes that too, but some things only affect new tenancies that started AFTER Oct 2015

If in doubt flowchart it using mind map tool with a IF then ELSE type methodology.

Once Shelter have given you your advice, enclose a copy with your letter to Council, say that you think it is bad advice for you to not leave if presented with a legally valid S21 (they can't ask you to break the law) and as such you would only be prepared to do so if they underwrote your legal costs. Also point out that by responding to what is in effect a legal directive (S21) you would in no way be making yourself homeless intentionally under Government guidance.

So now it comes to how much do you want that glowing reference, my feeling is that it will not be worth much, you should write the reference, not put a date on it and ask your landlord to sign it and return it within seven days if he wants to settle for your new offer (see below).

So let us deal with your numbered queries.

1. Based on the dates it does indeed seem valid, but in need of verification of all the other requirements. Scan it and send to Shelter, you may also be entitled to free legal aid for the initial advice although this may then be referred to a number of law firms some of whom provide a very basic service with low level staff just wanting to apply 8 minutes to the call. LET US BE CLEAR, THERE IS NO OBLIGATION TO RETURN THE DEPOSIT BEFORE THE END OF THE TENANCY. EVEN UNDER OLD LAW THE REPROTECTION COULD BE TRANSFERED FROM ONE SCHEME TO ANOTHER IF IT HAD TO BE REPROTECTED BECAUSE OF STAT PERIOD LAW THAT WAS IN PLACE AT TIME. Landlords never wanted to give it back to the tenant as it alerted them to their mistake.

The initial term is not the issue, 30 days is the issue, he did not comply, END OF, also the PI was not issued till 3/16 so all that time the protection of the act was undermined.

2. No you do not have to pay increase, he has to issue the proposed rent increase and you have to agree to it or refer it. However, my advice is to not remain and obey the S21 if it is legally valid, based on date it is, you need further advice regarding other requirements. Do the ref numbers on PI match those at the DPS, etc

3. I would proceed as follows:

Dear Mr Bastard

I am in receipt of your letter dated 23/3/2016 and I do not appreciate your attempt to intimidate and threaten us.

It is not our fault that you failed to follow the law and now face sanctions, the fact of the matter is that you failed to protect the deposit within 30 days, but also you failed to issue the PI and up to that point we had no idea the deposit was even protected, where it was, or where we could assert our rights as afforded by the housing act, which is after all the whole purpose of the deposit protection legislation. You are a professional landlord and should know better!

To be honest your tone and threats suggest that you have no genuine interest to settle this matter amicably. It seems that you will also attempt to try and exercise terms of contract that are deemed unfair by Office of Fair Trading guidance on Tenancy Agreements 2006, the bible of such matters I am informed.

The DPS and/or a Court will see these for what they are; a blatant attempt to intimidate us and claw back money that you are due to pay due to YOUR mistake of failing to comply with the Deposit Protection legislation.

Considering this I feel that it is pointless trying to agree a settlement with you as you seem to be intransigent and vexatious, however, based on your hostile response I am prepared to make one Full and Final offer of settlement. Previous tenant offer is withdrawn, null and void, as is landlord derisory counter offer.

1. Tenant to leave property at expiration of the legally valid S21.

2. Tenant to leave property in good condition with professional steam cleaning of carpets and washing of any marks on walls but no obligation to redecorate any part of the property. In the event of any dispute the DPS arbitration decision shall be final but this settlement shows intent.

3. Landlord to pay the tenant S214 sanctions of 3x the deposit within 7 days by bank transfer to the following account.

4. Landlord to return deposit via DPS scheme with no attempt to invent new problems, property may be inspected by a 3rd party agent in next 6 days to confirm current state.

5. Landlord to provide written positive reference in next seven days (enlose with message), sent by recorded delivery. I can post one here if you need.

The Landlord saves paying tenant legal fees which may amount to £3k to £8k depending on case. He has been shown to be vexatious and made threats; these can be entered into Court if he has not WP'ed response.

All other stuff is mute in light of S21 being valid, note I did not refer to current S21 but a legally valid S21 in case it is not valid. He will probably want a firm date but it gives you time to get the settlement offer out and then research your DPS account meanwhile.

He rejected your offer so you are under no obligation to agree to it now.

Your offer was reasonable except for asking for deposit to be repaid now, deposit protection is for BOTH parties, it must only be repaid after you leave. He can make claims but a camera is your friend here, film it now, show what things you will fix, then make a video of the things you do, wash down walls (use sugar soap if greasy), fill holes, get carpet steam cleaned. :Look at inventory!

You will get at least 2x because of very late PI, potentially 3x with the right Judge because he is professional landlord, especially if there is anything dodgy with DPS emails or phone numbers etc so check them.

You are right about PI but Court only cares about law and intended purpose of that law. The late service of PI means it was done to suit Landlord and not provide you with access and protection afforded by that law. As such he sought to undermine the law which was made to protect BOTH parties. If he was a Landlord with one property or maybe two this might fly but he is a professional with many years’ experience.

It will be you who pays the Court fees because you will bring the action as you will be leaving if S21 is legally valid. He will pay for that and your lawyer fees. Some Lawyers cover this but take part of your sanctions.

Your leverage is the legal fees, use a big firm like Anthony Gold in London, whoever you use make sure they know housing law, do not do no win no fee unless you get 100% of sanction and the lawyers just get their fees from other side. Lawyers will have Solicitors do grunt work and a Counsel provide opinion and attend Court, I saw one Barrister charge £800 in travelling, it was deemed he has particular expertise and client has right to best legal advice, especially when landlord is vexatious.

NO never think you can't lose, it is always possible that a Judge makes the wrong decision but that is why there is an appeal process. What IS right is that the Judge MUST award at least 1x and no more than 3x the deposit, he will almost always award your costs, especially as you have tried to settle but then been intimidated and threatened in response.

I always advise to negotiate a settlement, but based on facts and his response I think the terms above are reasonable. He may come back with 2x and you say 2.5 full and final but only if there are no more threats in his response.

In the event you lost the Judge would not be following the law, it is a material fact that deposit was not paid within 30 days nor PI served within 30 days. The variance is there to allow for the gravity of the breach, the PI is the slam dunk for you, was very foolish for him to leave it so long. In the room the Judge may make his decision against you and respond "what say you Mr Aga or ask your lawyer" You respond "with the greatest respect Sir, I disagree with your Judgement and seek leave to appeal", he may be really foolish and deny it but you just file the paperwork and ask Circuit Judge to decide, it costs more and you pay for the Transcript (if available) sometimes they get lost or damaged in which case you do not pay for them.

You can't ASS U ME anything about what a Judge will think, your lawyer will stick to the legal facts, he will say you attempted to settle but were met with a barrage of threats, despite this, you tried again but your offer was rejected with malice.

I think your case is strong enough to forego the forms, let the Solicitor do it as part of his final letter before action.

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The Landlord 8th April, 2016 @ 11:54

@David
Your patience is limited, innit? None of your posts ever get "lost"- but your reaction always implies otherwise!

Can you please just assume your comments get thrown into moderation if a) they're extremely lengthy b) contain outbound links c) contain email addresses.

It will save me from enduring those comments of yours which only consist of mumbling!

:)

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Advice greatly rec'd 8th April, 2016 @ 15:01

@David

Yet again another fantastic and incredibly beneficial post.

I have my work cut-out this weekend digesting it and commencing the tasks you recommend to ensure I have all my facts straight.

A few things I know already, regarding the dirty tricks I know the landlord lied on the deposit protection about when he received the deposit (I think in order to make it look less late than it really was) and he also put my address as his office address (I assume so we would not get any correspondence sent to us), I am not sure about phone/email addresses but don't recall ever getting any correspondence from the DPS so I presume they are all his. I will as you advised also ask the DPS if any information has ever been changed since being set up.

I did check with the DPS and the deposit is protected until 3 months after the tenancy ends so I guess 3 months after we move out (it’s been registered as a stat periodic) so it is covered, they would not allow me to update any details though regarding when the deposit was received/my address etc. so in my initial letter I requested the LL did this (he didn't mention it in his response).

The council did not know/think the S21 was invalid, in our initial meeting I did not even know about the late deposit, I only found out afterwards when studying all the paperwork. Even when I informed them I thought this at a subsequent meeting they confirmed it was valid but I had a case for compensation (I thought from what I had initially researched they were wrong but now know it is valid). Their stance is that a S21 does not mean a tenant is facing homelessness and as such they advise to sit tight and force the LL to obtain a possession order (they even give you a letter confirming this). They say once this process has started to inform them and they will then ramp up efforts to find housing but if you leave beforehand (or at the end of the S21) you are effectively voluntarily making yourself homeless and as such they may no longer have an obligation to house us. They do say they try and liaise with the LL to find ways of keeping us housed etc. but it is very much leave before you face eviction via possession then you voluntary made yourself homeless. I also mentioned costs and they said the court would look at it and say we could not afford to pay them so not to worry. I must say I did think it was very hypocritical of the council especially as they informed us that if you have left social housing previously on bad terms (rent arrears, damage etc.) which we never have that they may not house us, but it is apparently acceptable to force private LL's to pursue legal action to obtain possession of their property.

We were lucky (in a sense) that our 3 month daughter is undergoing surgery to repair a cleft palate which is likely to fall around the time a possession order/eviction may take effect and as such we argued this would be too stressful and they agreed (they even said no judge/or shelter etc. would view under our circumstances that we did it voluntarily) that we could leave at the end of the S21 but not before.

Appreciate a reference is not worth a huge amount but thought didn't harm asking, if you wouldn't mind posting an example that would be brilliant but if it will take you some time don't worry you have already done far more than I could have ever expected.

The offer from my LL was WP'd so I don't know if I could use any of it in court to evidence his threats, motives in respect of trying to recover compensation through rent increases etc. My initial offer was also WP'd although my initial before action letter wasn't.

Is it worth me sending my next offer not WP'd so I can use it in court if required? If I don't WP it, can I still refer to parts of his WP'd offer?

On my terms of settlement, we rented the property straight after my parents (we somewhat agreed to take it on as it was). He agreed for us to decorate the kids rooms as long as we put them back neutral on leaving so I assume we would have to do this on leaving? The house does need a full redecorate as the walls are all marked where furniture has been moved etc. that being said my parents don't think he decorated before they went in, they rented it about 3+ years and we have been there almost 3 so he should really need to decorate it himself if he wants to sell/re-let it. The carpets again really need changing as they are so old, we were going to clean them ourselves with a carpet cleaner as we didn't want to pay for professional cleaning as it is a big house and would cost a lot.

We were hoping to just do the following:
- redecorate kids rooms back to neutral
- fill holes/wash walls/touch up a few areas
- clean carpets ourselves with a carpet cleaner my sister has
- get oven cleaned professionally

I can't find our inventory (which came through a few months after moving in for us to sign and return) I remember amending it to say the carpets were worn in the main walkway areas. He said in his letter we agreed to redecorate throughout on it so I was going to ask him to send me a copy of the one he supposedly has so I know what to expect later. I must admit it was the first and only private place we have rented, we didn't know what we were doing and I understand from your previous posts that this is somewhat to be expected and as such tenants are protected to ensure anything required of them is considered reasonable (getting us to redecorate the whole house even if we stupidly agreed to it would probably not be considered reasonable I assume?).

I am not sure exactly on rights etc. but we also may have cause for complaint etc. about the state of the property/repairs etc. There are ongoing problems with rats, the fence keeps breaking at the back and is only bodged each time which leaves our possessions in the garden at risk plus poses security risks to the rear of the house. We were without lights in the kitchen for 6 months about 18 months ago as rats ate through the cables. Shower has had a leak for years, ended up leaking through the ceiling, eventually they came round to repair but it still leaks occasionally. He basically begrudges spending any money on the property and thus uses incompetent cheap building labourers and always tries to bodge and make good instead of repairing things properly.

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Margaret 10th April, 2016 @ 23:40

Hi
I recently served an S21 on my tenants as I am doing some extensive repairs and refurbishment and need the flat to be vacant. They were not happy to say the least.

Since serving the S21 they have not paid the rent and are now 11 days in arrears. Briefly, I asked them why they had not paid their rent and they said they did not trust me to have protected their deposit and wanted proof that I had. I sent them an electronic copy of the DPC which I had given them (as a hard copy) together with the prescribed tenant information and tenant information leaflet (provided by mydeposits) at the same time as they signed the AST. They are now saying that this is the first they have seen of the DPC and say I did not give them any of the other information either. I cannot find proof that I did give them the relevant information. What is my position? What should I do?

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Advice Greatly Rec'd 11th April, 2016 @ 21:54

@Margaret - I will let a more knowledgeable user reply to your query.

I know you must be able to prove you provided the PI but I don't know how you can evidence this, it could end up your word against theirs which is a real shame as you sound like you complied with the law and are now being blackmailed. Did you get the tenants to sign a copy of the DPS certificate when they signed the AST? - although not specific proof the PI was issued, I would think a Judge would give you benefit of doubt in this instance with a tenant signed certificate.

@David/others - I have drafted my response to LL (using your suggestion David but amending it in places) input/suggestions would be most welcome before I send it tomorrow:

Dear Mr X,

I am in receipt of your letter dated 23/3/2016 and I do not appreciate your attempt to intimidate and threaten us.

It is not our fault that you failed to follow the law and now face sanctions, the fact of the matter is that you failed to protect the deposit within 30 days, but also you failed to issue the Prescribed Information and up to that point we had no idea the deposit was even protected, where it was, or where we could assert our rights as afforded by the housing act, which is after all the whole purpose of the deposit protection legislation. You are a professional landlord and should know better!

To be honest your tone and threats suggest that you have no genuine interest to settle this matter amicably. It seems that you will also attempt to try and exercise terms of contract that are deemed unfair by Office of Fair Trading guidance on Tenancy Agreements 2006, the bible of such matters I am informed.

The DPS and/or a Court will see these for what they are; a blatant attempt to intimidate us and claw back money that you are due to pay due to YOUR mistake of failing to comply with the Deposit Protection legislation. Your feeble excuses of why the deposit was not protected on time does not mitigate your legal responsibilities, perhaps something as important as this should be more closely monitored by you directly to ensure compliance. It also does not explain why the Prescribed Information was not issued when the deposit was finally protected (albeit late), I can only assume this was so as to not bring attention to the error. This assumption is further fuelled by the fact that the tenants contact information provided to the DPS were in fact your own details, obstructing communication channels between the DPS and tenant.

Considering your letter I feel that it is pointless trying to agree a settlement with you as you seem to be intransigent and vexatious, however, based on your hostile response I am prepared to make one Full and Final offer of settlement. My previous tenant offer is withdrawn, null and void, as is your derisory counter offer.

1. Tenant to leave property at expiration of the current S21.

2. Tenant to leave property in good, clean condition. In addition to standard cleaning of the property, we will arrange cleaning of the carpets and cooker and washing of any marks on walls but are no obligation to redecorate any part of the property. As a gesture of goodwill and as per the verbal agreement when we commenced the tenancy we will redecorate the children's bedrooms back to a neutral colour, although we would have no obligation to do so. In the event of any dispute the DPS arbitration decision shall be final but this settlement shows intent.

3. Landlord to pay the tenant S214 sanctions of 2.5x the deposit (£3,500) within 7 days by bank transfer to the following account:

4. Landlord to return deposit via DPS scheme within 10 days of us vacating the property with no attempt to invent new problems. The property may be inspected by a 3rd party agent on the morning of 16th May to confirm the current state.

5. Landlord to provide written positive reference in next seven days (enclosed is a template for completion), sent by recorded delivery.

This offer of settlement is made on the clear understanding that, if accepted, neither Mr X or Mrs Y, nor any associated person or company will take any other action to enforce or pursue this in any way whatsoever and that you will be released from any liability in regards to this matter.

We also request that, if the terms of the settlement are accepted, it is also accepted that there will be a non-disclosure agreement in place between all parties to ensure the details of this settlement are not disclosed to any third party, unless required to do so by law or in order to seek professional advice pertaining to this matter.

If you do not accept this offer, I must point out the following:

1. In the event that we do continue to occupy the property after the expiration of the current S21, the rent would legally continue at its current level of £1,000.00 per calender month unless/until you serve a valid section 13 notice for a proposed increase. Any such notice would be automatically challenged by us for review by the Rent Assessment Committee.

2. If this full and final offer of settlement is not accepted and thus this matter has not been settled amicably by Monday 18th April 2015, then I will have no choice but to immediately appoint legal counsel to pursue this matter on my behalf. I have been informed that typical fee's for specialists in this field are upwards of £300 per hour. In light of this, my legal fees alone that you would be liable for would dwarf the terms of this settlement.

3. The terms of this offer have intentionally not been marked 'without prejudice' therefore I will seek to include this letter in any subsequent court proceedings if required. This will be used to demonstrate a clear intention on my part to try and settle matters amicably out of court, which I must point out has always been my intention although it is proving increasingly difficult given so far I have been met with a barrage of threats.

We look forward to receiving your reply by Monday 18th April 2016.

Yours sincerely

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David 13th April, 2016 @ 13:42

@Advice greatly rec'd

Reply looks OK at first glance, easier if you say what you changed. I did notice you dropped to 2.5, I would have left it at 3 as he is going to push back anyway, by stating 2.5 you are giving up something for nothing. Whole idea is to push back hard then negotiate from that position, every concession has a price, what will he give up for that 0.5?

I would not use the whole dwarf thing or the hourly rate, use the total fees and mention he will have his own.

You NEED to get onto DPS, you need a login for the deposit, call them and ask them to confirm the email and mobile match your own. He can't give an office address he has to give the address of the property being rented, otherwise the deposit would not be valid to protect that tenancy.

It is the email and phone number you want to check and ask DPS have they always been same. As I said they do not use SMS until exit unless email bounces when they send it.

You should always have a receipt of deposit or an electronic copy of bank transaction, cheque, debit, faster transfer.

LET ME BE CLEAR, IF DATE OF RECEIPT REFERRED TO ON PI DOES NOT MATCH A DATE YOU CAN PROVE YOU GAVE IT, THEN THE PI IS INVALID.

If DPS have invalid info, ask them to correct it and provide them with proof.

DPS do definitely allow you to change your mobile and email, but you have to get your login to the tenant portal. They will not just let anyone change it so you have to verify who you are, ask them to send stuff by post if necessary. The LL can't change tenant info, only tenant or lead tenant.

I do not think it makes a big difference about the status of stat periodic, I think the DPS would have changed that status.

BTW You could always do a Data Protection request of all data held on you regarding that reference and what has changed.

I am VERY concerned about what you say the Council say, I would be very interested to know which one it is. You NEED to get them to confirm their advice in writing.

I am telling you now that if you fail to leave a property when a legally valid S21 has been served and your landlord is forced to enforce it, then you will be held responsible for Court Fee and legal costs. The Judge does not award costs on affordability, but on CPR, you will have a CCJ and you may be given time to pay. It will eat up any settlement you get for failure to protect deposit.

For this reason, once you have written advice to stay put and incur legal liability, you need to write to Finance Director of Council telling them you hold them 100% responsible and seek recovery in Court. Explain that by doing this you would actually worsen your position as a private tenant and become more of a burden on the Council/

It has nothing to do with them whether you have a case for compensation, you have up to 3 years to make a claim. It is not a valid reason to not leave a property unless the failure to protect had not been corrected.

Their stance is irrelevant, you are indeed facing homelessness, you need to talk to Shelter.

You can tell the Council that they are welcome to engage the LL in the 2 month notice period of the S21 but to advise you to breach a legally valid S21 is very bad advice and you will be holding them 100% responsible for any losses (including consequential) you may suffer as a result of being forced to follow this advice for fear of being classed as intentionally homeless.

They are just trying to delay their obligations, the fact is when you present yourself there is a period of assessment and your child makes you vulnerable while they decide if you are intentionally homeless, that process is subject to appeal and if I they continue that advice I would involve the press.

A legally valid S21 in effect becomes a possession order when it expires, what changes is the enforcement of that order. If you were in arrears on a S8 it may not make a lot of difference in costs but on S21 alone it will add thousands.

Advise the Council that if they want to engage with the Landlord then they should do so now, but he has told you that he is selling and so has no intention of extending the tenancy.

It will help your position down the road if you have paperwork from Landlord telling you why he is asking you to leave, i.e. because he wants to sell. We see a lot of Landlords trying to stick it to former tenants when they have been on the wrong end of a S214 claim by saying they were antisocial or did not pay rent for 3 months. Golden rule of S21 is to keep rent paid, even if you decide to remain, pay your rent.

This dilemma of Councils telling tenants to stay put is covered here:

blog.shelter.org.uk/2014/01/the-tenants-trap/

They are however in breach of Guidance but not legally compelled until you are evicted.

The guidance referred to is here bit.ly/lahguidance

A letter to Finance Director, fires a warning to Council that you may take action against them, CC to Chief Exec and Your MP. Go to a Surgery with your MP and ask them to intervene, say you do not want a CCJ nor to become dependent on social housing for life because they are not following guidance.

Although the letter from landlord is WP's you can always refer to it in your response paragraph by paragraph, in a letter that is not WP'ed. They should object but if papers are filed then they get read, so the judge knows. Also he may WP the letter but is a material fact that you tried to settle, you can then say he made threats, if asked to substantiate you show the doc, again he objects but damage is
done. You can't unsay things

Yes you have to return room to neutral as was an explicit verbal agreement. However, Landlord did not redecorate for 6 years, so has a reasonable expectation to have to do so. I would not mention damage is due to moving furniture, in fact I would recommend you polyfilla any of that, same for pic holes.

Cleaning yourself is OK if you have a receipt for a rug doctor from Tesco or similar. DPS will want to see evidence, video of before and after good too.

Inventory should be done at beginning of tenancy and exit, not 3 months later. He may be confusing state of property when your parents had it.

The past is the past, you are in S21 now.

I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU CALL SHELTER AND/OR GET LEGAL ADVICE, make your offer to settle and try and sort this out amicably. I would not take the legal action against him until you are out. Any award may impact your financial position with Council. They can't compel you to take action and you can explain you can't cope with the stress and are worried about your daughter and her operation.

You have 3 years from the moment you realised he did not comply with the law.

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David 13th April, 2016 @ 15:40

Hi @Margaret

You did not say how long they have been there, it is ALWAYS better to write to tenants or better go see them to explain why you have to issue the S21, e.g. you have been informed by your insurance company that works need to be done after a gas explosion 5 door down, or due to subsidence or whatever.

An S21 out of the blue is a shocking document.

So there are a few things you can do, write down a diary of events to show you have a clear recollection of exactly what happened at the time.

E.g. the viewing, subsequent phone calls, show a receipt for the deposit at the DPS, remember they are always behind in processing so some parts might reflect that but not the actual date they say they got it, if you downloaded the PI doc, look at file properties and screen snipe them as a digital footprint. It just shows you did what you say you did at the time. (Right click doc and choose properties, it should show date created, modified and accessed) remember to look at original you downloaded not copy in email.

You need to show dates and TIMES match up, for example you can't issue a PI if you have not yet protected deposit as you will not have the reference. If you can show a chronological series of events that match the dates you alege things were done it shows evidence.

Did you have anyone with you, did they?

Landlords need to use multiple ways to deliver and get receipts. I always suggest this process

1. View
2. Agree to take property and take deposit 3 days before start of tenancy (can be anywhere).
3. Prepare paperwork, refer to it in tenancy agreement with proper DPS ref number and refer to PI form, (+ from 2015 EPC, Gas Certificate and new "How to rent" attached)
4. Have two copies and get them to sign each attachment and pay advance rent.
5. Have your smartphone on in your pocket with voice recorder, make you say "here is your tenancy agreement, note appendix1 is your Deposit Protection Certificate issued by the DPS, Appendix 2 is your Prescribed Information that confirms where your deposit was protected on 8th April 2016 and the reference was ABC1235, Appendix 3 is your Energy Performance Certificate, Appendix 4 is your Gas Safety Certificate which you can see is current, Appendix 4 is a Government document we have to give you called "how to rent" and Appendix 5 is our inventory. I need you to sign both copies of each of these as well as the Tenancy agreement itself."

For now I would write saying that you of course refute his assertion that he was not served with Deposit Protection and PI and can only imagine that he is having a lapse in memory.

Say that you are well aware of your legal deposit protection obligations and any attempt to suggest that you had not complied will be vehemently defended and we have evidence to that effect. In such a case we would of course be forced to appoint solicitors and legal Counsel then seek our costs from you.

Remind them that not paying rent leaves them liable under Section 8 for a more prompt eviction and paying to legal costs which may appear as a CCJ and affect his ability to get or maintain credit agreements.

How did you give them the MyDeposits and PI info in the first place, can you confirm it was not just by hand or post?

Your position is that he is probably trying it on or you did not provide the info, at this stage you give as little away as possible and regard it as a game of bluff.

What matters to most Judges is that the deposit was protected, the fact that you were able to email electronic copies so quickly goes some way to help. If the digital signatures of those files on your hard disk are of the era of the beginning of the tenancy you can use that.

You should also contact MyDeposits, ask them if they can check their access control logs to determine if the tenant has ever logged into their portal or checked the existence of the protected deposit. If tenant logged in 2 years ago and used the reference it shows they had the info!

Make your enquiries with MyDeposits by email, use their replies in your legal response.

No threats, no promises. No proof of facts at this stage, just refute his allegation, remind him of his obligation.

If deposit was protected is becomes a my word against yours case, usually 1x rent awarded and return of deposit by scheme in due course less deductions via MyDeposits for which you will both be able to make a case.

So risk analysis is that to get sanction he has to file papers or issue counter claim to your S21. If he goes to Court with arrears he is almost guaranteed to lose. A S21 is not an excuse not to pay rent. Look at wording of S214, it says the Judge has to believe deposit was not protected and PI was not issued. You can show deposit was indeed protected within 30 days, so 1-0 to you, for PI the Judge has to consider situation, a tenant has breached agreement to pay rent, said he did not get deposit info but evidence is it was promptly protected. So who does he believe? How do both parties behave.

If you write initial letter refuting his allegation and ask him to pay rent in accordance with tenancy agreement as Step 1.

Step 2 if he does not make any payment with 14 days is a letter before action of Section 8 proceedings.

If rent is paid he will no doubt say he is seeking 3x the deposit blah blah blah, if and when that happens you again write saying you refute his allegation. You caution him that any such action would be defended by a solicitor/Counsel and you would have to seek recovery of your legal costs for what is a frivolous action

Say something along the lines of

"If I had indeed made such a mistake I would seek a fair and reasonable settlement, however, as I know with absolute certaintly that I did indeed protect the deposit within 30 days and provide you with the prescribed information within the same period, there is nothing to settle. I have cautioned you of the legal ramifications of making this false assertion, I have the evidence and this will be filed in response to any legal claim you make. I really want to avoid any legal dispute with you but I will not be threatened or intimidated by the suggestion of a false claim. If you wish to proceed with your false claim then please do so at your own risk.

I can understand how it can be difficult for you to remember what you were given and perhaps you saw something online that suggested I was at fault, but I can assure you I complied 100% with my legal obligations and the Judge will see that."

If he proceeds, maybe via a lawyer or 3rd party, rinse and repeat your previous letter disputing the facts of the matter, caution that if they proceed it will be seen as vexatious pursuit of a frivolous legal action which will be defended vehemently with cost recovery sought. Say that as they are aware deposit was indeed protected (under reference ABC123 with My Deposits) and PI provided in accordance with legal requirements.

Say that you are a busy person and have already spend time providing clients with copies of paperwork and that any further attempt to extort money from you will be defended by solicitors and Counsel.

If they wish to pursue the matter further they should file the prerequisite Court papers at which point your Solicitor will file a dismissal and counter claim

Basically it is poker, they have to pay to see your cards, they have seen community cards (your previous email).

So at At this stage do not provide evidence, just letters refuting facts.

BTW never give a copy of your certificate if it may have details of how to access landlord portal.

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Advice Greatly Rec'd 13th April, 2016 @ 20:12

Hi David

Again thank you for taking the time to provide information and advice. I issued my letter yesterday as I wanted to give Monday 18th as the deadline for a response, but did make a few slight amendments.

I took the part out about "This assumption is further fuelled...' This was because I called Mydeposits who confirmed they had my correct phone number but no email. They confirmed no amendments to my info had been made and that they do email confirmation once the deposit is protected if an tenant email is available but only SMS if the deposit becomes unprotected. Regarding address it had the let property address but the landlord provided an alternate tenant address which was conveniently his office address. I am confident and would be happy arguing the matter in court that he knew that they email confirmation regarding deposit protection and as such intentionally omitted my email address (which he had as all correspondence was done by email) to ensure I would not receive the confirmation and thus be highlighted to the error. I also believe this is the reason behind falsely giving his office address as an alternate tenant address (I am surprised the DPS accepted it) and only provided the correct mobile number as he knew no correspondence would be sent via phone. I also think it is why he registered an incorrect date the deposit was paid so as to ensure if I searched to check it was protected I would not get a hit with the information input.

I don't think my deposits have a tenant portal but I will check, they did update my address and email when I called but again confirmed I could not update the date the deposit was paid myself.

Regarding the 2.5X I did this as I felt 3X would have possibly caused the LL to effectively refuse any negotiation and effectively say: see you in court. (I didn't mean to cause any offence to your suggestion) Although I have no problem pursuing the matter in court if required I would much rather the added stress of a court case at the moment. I also thought going from 1.5x compensation and deposit repaid immediately to a counter of 1x compensation and deposit repaid on vacating the property to suddenly 3x compensation and deposit repaid on vacating was a big jump. I hoped 2.5X might be a figure he would accept (although given his last letter I doubt it).

Regarding the council info, we were given a letter when we saw them, I will write the important info from this later when home if you would like to know the exact wording.

I don't think we need to worry too much about what they said though as luckily due to our daughters operation they did agree that we can leave at the end of the S21 so we will be complying with it.

I am ensuring rent is up to date (other than LL claiming its a day or two late each month due to me getting paid a day after its due) so he will have no grounds to use unpaid rent against us if the matter does end up in court. We will also leave at the end of the current S21 as it appears valid (unless the PI isn't because of the incorrect date of deposit). Also what is strange (but I assumed was the norm) is the PI itself appears to be a generic one my deposit use which a lot of the info simply states to refer to the certificate which was also enclosed. The certificate is what has incorrect info in the date the deposit was paid. That being said we just want out of the house now to be honest so are happy to leave at the end of this S21 (near the end of May).

Financially any settlement shouldn't impact council position as far as I am aware. As long as we don't have over £30k savings (that was all they wanted to know when we inquired for housing).

I will read the links you posted when I get home as well.

Regarding cleaning/decorating I will get receipts for the carpet cleaning solution needed (my sister already owns a carpet cleaner which we will use to reduce costs) and complete detailed before/after videos and pictures as you suggest. We may have stupidly verbally (and possibly even in writing) agreed to redecorate the whole house on leaving as we were naive, am I right in thinking under the circumstances etc. that this wouldn't be considered reasonable and as long as we fill all holes, wash walls and touch up any bad areas this should suffice given the LL himself hasn't redecorated at all for at least 6 years?

We suggested in our letter that the they send an agent if they want the Monday after the weekend we plan on going to inspect current state. We then plan on doing all the bits required that week and having a check out appt the Friday before the S21 runs out on the Monday. That way if on Friday they are unhappy at something we have the weekend to rectify and can then hand keys back on last day of S21.

Regarding inventory we had a walk through of the property when moving in (as parents moved out same time so it was effectively one visit checking them out and us in) and LL made notes I believe but I don't recall singing an inventory. If I recall we received a copy of the inventory through some time after which I made a few amendments on and signed and returned.

I will call shelter as you suggest, I also emailed a specialist in this area from the firm you suggested last week and asked for his fees. I am worried that appointing them would mean I would need to underwrite their fees and possibly pay something upfront in case I either lost or won but didn't get a costs order, this is what concerns me most as the fees would cripple me and make pursing the matter pointless.

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Advice Greatly Rec'd 13th April, 2016 @ 20:25

@David

After reading the links you supplied I particularly enjoyed the part in the guidance as follows:

'Each case must be decided on its facts, so housing authorities should not adopt a general policy of accepting – or refusing to accept – applicants as homeless or threatened with homelessness when they are threatened with eviction but a court has not yet made an order for possession or issued a warrant of execution.'

At our initial appointment it was very much a general policy, we were given a generic template letter they give to all people and nothing seemed individual to us or our circumstances.

It goes on to follow:

'The Secretary of State considers that where a person applies for accommodation or assistance in obtaining accommodation,
and:
(a) the person is an assured shorthold tenant who has received proper notice in accordance with s.21 of the Housing Act 1988;
(b) the housing authority is satisfied that the landlord intends to seek possession;
and
(c) there would be no defence to an application for a possession order;
then it is unlikely to be reasonable for the applicant to continue to occupy the accommodation beyond the date given in the s.21 notice, unless the housing
authority is taking steps to persuade the landlord to withdraw the notice or allow the tenant to continue to occupy the accommodation for a reasonable period to provide an opportunity for alternative accommodation to be found.'

Which corroborates everything you have said in that it would be unreasonable under the circumstances to force us to remain past the end of the valid S21. I will make reference to this in any correspondence with the council if they do insist on us staying past the S21 (although as confirmed they do appear to now be happy with us leaving at the end of the S21 due to our daughter).

I will scan a copy of the generic letter we received tomorrow at work and post a link to it (assuming the site owner is happy with it as no doubt he will need to approve the post)

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Margaret Debolini 15th April, 2016 @ 08:34

Hi David

Very many thanks for your time and advice. I have the receipt for the DPC and will check the digital signatures of the documents and take it from there.

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Ali 19th April, 2016 @ 00:08

@David

Hi David, I just wanted to say thank you for providing information on how to deal with the situation I was having, in the end I have settled on one months rent which was a huge financial loss but a lesson learnt for me to protect deposits instantly and chase up.

Thank you for providing the information on helping others too as well as me, you clearly know the legal implications of how this should be put right.

Keep going on here, doing fantastic job in helping us. In future will contact again if I face any similar any problems.

Once again, thank you for the support David and hope too resolve any new matters raise in future but I hope not :)

Thank You,
Kind Regards,

Ali

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Surfey 20th April, 2016 @ 17:49

I let my property to a tenant who didn't pay a bond up front. They paid it on an as and when basis, so it took months to pay.
I didn't protect the bond for some time but did eventually pay it in to the DPS in full.
The tenant has moved out, and part of the bond has been returned as agreed by the tenant through the DPS.
I thought that was the end of the matter.
Now they are threatening me with court action for non compliance of protecting the bond within the 30 days.
Surely the tenant can't do this.

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David 20th April, 2016 @ 20:19

Thanks @Ali

Just happy you got it resolved.

I have seen Landlords AND Tenants on the wrong end of £8500 of legal fees, it is never simple and lots of variables.

You paid the minimum so you got a good result and you learnt a good lesson.

I posted above the order of tasks I recommend, particularly, taking the deposit 3 days before tenancy starts and protecting it immediately, then getting tenant to sign appendix A etc when they move in.

I say to tenants and landlords alike, take video when you move in and out

I also suggest to Landlords that they do not piss tenants off with deductions for cleaning carpets and other "cost of doing business" or "wear and tear" things.

At the same time I say to tenants "leave it as you would like to find it, fill holes you made, clean the kitchen and bathroom as if you were subject to a military inspection, there is no excuse, you can get all kinds of strong cleaning materials in pound shops. Also, clean as you go, then have monthly proper clean as you will make less work for yourself later."

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David 20th April, 2016 @ 21:26

Hey @Surfey

The scariest word there is “eventually”.

Technically you could argue that the deposit was not received until the last payment was made but I get a sneaking suspicion that "eventually" was not within 30 days of last instalment and that you also failed to serve PI within same 30 day window.

You did not say whether it was a really long tenancy (pre 2007) which may help a bit although deregulation act firmed that up too.

I note that you say "part" of bond which suggests they did not leave it bright and shiny so you felt a deduction was due. This can often be the "try it on" trigger for some tenants. If it was a long tenancy, unless they wreck the place I figure you have to expect to fork out to restore a property to former glory just to get above average rent.

The tenant can indeed do this if you did not follow the law which says you have to protect the deposit within 30 days of receipt and to issue them with Prescribed Info within same 30 days.

Now it is not all bad and there are ways to reduce costs which are set by law at between 1x and 3x the deposit plus the return of the deposit.

So how do you reduce costs, well if you can't show you did indeed comply within 30 days and have evidence to prove it; then you negotiate!

So the law is worded cleverly, it used to be always 3x rent if you did not protect within 14 days, but was relaxed by Labour Gov to be at the discretion of Judge to "believe" it was not protected and for her to vary the amount based on circumstances. However, she MUST award at least 1x if you do not have evidence you did both tasks within 30 days. It is likely she would award costs for Tenant too.

However, there is a conduct in Courts called CPR, it is all about being Civil and provides procedures and rules that need to be followed.

So if one party says your S21 is not valid and rejects it but refuses to say why they believe it is invalid, thus forcing you to take legal advice it can impact their award or charge of costs.

It is the same for negotiation, if you can be seen to be this super sweet guy who makes a fair and reasonable offer but the other guy says "stuff it I want 3x rent and to entertain your wife on alternate Thursdays, or else I am taking you to Court" then the Judge will take a dim view. In fact if you offer what they are likely to get they will likely take a dim view as it wastes their time.

As I have said in previous posts it is a bit like poker, if a tenant has a strong case and a landlord who breaks this and other laws the award is likely to be 3x.

On the other hand if the deposit was protected, albeit late and not a week before the end of the tenancy, then it mitigates it. This is especially true if the landlords only own one property and seem like "nice people".

So in your position (assuming you are guilty) I would say it depends on the relationship you had with the tenant. If you got on well with them then a friendly "without prejudice" (can't be used against you in Court) letter saying

WITHOUT PREJUDICE
"Hey Pete, I received your letter today and to be honest I was a little disappointed, I felt we got on well and so to have this attempt to grab money when any failure on my part was caused by my generosity in allowing you to pay the deposit as and when you could afford it, is somewhat churlish on your part.

I am writing to ask you to seriously reconsider asking me for money for this.

If you don't I will have to take legal advice and decide on the best way forward.

If you want we can have an agreement for you not to proceed and I will as a gesture of goodwill write you a glowing reference which in today’s market is worth way more than you would get from such a claim.

Best regards

Surfey"

If that fails or you did not part on good terms then it comes down to offering a settlement. There are a few examples in previous posts above.

In your case it comes down to saying you wish to settle matters amicably but will not be held to ransom over what a Judge will see as an oversight with much mitigation due to the free credit offered.

Your opening bid is to pay them £300 plus a glowing reference as a full and final settlement of this matter. They will probably come back with a higher number; they may have been misinformed that they are entitled to 3x the deposit. In such cases you point out that the Housing Act gives the Judge discretion and does not necessarily award costs if tenant has not accepted a fair and reasonable offer.

You could increase your offer a bit, to say £500, still with the reference, but your high point has to be 1x the deposit as that is what a Judge is likely to award in your case. You could then ask the Judge for each party to pay their own costs (including Court fees) as you made every attempt to settle the matter.
If you failed to tell tenant where deposit was protected until a week before tenancy ended then you could be looking at 2x.

Many tenants are happy to have a go at writing to a landlord requesting money for such breaches, a smaller proportion will use a no win no fee lawyer but depending on firm they risk losing their award. Some will do an assessment of risk/reward and decline them.

So it comes down to the size of your and your tenants balls, nothing is guaranteed, you can get weird Judges, you can even get Judges who say "I believe the deposit was protected and am finding for the Landlord ". There are maverick Judges who do not care about appeal (very rare). The tenant then has to appeal and then the costs go up a lot, they can appeal if the Judge does not award at least 1x if the evidence shows deposit was protected late. The tenant may not have money to appeal, they may forget to ask for permission to appeal in which case they have to ask a circuit Judge for permission to appeal and that takes forms and money.

I say all this just to let tenants and landlords alike know that the last thing you want to do is go to Court.

You want to make a strong case for the settlement offer you make or respond to.

So if you are a nasty toe rag who enters your tenants home without mutual agreement or you fail to carry out repairs, gas safety checks and generally have to be told by the Council to repair your money pit then chances are a tenant will use that to tell their side of the story.

On the other hand if you are a nasty toe rag tenant who never pays rent on time, thinks your Landlord is called HSBC or Barclays, you do not keep the place clean, you damage the walls, break the appliances, upset the neighbours and do not give a shit about much at all, then the landlord will mostly describe some of that to get Judge on side.

The Judge is only interested in the Law, but they are human, they can have a kid in Uni with a rogue landlord or they may have been a landlord and have seen a nasty tenant.

In your negotiation you are only interested in the Law and the likely outcome. If you can get that same amount by settlement so much the better.

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Med 25th April, 2016 @ 07:16

I rented by property to a couple, through an agent. They ran into domestics and rent was not paid which eventually lead to the wife suggesting the husbands deposit be kept. And he be removed from the agreement. The agent somehow got a second deposit from the wife and as rent was still owed to me I chased him up and has since disappeared. Left with no deposit and mortgage outstanding, the wife and I agreed to a new contract. I failed to protect her deposit as I was out of pocket and used the money to cover the mortgage. She was later mate aware of this. Her contract is an ongoing one. She has been late on several occasions and is currently in arrears.
What are my best options and liabilities?

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Arty 25th April, 2016 @ 12:33

Hi !

I'm tenant and seeking for an advice.

I am in situation where my estate agency / landlord tries to take my deposit for cleaning carpets, wall refurbishment etc. ( I have moved out of property now, tenancy started of 08/2014,ended on 08/04/2016

In the very beginning I received an e mail from estate agency to tell me that repairs needed at property and the total deposit held is £695 and repairs will cost more that that - around £950. The tricky point is that I feel that estate agent has not protected my deposit in full. My original deposit was £695, but during my tenancy Agent requested additional £200 for having a cat at the property. I have paid it via phone and can prove that payment on my bank statements.
When I checked on TDS website it's clearly visible that deposit protected is £695. (not £895 )

After challenging agent where are my £200 deposit they have replied that they have it and my deposit is £895.

I have agreed only £95 to be deducted off my deposit, agent then has contacted landlord and today I have got an offer from them. They offer my to pay £200 pet deposit as a gesture of will to settle this case. They are still willing to take another £695 off my deposit for repairs.

Can I challenge them and ask for compensation for not protecting my £200 pet deposit?
Can I challenge them for compensation for full amount which is £895 or only £200 which are not protected by deposit scheme.

P.S When I log into TDS website and check the certificate , there comes up a message ' This agent is no longer using this protection scheme and is already arranging another things to protect your deposit. Please contact your landlord to understand your situation,

Please advise as soon as you can !

Thank you

Arty

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David 26th April, 2016 @ 08:57

@Med

Let this be the last place you admit to that story!

It makes you look as if you took 3 deposits from this woman!

You raise so many questions so let me walk through your post and ask for some clarification:

You started a tenancy with a couple via an agent,

Q1. You did not say whether that deposit was protected in an approved scheme?

Q2. How much arrears?

Q3. What was rent amount?

The wife can't "suggest" the husband’s deposit be kept, she has no authority by herself; there are three parties to the agreement. You, Her and Him.

A deposit is held for the security and cannot be taken for performance of a contract until a Judge or scheme operator so orders at the end of the tenancy. It has to be protected in an approved scheme (DPS, TDS or Mydeposit).

So the husband can come back at you and take you to Court for S214 sanctions, he would be wise to do it as it would offset his rent owed.

Taking someone off tenancy needs the signature of husband, or a tenancy ended and a new one started with wife,

Q4. So what actually happened?

Q5. Was there any paperwork involving you with the taking of this second deposit? Otherwise I would suggest you were completely ignorant of the fact and it was a fraudulent act of the agent. Or at best they were taking rent and they never paid you that rent.

Q6. What was date that money was taken?

Q7. What did you admit to in comms or email with the tenant?

Q8. What is the approx date of this "new contract" with wife?

Q9. Is there any communications confirming a deposit was taken for this new contract or could it be a misunderstanding and in fact what you took was rent and a contribution to her already owing arrears? I.E. did not agree not to take a deposit as she could not afford it.

Q10. How was she "later made aware of this" email or verbally?

Q11. When you say "Her contract is an ongoing one." what do you mean? Was there a new Assured Shorthold Tenancy created?

Q12. Forget being late, what is the amount of the arrears NOW?

Q13. Please provide a complete timeline for all events, change the details by approx 1 month and add or substract £50 to the rent amount just so they do not match any facts.

Q14. Confirm rent was same from beginning to end?

Your best option is to clean this up ASAP with proper AST, proper protection of deposit.

If there were two agreements you are potentially liable for 2 sanctions of UP to 3x the rent for each tenancy agreement, which is why it is much better to have no deposit taken for 2nd tenancy agreement.

If you can go to this lady and say that she is a good tenant and you want to keep her, but you need to sort out paperwork as this agent has disappeared and you need to try to write off your loss to agent to your tax.

So you could say that even though the agent never paid you any rent of monies taken (do not use the D word) you are going to offset what she has proof of payment for to the agent towards her arrears. This should make her happy but it needs to be in a “settlement agreement” that any Housing Act sanctions are agreed as settled.

The alternative is that you get her to agree the arrears going back and at some point you offset those against the legal action she may take.

If there was no new AST then the original tenancy stands and she is now in a Statutory Period tenancy on same terms. That reduces your liability to only screwing up on one tenancy agreement.

Now if you had some backdated letter (that she signed agreement of) somewhere that said you agreed to start a new tenancy and you were not taking a deposit until she had sorted herself out financially but meanwhile you would put any monies taken towards arrears of previous debt, then you would be fine. No deposit taken means no protection required. Such an agreement would have to be accompanies by a new AST that said Landlord agrees that a deposit was not going to be taken until previous arrears had been settled and tenant at such time the tenancy would be protected.

Is pretty dodgy, it could be written with current date as a confirmation of what was verbally agreed at the time. You could even agree there was no new tenancy until she had cleared arrears. That she was still in Stat Periodic, Husband was still a party but did not live their (their domestic arrangement are not your affair).

It really depends on what paperwork currently exists, that will determine your liability in this mess.

BTW both tenants were "jointly and severally liable for the performance of original contract" which means they both owe it, even if wife pays say 60% both owe the remaining 40%.

If you can come back with answer to questions and timeline we can perhaps make more sense of it.

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David 26th April, 2016 @ 09:51

@Arty

A landlord has a right to take monies for cleaning if it is in the tenancy agreement or if it says you will leave it in a specific state of cleanliness and you don't.

I swear this is the biggest reason tenants go after Landlords for S21 sanctions, the landlord takes £90 for cleaning on deposit of £900 and gets sued for £2700 plus costs (worst case).

So Arty your Landlord had to not only protect your deposit in an approved scheme but also to give you something called the Prescribed Information, it is a summary of where the deposit is protected, the reference number, date and amount. Both of these need to be done within 30 days of the deposit being taken.

To Prove the £200 was taken as a deposit you need an email or text from agent saying so, they could just say it was a fee but if it was returnable it IS a deposit.

Alternatively if their website says deposit is higher if you have a cat then you can save that page from your browser, I always save pages to archive.org as well, you just go to archive.org and put in the URL of the webpage, it then says it does not have a copy (or if it does so much the better) but if not you ask it to save it, then you keep the URL of the saved page for reference, it will have todays date but is a least a record.

Q1. So what you need to check is when the £695 was protected, was it within 30 days of being taken?

Q2. Do you have the email from agent admitting they have the £895 deposit, the housing act says you are not allowed to call a deposit something else, so it is not critical but it helps.

Q3. Do you agree that these “repairs” need to be done, did you damage property or is Landlord trying to get you to fund his business, be honest so I can assess your way forward.

Do not use the word compensation because a lot of people hate it, use the word “Sanction” it is what S214 of the housing act calls them.

I bet they wish they could pay you £200 to settle this case, because you save the best till last.

THIS IS A LESSON FOR LANDLORDS

“This agent is no longer using this protection scheme and is already arranging another things to protect your deposit. Please contact your landlord to understand your situation”

THIS COULD MEAN THE DEPOSIT IS NO LONGER PROTECTED.

So first thing you do is get informed, you need to check the deposit has not been moved to another scheme

Q4. Go check here and report back

mydeposits.co.uk/tenants/deposit-checker/

and here

depositprotection.com/is-my-deposit-protected

You also need to go back to TDS and confirm what details it had,

Q5. When was deposit originally protected? (Amount and Date)

Q6. When was it transferred to another scheme (date)

Up until April 1st 2016 TDS was not a custodial scheme, it was an insurance scheme, which means the agent held the money but it was insured.

THIS IS THE LESSON FOR LANDLORDS

An agent can be kicked out of TDS for fraud or just say they are changing scheme and YOU are liable for the non protection of deposit!!

Q7. So Arty, it does not matter about the £200 as much as it matters did they move the deposit to another scheme?

Q8. Did they issue you with NEW Prescribed Information within 30 days of that change?

Let me know what you find,

when was TDS deposit originally protected and for how much? When did TDS protection end? Did you find deposit on any of other schemes, you may need to try different dates, they could have put the date they ended the TDS scheme or they could have it listed as a transfer, if you can’t find it call them both, ask them if they have any protection for that address in your surname for any date?

If you answer the questions above I can post a letter telling you what you write to Landlord, but it looks as if you can at least get 1x deposit plus your deposit back in full. Plus a good reference. If you did damage property you may be better to settle for the 1x deposit and positive reference.

However, to get there we have to first obtain the facts and put the fear if God into them by serving them with the facts and saying you have a claim for 3x the deposit and the return of your deposit plus any legal costs in obtaining same via the Court.

As I always say, this is poker and we just show a few cards at first. Our objective is to settle, but first we have to dance.

You have to give people a little info at a time and let them sleep on it, first WHAM, a demand for 3x deposit worded in such a way and await their response.

It is a LOSS so expect them to go through bereavement process, Denial, Anger, Sorrow, Depression and then Acceptance.

Once they accept they are liable we can start negotiating, but we will do that slowly, not giving anything away without something in return.

They may blame Agent but you will say that is not your problem, Law says they are liable and if they wish to later sue the Agent that is up to them.

I have had a Landlord get the Agents pay 3x deposit!

It took two firms of lawyers and knowing how to deal with the agent who was a total scumbag, hence idea to hold him responsible came from me!

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Advice Greatly Rec'd 3rd May, 2016 @ 19:31

Hi David,

I wonder if you could provide some further advice for me if possible, I received a further reply from my LL from my last letter (details of my letter in post #170 above).

His response is as follows:

"Thank you for your letter of x received by e-mail and post, both signed by Mr X only.

We regret to note you view our letter of x as our attempt to threaten, intimidate and bully you. It was simply a statement of facts, which cannot be considered a threat.

As a matter of fact, you will know that a Judge has the jurisdiction to award between one and three times the amount of the deposit. Your case is purely and simply a money claim for your deposit not being protected within the 30 days time window due to a clerical error, which has not been financially detrimental to you and will be for the amount you believe will be awarded. There is no guarantee how much, if any, of your legal adviser's costs may be awarded as this is a money claim and costs awarded are generally minimal and certainly nowhere near your potential costs of upwards of £300 per hour referred to in your letter of x.

May we respectfully remind you that you both gave your written agreement on your Inventory as follows: "It is agreed that we the undersigned, will leave the property redecorated at the end of the tenancy in vinyl silk magnolia on the walls, white ceilings and white gloss on the woodwork, the hand rails and spindles will be painted with matt varnish." This was because of the poor state Mr X's parents left the property in on their vacation of it. Mr X's mother verbally agreed to assist you with the redecoration before we released their deposit.

It is more than conceivable this situation could become a war of attrition. We do not believe that will achieve anything other than to ramp up stress levels generally for all concerned and still be no further forward.

In your without prejudice letter dated X in point 2 you have stated the amount of compensation as £2,100 (1.5x the initial deposit) calculated as half of the maximum a court can award. Our response offered the sum of £1,400 (1x the initial deposit.) In your letter dated X point 3 you are now seeking 2.5x the deposit (3,500.) I am not sure how a court will interpret your new terms as an "amicable out of court settlement", or why you now expect us to pay close to the maximum award! We, therefore, propose the following:

- We pay the sum of £1,750 in full and final settlement in respect of your claim for compensation in respect of S214 sanctions, this sum to be paid immediately upon receiving the acceptance of you and your wife. Although we note you had a joint bank account at the start of your tenancy Mrs X to provide a written undertaking authorising the payment is made to the bank account of X - (my bank details included).
- The property is inspected the day after you have vacated it, subject to the property being returned in accordance with your signed Inventory (signed inventory is underlined) the deposit to be returned in full, subject to any deductions within 48 hours and subject to receiving said undertaking to pay the deposit to the bank account of Mr X.
- If this full and final settlement is accepted, then in either party commences any form of legal action in respect of S214 matters, we expect the court to dismiss the action and award costs/compensation against the claimant for making a false and potentially libellous claim.

In response to your statement "if you do not accept this offer, I must point out the following"

- Our position remains in that we will issue Section 13(2) notice increasing your rent from £1,000 to £1,300 per calendar month exclusive. You are within your right to refer this to a rent assessment officer, who will no doubt contact us, although the increase will be effective from X.
- We have commented on the matter of costs awarded in the county courts and if you instruct a solicitor to attend we will challenge any unrealistic award for costs. We are not disputing your claim for compensation, only the financial aspect and we do not believe there is any need for you to appoint legal representation as your letters demonstrate you are adequately equipped to present your own case.
- Any claim issued by you we will request a further attempt at mediation. We believe this service is offered by the court in an attempt to save the need for a hearing that will occupy unnecessary court time.
- We note your wife has NOT signed your letter dated X. This may be a genuine oversight, or it may be quite deliberate. Regarding the letter that you intend to include in any court proceedings this is something we will seek to express our concern to on the basis your wife appears not to share your position in this matter.

On Monday X we received an e-mail from X Council, which read as follows: "Mr and Mrs X have applied to this Authority for housing as they have been served a Section 21 to vacate X on X." We have been requested to provide detailed information as the Council is investigating the "circumstances surrounding Mr and Mrs X's forthcoming homelessness." We consider it inappropriate for us to issue a response to the Council's request for information under the S214 matter has been resolved.

Yours sincerely"

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Advice Greatly Rec'd 3rd May, 2016 @ 20:16

Now, this got my back up a bit and I could really do with some help and if possible direction for yet another reply.

My initial concerns are as follows:

1. I know he is going to try and stick us as much as he can for the deposit to reclaim as much of the compensation he pays us. That is partly why I want to try and get a minimum 2x as compensation to offset any deduction from the deposit. (I'm hoping for a total of 2.5x-3x as a minimum, including the repaid deposit less deductions) I am however dubious of letting it drag out past when we vacate in case the judge throws the claim out saying we have since left and had the deposit repaid (this should still leave him liable for S214 sanctions but am something I am concerned could happen).

2. The whole redecoration/Inventory threats etc.
Obviously I want to keep my outlay to get the property acceptable when we leave as low as possible. I don't know the legal stand point here, he made notes I believe when we moved out (was a joint check-out for my departing parents and check-in for us). However, I only recall signing a tenancy agreement on the day and not an Inventory (I could be mistaken though). We did (both myself, my wife and my mother) verbally confirm we would be happy taking it on as it was from my parents and would sort out redecorating etc. when we left.

I received the inventory through over 2 months after moving in (I have the covering letter here still).
The letter reads:
"I have documented the fixtures on the enclosed Inventory, there are two identical copies. The "Tenant Copy", as evidence of condition.
The second copy, marked "Landlord Copy" once you have confirmed the contents are in order, needs to be signed on page 4 and returned to me as soon as possible. Should you disagree with any items or conditions then please mark this and initial the amendment. I will then write to you providing my comments and decision of your disagreement."

Unfortunately I don't have my copy any more, I think it amended both copies and sent them back for him to add his comments. If not I have misplaced it. I recall amending the inventory regarding the condition of the carpets but can't recall if I made any other amendments. He also never replied back afterwards.

Even with the signed copy of the inventory, saying what he said in his letter regarding the detailed requirements of redecoration, alongside the verbal confirmation from us and my mum regarding redecoration, would this be considered fair to expect this of us?

I understand from your previous posts there is an element of protection for tenants regardless of what is included in contracts etc. as it is deemed they are in a vulnerable position entering into a tenancy and thus it depends what is considered reasonable. We were young and naive at the time and this was/is our first ever tenancy, we did/said what we thought needed to be done in order to get everything done. However, it seems as if the LL is just using us to put right his property in order to sell it with little to no outlay himself. Although the duration of my parents and our tenancy (as nothing was done in between) has been over 6 years so surely he should be expected to redecorate himself and not lumber it all on us?

Regarding where we are now, it is clear he has misunderstood/misread my correspondence/stance. The reality is my initial offer was low and set at a level where I genuinely expected him to just snap my arm off and accept it with little to no hassle. It wasn't greedy and I felt it left no room for negotiation . He obviously had other ideas and I think since then his mindset is if I initially wanted 1.5x he can get me down a bit lower (hence the 1x and 1.25x derisory offers). In truth, the more digging I have done, his attitude/threats etc. and more time I have spent has now made me want no less than 2x at the very least.

I wonder if it is worth pointing this out to him and reiterating the following which he clearly has not grasped:

1. My initial offer was more than generous and was not up for negotiation. As mentioned previously based on his original reply and derisory counter offer, this offer is null and void. Based on subsequent events, I will no longer accept this original amount.
2. His counter offers are nothing short of derisory, with no incentive to settle out of court.
3. He is failing to grasp that although paying me 2.5x as compensation is just shy of the maximum award, he would still be saving himself considerable court fees by doing so, thus still making it greatly beneficial for him to do.
4. Given the circumstances I am confident that I would receive a min. 2x in court but would actually not be surprised and would push for the max. 3x. Although the initial error could be considered somewhat minor, and the protection was only slightly late. Once the error was identified on the information available one can only assume he intentionally acted with malice so as to not bring attention to the error sooner. This is based on the fact that the deposit was protected with false information (date deposit paid) so as to remove the ability of me checking the status of the deposit myself online, and although all correspondence was done via e-mail and thus he clearly had this information to hand this was omitted from the information when protecting the deposit (along with including their address for tenant correspondence) thus ensuring I would not receive an e-mail confirmation once it was protected. Further to this, they still did not issue me with the PI once the deposit was protected and only issued this in 2016 (over 2.5 years after we moved in) and conveniently days before issuing a S21. In addition to this he is also a professional LL and should have really known better and cannot blame something so important on a clerical error so as to mitigate his legal responsibilities.
5. He can try and flatter me all he likes but I am not a professional in these matters, nor would I profess to be. I am entitled to the best legal aid available and although ultimately it is the court's decision regarding costs, it is highly likely that a costs order would be made to cover my costs (somewhat regardless of the amount - although I assume there would be some consideration on this).
6. At this point I have not incurred any legal fees and as such am not seeking to recover any from him, by not accepting my terms it leaves me no choice but to let experts deal with it. Something which again will greatly increase any settlement figures/his costs in court.

To clarify a few things as well, should it be important:

- My wife didn't sign the last letter as I sent it at work, this was to expedite sending it. She is fully supportive of everything and I think he is just clutching at straws by suggesting she is not in agreement with me.
- We are still adamant that we will move out by the S21 deadline, as such we won't challenge the S13(2) notice which was hand delivered separately a couple of days after his letter. (Unless we are advised otherwise).

I must admit I haven't spoken to Shelter yet, my initial thought was wait for his latest reply and if needed then instruct solicitors to deal with it. However I would rather avoid that if needed as obviously I would want to add any of their fee's onto any settlement and it could drag it out longer etc. (Although they would no doubt rip him a new one! which he clearly deserves).

I genuinely think I am going to struggle for him to change his way of thinking and realise he would be far better settling out of court, even at 2.5-3x compensation. I think he is almost waiting for court action to then offer more realistic settlement terms through mediation.

Thanks so much again and sorry for the massive posts/rants!

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Advice Greatly Rec'd 3rd May, 2016 @ 20:22

He made notes when we moved in not moved out sorry (we are still in the property, the S21 ends on 23/5).

I also forgot to mention I also don't like the idea of the property being inspected after we have vacated it, thus giving us no ability to challenge anything at the time, nor the opportunity to rectify it ourselves.

We are planning on moving out the weekend of the 14/15th then spending the following week cleaning/decorating as required etc.

We hoped to have a check out Fri 20th and all being well handing the keys back then, but if not and assuming there was disputes we would still have the weekend to fix any issues that arose during the check-out and then have another check out/hand keys back on 23/5 if required.

He however seems to not want this, can I somehow enforce this? Else I have little chance for any remedial action that may be required.

I will video the property on vacating but am still concerned he will be hell-bent on making us pay as much as physically possible due to the S214 claim.

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David 4th May, 2016 @ 21:10

@Advice Greatly Rec'd

I am not really surprised and it is completely normal that he has put your back up.

You have a good instinct and a good grasp of the situation; some people just need to get a bloody nose because they feel everything is someone else's fault.

Basically he has responded with more threats and tried to blackmail you by saying he will not respond to the Council until S214 is resolved. It is and will be seen as more intimidation.

He WILL try to screw you on the deposit and he WILL try to make things difficult with the Council, because it is all he has.

Yes he is pointing out that Mrs X is a party but that is fine, it is not illegal for one party to write and quite normal.

The reality is that he has twice now threatened and intimidated you, one cannot negotiate with a rabid dog but we will give him one final letter for the benefit of the Court.

If you feel happy with it I would do it plain, no WP and then you quote everything that has happened thus far including what he said in his WP letters (not verbatim).

If he does not respond favourably then you just accept you will take him to Court and you will use a lawyer and Counsel. All Court fees and legal costs are recoverable.

It REALLY is your interest to use a specialist Lawyer like Andrew Gold in London, Giles Peaker is a great lawyer there and writes the Nearly Legal Housing Law Blog.

As I have said before this is a game of poker, he has a poor hand but you have to go all in to see it and win.

It is clear from his response that there is no way to deal with him in a reasonable manner. In his own words he just wants WAR, so we let the Court decide.

He has tried to create Fear Uncertainty and Doubt but it is all waffle with no legal foundation.

So we now have to separate the legal issues, as explained in the letter below which I suggest you send immediately before appointing the Solicitor.

==

Dear Mr Landlord

Thank you for your letter of

Sadly it is yet more intimidation and threats and the Court will see this for what it is.

We are aware of the S214 sanction range and we have taken advice on making a fair and reasonable offer based on your breach of the law. We are advised that is has nothing to do with financial detriment to the tenant, it is a punitive amount that the Judge decides based on the level of the infraction and the conduct of the Landlord. The deposit was not protected within 30 days, (1x Sanction), the PI was not issued within 30 days, (2x Sanction), the PI was not issued until immediately prior to the issue of the S21 notice (3x Sanction), the impact of this and other actions by the Landlord was that the Tenant had no meaningful protection at all. (3x Sanction assured).

Based on this specific case we are confidently advised that the award will be 3x the deposit (£4200) plus the return of the £1400 deposit plus an award of our legal costs. We WILL be represented by Counsel as we are not officers of the Court, these are complicated issues, we have attempted to settle without legal costs on both sides and your repeated threats, vexatious behaviour and referral to this becoming “a war of attrition”, something we are ill equipped to fight.

Again we have been conservatively advised that costs are likely to be circa £3000 plus Court fees and circa £8700 if the matter goes to appeal (I would point out that you must first have ground for appeal, which do not include your not liking the Judge’s decision as asserted in your previous correspondence). We would draw your attention to Civil Procedure Rules Part 36 Offers. You have been fully advised on the consequences of potential costs in this matter. I would point out that we have received legal advice already and our attempts to settle thus far have been drafted by a professional. We urge you to take your own legal advice.

As you have repeatedly declined earlier offers to settle this matter we feel you leave us no choice but to continue with legal action. Previous offers were made based on circumstances at the time and in a genuine attempt at amicable settlement, they were met with a barrage of threats and intimidation which have been repeated and even increased in your latest correspondence.

To simplify maters we are formally informing you how we will be proceeding; we will be separating the matters of dispute as follows:

SECTION 13 YOUR THREAT TO ILLEGALLY INCREASE RENT BY 30%
1. We will be leaving the property on the day prescribed in the legally valid Section 21 notice issued on XXX

THREATS OF DEPOSIT DEDUCTIONS

2. We will leave this for the MyDeposits arbitration procedure to work out as we want no further abuse from you.
3. We ask that you provide copies of any alleged signed inventory and/or agreements by return.
4. We will be taking our own inventory, making a video of the condition of the property and we invite you or your agent to be present when we depart. Failing which the keys will be put through the letterbox and this will be filmed too.

BREACH OF HOUSING ACT, DEPOSIT PROTECTION AND PRESCRIBED INFORMATION

5. We will be instructing Solicitors in this matter, you can avoid this by settling this matter in full and final settlement by paying 3x the deposit £4200 into the following account in 5 days (by 12pm on May 10th 2016). You will note that this letter is signed by myself and my wife.
6. We respectfully reject your suggestion of mediation as we have already been trying to settle this matter, we are vulnerable tenants with children, our family has suffered enough stress and abuse from you. We have given you several attempts to avoid wasting the Courts time and you have remained vexatious and belligerent. You have even tried to blackmail us by refusing to respond to Local Authority Housing enquiries.

We are very disappointed that you have not embraced our very real offers to settle this matter, each time you come back with more abuse we are forced to take legal advice, we URGE you to accept this our FINAL offer in Full and Final settlement of the S214 claim.

To be clear, there is no more negotiation, we have given you plenty of opportunity to settle, the opportunity above is your last chance to settle.

Yours Sincerely

==

I will write further about the deposit and OFT356 etc

I will also write some detail you may want to give your Solicitor to amend and include in his brief.

Meanwhile can you clarify what you meant by the changes he made to the date he collected the deposit, what form was that on? If it was on the PI or the S21 it might invalidate the S21.

You need to get your ducks in a row, do a "subject access request" from my deposits on everything they have on paper and on computer on you including emails. This will show he gave them his address which can be construed as an attempt to circumvent the Deposit Regs.

One thing, do NOT tell the Council or Landlord that you intend to leave before 27th May, they will usually only house you directly, if you go stay with someone you are not homeless and if you leave them you make yourself homeless. Your final day needs to be 27th unless Council tell you to go to their accommodation earlier.

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David 4th May, 2016 @ 21:34

BTW just so you know if he declines the Solicitor will be making one final offer to settle which will be a proper Part 36 offer and letter before action, the settlement will be the 3x plus legal costs for the drafting of said letter.

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Advice Greatly Rec'd 5th May, 2016 @ 13:12

@David

I know I keep saying this but I seriously cannot thank you enough for your help, I only wish I could actually do/gift you something as a token of my appreciation. I will enquire with the moderator if he is happy to pass my details onto you if possible so you can contact me directly and I can thank you properly.

Regarding your posts, I am happy to send your drafted letter exactly as it is - I won't amend anything this time I promise :). However, before I do this I thought it best to clarify a few things you asked etc. to see whether it impacts anything and requires any amendments to the letter.

You mentioned not WP'ing my letter and to refer to what he said in his WP'd letters (but not verbatim). My last letter was not WP'd neither was his last response (although my first settlement letter and his response were). In his last letter he also used this tactic by referring to my initial WP'd settlement offer terms. What exactly should I include in relation to this or does your draft letter already cover this sufficiently?

I will definitely appoint Andrew Gold as/when required, I initially emailed David Smith @ Andrew Gold regarding costs etc. and if the matter isn’t resolved based on this final letter I will contact them again and look to appoint either David, Giles or whomever is available (and obviously experienced) in these matters.

Regarding changes, the documentation we have regarding the deposit/PI etc. is as follows:

- PI from Mydeposits which appears to be a generic PI that they use, it contains some information but for some parts it says to refer to the separate deposit certificate (I assume this is their standard practice and is acceptable)

- Mydeposits protection certificate - this document is what contains incorrect information. (The date the deposit was paid is incorrect).

Even if this results in the S21 being invalid, I would still rather vacate the property now and instead use this as further ammunition/argument for him to accept my settlement and as such I will not draw attention to the invalidation of the S21 that he is attempting to use to regain possession.

I will not tell the LL/council we are vacating early. The council have already agreed based on my daughters impending operation that we can vacate at the end of the S21 and not be considered voluntarily homeless but not before (they did say we could go a few days before if needed in order to move out over the weekend). The S21 expires 23/5. I will still be living at the property until that day, at which time there will either be a check-out done or if not I will return the keys and video this as you suggest. My family will be moving out next weekend and sofa surfing in the words of the council until alternative housing is arranged (they said by moving in with family this would not detriment our housing application) but for all concerned they are not officially moving in with family until 23/5. The only problem we have is that due to the road we live on we need to get the council to suspend parking bays outside our house for a removal vehicle. We were obviously wanting/needing this to be next weekend, will this cause problems? Could we just say we were moving some furniture into storage (which is the truth) in anticipation of moving out on the 23rd (or the weekend before), but are still living at the property until the end of the S21.

I will also get the SAR request sorted with Mydeposits now as suggested.

Thanks again!

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David 9th May, 2016 @ 23:03

The removals to storage is a good idea, where would you move it anyway? Councils do not have properties waiting, they will put you in temporary accomodation which is basically furnished.

Then you will join a choice based bidding system to bid on social or affordable housing, (social is cheaper but is now limited because the Goverment wants rid of it). You could be on that system for a few months to a year but once you secure accomodation you will usually be offered a 6 year tenancy (with 1 year probationary) by a housing association.

I would firm up the arrangements with the Council, ask them where they will be sending you. Then do what they say, I am over cautious but some Councils do terrible stuff.

I do not think the letters need changing, I think all parties will be happy for the Court to see the WP letters and can say so. He because he thinks it is relevant to show you increased your offers and you because you want to show the threats.

I have dealt with people like your landlord before, they sometimes need a smack, the lawyers letter may knock some sense into him but it should make the same offer as the latest with a small fee of say £350 for the Lawyer writing the letter.

It is quicksand, the more he struggles the more he loses, if he had not made the threats etc you could have reasoned with him, but there was no reasoning. He broke the law and he has to pay.

The false details on the deposit form are great, they are another reason why you would never have found your deposit.

So if you had not brought this action, you would have done the cleaning and redecorating the kids rooms. He would have taken all your deposit and you would be high and dry.

You see when you search for a deposit you search by date deposit made, the amount and the address, if all three do not match they do not show anything.

I would put it to the Court that the deposit was protected late but the Landlord deliberately provided misinformation. e.g. his own address and changing the date of deposit.

The PI was only provided in order to satisfy S21 obligations so was not issued throughout the whole tenancy. It also failed to list the deposit details, referring to another document is not adequate because such documents may or may not have been served. I have seen these blanket template versions challenged before and the Judge said they did not comply with the act.

No need for a gift, just take care of your family, you have a difficult stepping stone of homelessness to get through, but you will feel secure in due course.

As I said before you have good instincts, not fighting the S21 is a good one, not only does it remove some stress and further abuse but it shows you have attempted to be reasonable. In fact that is how your lawyer will portray you, as trying to be reasonable from the start which your Landlord took as weakness and became threatening and abusive.

You responded firmly because he was intransigent in an effort to make him see sense but the abuse, blackmail and threats continued to the end.

Make sure you video everything, because he clearly thinks that by avoiding a checkout he can suggest more should be taken. I am not recommending this but getting an agent in after you have cleaned it to get a valuation for letting and then asking them about what they would recommend needs doing and getting them to email you their suggestions, is an idea. they are an independent 3rd party and professional.

You could ask them do they think the carpets are OK or do they think wear and tear means they really need replacing.

Do update this thread with your progress!

I hope the idiot settles but sadly I know the type, unless he has a wife or someone to pull his leash he is just a rabid dog.

This is what the PI should have

legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/797/article/2/made

Prescribed information relating to tenancy deposits

2.—(1) The following is prescribed information for the purposes of section 213(5) of the Housing Act 2004 (“the Act”)—

(a)the name, address, telephone number, e-mail address and any fax number of the scheme administrator(1) of the authorised tenancy deposit scheme(2) applying to the deposit;

(b)any information contained in a leaflet supplied by the scheme administrator to the landlord which explains the operation of the provisions contained in sections 212 to 215 of, and Schedule 10 to, the Act(3);

(c)the procedures that apply under the scheme by which an amount in respect of a deposit may be paid or repaid to the tenant at the end of the shorthold tenancy(4) (“the tenancy”);

(d)the procedures that apply under the scheme where either the landlord or the tenant is not contactable at the end of the tenancy;

(e)the procedures that apply under the scheme where the landlord and the tenant dispute the amount to be paid or repaid to the tenant in respect of the deposit;

(f)the facilities available under the scheme for enabling a dispute relating to the deposit to be resolved without recourse to litigation; and

(g)the following information in connection with the tenancy in respect of which the deposit has been paid—

(i)the amount of the deposit paid;

(ii)the address of the property to which the tenancy relates;

(iii)the name, address, telephone number, and any e-mail address or fax number of the landlord;

(iv)the name, address, telephone number, and any e-mail address or fax number of the tenant, including such details that should be used by the landlord or scheme administrator for the purpose of contacting the tenant at the end of the tenancy;

(v)the name, address, telephone number and any e-mail address or fax number of any relevant person;

(vi)the circumstances when all or part of the deposit may be retained by the landlord, by reference to the terms of the tenancy; and

(vii)confirmation (in the form of a certificate signed by the landlord) that—

(aa)the information he provides under this sub-paragraph is accurate to the best of his knowledge and belief; and

(bb)he has given the tenant the opportunity to sign any document containing the information provided by the landlord under this article by way of confirmation that the information is accurate to the best of his knowledge and belief.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(d), the reference to a landlord or a tenant who is not contactable includes a landlord or tenant whose whereabouts are known, but who is failing to respond to communications in respect of the deposit.

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Advice greatly rec'd 11th May, 2016 @ 18:00

Hi David

I sent the letter yesterday, other than a couple of tiny amendments (such as amending the deadline date to 16/5) I didn't alter it and most importantly kept it at the max 3x award this time :)

We shall see if he suddenly see's sense, I unfortunately doubt this though based on his previous correspondence. Looks like I will be contacting Andrew Gold next week to take over dealing with things.

I have arranged the suspended bays and cited the reason as removals of the bulk of our belongings to storage in anticipation of vacating the property on 23/5 at the end of the S21. The council don’t own any properties where I live, they sold them off years ago so they are reliant on local housing associations allocations, which are obviously hugely oversubscribed so we are likely to experience a wait for housing of approx. 6-12months at least I would think.

They also have no spaces in their temporary accommodation (halfway houses I assume) and as such would have to house us in a B&B with our belongings in storage. Because of this they said we can sofa surf with friends/family if there is someone that would house us but this would not cause any detriment to our application for housing. This is why we are moving in with in-laws (something which is far from ideal but beats homelessness or living in a B&B and many have it far worse so we can’t complain too much) 4 adults and 3 kids sharing a 3 bed house with 1 bathroom is not going to be fun, but we will make do and get on with it.

As it stands, one thing I am considering (in the highly unlikely event he agrees to the latest offer and pays the 3x sanction) is just to leave the property completely and let him keep the full deposit and walk away. Is this advisable? I am obviously worried he would try and come after me for more than the deposit, is this realistically a likely outcome? I have only recent started to come round to considering this as in principle I feel an obligation to leave the property in an acceptable condition (clean, fix any damage we caused, redecorate the kids bedrooms which he did allow us to decorate subject to putting it back neutral on vacating the property etc.) as I like to fulfil my obligations. However, given his recent behavior I have a lot of people (my wife included) saying to just move out and walk away and let him keep the full deposit as we would still have the 3x sanction money. I would appreciate your thoughts on this?

I did contact the site owner with my contact details and asked if they would pass them onto you, they have not replied to me so I don’t know whether they have done this. I appreciate your comments regarding taking care of my family but I would really like to thank you personally as you have made such a stressful experience that bit easier to bear and for that I am eternally thankful. Over the last few weeks in addition to all of the current stresses we have (my impending consultation at work to see whether I will be made redundant as part of the merger, our 5 month daughters upcoming operation to repair her cleft palate, in addition to the homelessness) my wife’s grandad has been very ill and been hospitalised simply waiting to die effectively so she has been spending a lot of her time at the hospital with him.

I will have a look over the PI when I get home to see if it meets the requirements you mentioned, I don’t think it does however. I am certain most of the information refers to the separate deposit protection certificate (i.e. names/deposit amount/address etc.) the PI itself only really includes the generic info about the scheme (all of mydeposits info). So it is nice to know that this is something the Judge may not accept as complying with the act anyway.

Thanks again

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David 12th May, 2016 @ 14:13

I would advise you do what you said you would do as far as redecoration, for me it is a principle, I always leave a place better than I find it if the Landlord gives me appropriate time. By not doing it you give him ammunition for the Court, you want to be Mr Nice Guy who complies with the law and him the Ogre.

The Council may be happy to allow your inlaws to take the strain but make sure this does affect your priority. Wait to see where you are on the bidding system, it usually takes a max of 42 working days to get the assessment of vulnerability. You need it to say you are "accepted homeless, in priority need and unintentionally so".

Sofa surfing is homeless, most people can only do this for a limited period as you lose friends but inlaws will love having your children for a while.

Worst case scenario your inlaws throw you out because they can't stand living with you which is how a lot of people are being housed these days. (Funny thing is a lot of Travellers are throwing their kids out at 16, pregnant and with a partner).

If you are in B&B they have to move you to temp accom in 6 weeks I think and it has to be in district (from your local connection). Once in Temp Accom they have a max of two years but the pressure comes on before a year because of the massive demand. Most Councils are breaking the law but they have to show they are actively moving people along.

The bidding system will be a lottery, you are best to bid on 3 properties (max) until you are in the top 10 and even then scan the priority dates of who is getting awarded properties you bid on. Then when you get to top 5 you can bid on 1 place as it is your only way to make a choice.

You should expect it to take around 10 weeks to go through each level from over 20th, 10 to 20, 6 to 10, Top 5 (these vary by Council some just list your place)

Bidding a lot shows participation and gets you brownie points, people that do not bid enough get bidding done for them. By bidding a lot early on your average will be high.

In Social housing it is a real lottery, you could be in a Council inherited old property that has a very low rent, a new build from the last 15 years that also has a lowish rent or you could have an "affordable rent" which is at LHA rate. Social rents are typically at 66% of LHA rate. They are ideal because they are affordable

I spoke to a Housing Association this morning who told me they are not doing any more social housing because of Government changes. As I have predicted elsewhere on this blog, they are screwed. Without the obligation to developers to build 20% "social" and the obligation to sell properties they have the numbers do not add up. If you have to buy land at market rates, build at market rates there is no way you can afford to rent below market rates. They all work on borrowed money and have already mortgaged their existing stock.

Anyway, see how things go, do the redecorating and cleaning for your own self respect. I know he will be complaining anyway but if you video you will get all or most of your deposit back.

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David 12th May, 2016 @ 14:18

Oh and he can definately come after you for more than deposit, he will get a contractor to provide an invoice and say that is what it costs to restore it to state you said you would.

However, if you have video and can show fair wear and tear for a carpet that your family have used for over 6 years and it was not new when they came in I think they will not have a hope of blaming you for condition of it.

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Advice 19th May, 2016 @ 22:51

Hi David

I wonder if you could help me, as you know I sent my last letter to the LL on Tuesday 10/5 giving until 12pm today (16/5) to either pay 3x sanction or I would instruct solicitors to take over the matter.

I received an email on Friday 13/5 from I can only assume an office administrator saying that both he and the other director are away from the office and will not return until 31/5 and neither have internet access but will respond on their return.

I think this is purely a delaying tactic, this way they cannot send me the inventory before I vacate so I have no copy of the document they are going to base their check-out inspection with. It also buys them time to see what state I leave the property before responding to me.

What are my options here, seeing they received my letter on 10/5 as I emailed it as well as posting it, it is strange (although not completely unquestionable) that they would have a 3 week holiday (assuming they are in fact away).

I was thinking of replying asking when they left and why they didn’t respond sooner, and given the nature of the letter and the very real threat of legal action (if they fail to act suitably to come to a settlement). I would also expect the person in charge has the ability of contacting them whilst they are away for urgent matters (which this must surely be classed as).

I also wonder what they are planning on doing with my deposit as I was led to believe they had 10 days to return it post my vacating the property, unless they raise disputes. Although the 10 days runs until 2/6, it doesn’t leave them much time (although they only need a day to view it and then raise the no-doubt long list of frivolous disputes).

Thanks as always J

Regarding the previous post, thank you – I agree with you and thus I am undergoing extensive work to bring the property to a standard I am comfortable with as a matter of principle and what I feel far exceeds that when we took it over.

I will be cleaning the entire property inc. all the paintwork, filling all holes, applying one coat of paint to the walls throughout the property to freshen it up (inc. ceilings in the bathrooms where there is slight signs of mold), touching up the gloss etc. as required (I simply will not have time to re-do all the woodwork and think this should suffice). Cleaning the carpets (ourselves), professionally cleaning the oven. As well as tidying up the garden and having all curtains cleaned and ironed and windows cleaned inside and out. Any damaged items will be replaced (a couple of bathroom fixtures broke due to poor design so I will replace the whole set so it still matches as well as all of the light shades as some are damaged so again I will replace them all so they still match).

I am not sure if our council does it differently as I don’t think it is a bidding system from when we were on the list previously, you are simply on the waiting list until you are offered a property. You can turn down two but if you don’t take the third you are then taken off the list.

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Advice 19th May, 2016 @ 23:00

As an update (been trying to post the last message for several days but kept getting an error)..

I wrote an email to the LL on tues saying:

Good afternoon Mrs X

Thank you for your email.

Could you please confirm from what date Mr x and Mrs X (the company directors) have been away from the office?

I sent my letter via email and 1st class post on Tuesday 10th May and was only informed on Friday 13th May that they are away from the office until Tuesday 31st May (3 weeks from receipt of my letter) and from your email it appears as if they are not contactable during this time.

Given the severity of the circumstances and the very real threat of legal action if a settlement is not reached, I would have thought that someone would have the ability of contacting them whilst they are away. This would give them an opportunity of obtaining internet access in order to attempt to settle matters without the need of them incurring additional expense by my appointing of legal counsel (whose fees would be added to any future settlement offers).

In my letter to them, I requested a copy of the inventory they hold for X (our property), of which they have made several references to in previous correspondence. Given the Section 21 notice expires before they return, can you please locate and forward me a copy of this in their absence?

And I received a reply yesterday simply saying:

Mr X will be away until 1st June.

Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

As it was sent from a mobile I assume he sent it himself as although he may have staff monitoring the inbox temporarily I doubt they have access via a mobile.

What are my options here, should I just appoint the solicitors now? I'm conscious the S21 expires Monday so I won't get the inventory before I go although I will video the property on vacating it and video me handing the keys into their office.

Thanks :)

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David 21st May, 2016 @ 17:29

It is a delaying tactic

Any company has cannot avoid legal action by pretending or even being away.

You gave them the notice, appoint the solicitors who will do 1 more letter before action. Instruct Solicitor that settlement figure is 3x plus their initial fee for the letter before action.

If he ignores that the Court proceedings will start and if he ignores those you get judgement and can get high court bailiff to enforce. Alternatively as it is a company, if company name is on deed then you issue a winding up order and if he does not dispute company assets are taken.

Tell mydeposits LL refused to do joint inventory or provide copy so you took video but expect them to be vexatious.

Request deposit back from Mydeposits, LL have to query it in timeframe or you get it.

There is nothing that prevents you delaying legal action until you have your deposit back. Just do copious videos from afar and zoom into areas he is likely to damage, expecially around window frames and skirting as these are easy to damage, easy to repair but he can make look bad.

I would get an agent in as I mentioned in previous post just to ask what they think might need work.

He was never going to be easy but often the sight of a Solicitors letter and the very real prospect of going to Court will get them to pay up.

It is entirely separate from getting your deposit back, MyDeposits will refer you to arbitration if he disputes so all he can do is bitch but you will have evidence of video (stick it on YouTube and make it private, then send them MyDeposits the URL for the video.

This LL is a control freak, he thinks he can control everything because as the LL he has the upper hand, but many a landlord has paid dearly for being difficult.

He had the opportunity to settle at what was a VERY reasonable amount, instead he was abusive and cost you a substantial amount of time.

If you can go to his place of work and video him going in and coming out you can show he was indeed present and he has lied again.

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David 21st May, 2016 @ 17:46

He probably made up the AOL mobile crap

So let's verify the location of where the email was sent from, view the header of the email, instructions for this are online based on your email client (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook etc, if you say what email client you use I can explain.

In the header it will say "received from

NOT received by, Received FROM

e.g. in an email I got from ebay the header buried in it was

Received: from mxslcpool69.ebay.com (mxslcpool69.ebay.com 66.135.215.171)

We are interested in the IP address, e.g. 66.135.215.171 (the equivalent of a phone number), if he was in Germany on his mobile it would show a German server sent the email.

Visit ipaddresslocation.org which is a site that shows the location of an IP address

Scroll down to

IP Locator

enter IP address e.g. 66.135.215.171

Press enter

the results show this one is located in California

Domain: 66.135.215.171 - Whois IP Lookup
IP Address: 66.135.215.171
Hostname: mxslcpool69.ebay.com
IP Country: United States
IP Country Code: USA
IP Continent: North America
IP Region: California
IP City: Campbell
IP Latitude: 37.2803
IP Longitude: -121.9567
Organization: eBay
ISP Provider: eBay

Whatever yours says, save the page, make a copy of the header and use it to show he was being deceptive when you present evidence to Court.

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Lill 28th May, 2016 @ 12:48

Hi. Gave landlord deposit April 2014. It's now may 2016 still wasn't done until today. I wrote to him on 13th May to say we will be taking it to court. He wrote back offered our deposit and £250. I've declined our deposit was £900. Today he has protected our deposit as I requested. Can I still take him to court for compensation? After he offered £250 comp and our deposit bk? This man makes us wait a year past our gas checks etc and leaves us with no heat and water pouring into electrics. He just doesn't want to do anything but is doing repairs now we have threatened court. We live in a house which he has turned into 2flats but it's still 1 house if u get me. No flat registered on elections roll. Only 1 council tax bill for 2 flats which he pays funny enough. The flat up stairs has to come into our home to get into his. Do u get the picture of the landlord lol. Do I take him for comp or have I screwed it by not accepting our deposit bk and the £250 offer?

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Simon Pambin 28th May, 2016 @ 21:33

Hi Lill. On the contrary, the only way you might have blown it is if you'd accepted his paltry offer in full and final settlement. The fact he's protected your deposit now is largely irrelevant. He did it two years too late!

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David 29th May, 2016 @ 08:20

Hey @Lill

Simon is right.

Do not call it compensation though; refer to it as the law does, as a sanction.

The Housing act says that a Judge MUST sanction BETWEEN 1 and 3 x the deposit and return the Deposit itself (albeit after the legitimate deductions for breakages, not wear and tear. You can see from posts above some landlords try to get some of the money back by suggesting you damaged the property. It is total BS and you can have that decided by a 3rd party if he tries it.

Now the Housing Act ALSO says that within 30 days not only does he have to protect the deposit but he has to give you something called the Prescribed Information, or PI for short.

The PI tells you where the deposit is protected, the reference number, the amount protected, in whose name it is protected and some other details. As he did not protect the deposit until recently it is impossible for him to have issued the PI within 30 days.

So he failed this and if he has not given PI yet he is in still deeper trouble. Failing to do this usually means the 1x to 3x is at least 2x.

The 3x charge is usually applied if the landlord has failed in his obligations, has breached other laws (like entering the property without mutually agreed appointment), not done safety obligations or has been vexatious.

At the same time if you have gone into arrears the Judge might lower his opinion of you.

The goal here is to SETTLE, you have a very strong case because of the failure to do repairs; this means that not only will he probably be facing a sanction of 3x the deposit plus return of deposit but also Court & your legal Costs if he fails to make a settlement that the Judge thinks was reasonable.

You can see from the examples in posts above that some landlords get angry and need a slap, but you should always start by being ultra-reasonable.

This means you lay it out for him, I will cover that below but there is something else. The definition of your home as a House of Multiple Occupants or Self Contained flat,.

This person going through your front door may breach fire regulations; you need to speak to the Council re building regulations. There needs to be a clearly defined AND CONSTRUCTED escape route via a hall or fire route. Different materials must be used, the other person needs a different way out if your flat catches fire. These are called PartB reqs

bit.ly/FirePartB

If the Landlord lives in any part of the house then he may be able to argue that you are lodgers, but sounds unlikely based on what you have said.

How does the tenancy agreement describe your flat and the area it occupies?

How does it describe the other person, do they have a separate agreement?

Do you share Kitchen, Bathroom and/or Toilet?

Has he protected their deposit, bringing two actions against him would be his worst nightmare, if he did not do protect the other flat either.

This is a separate area of law; you may live in an HMO (House of Multiple occupation) or a Self Contained Flat you can see the definition here

bit.ly/hmoflat

Different Councils have decided to implement "selective" licensing for landlords, sometimes it seems like it just to make money, but on the whole it gets passed on in higher rent, ironic as it is designed to protect tenants. Some properties are mandatory for licensing based on how many people occupy the property etc.

It is beyond the scope to go into this on this thread, but you should simply clarify with your local authority the status of your property and whether your landlord requires a license. You should also make them aware of the repairs and Gas Safety Certificate issues.

One other thing, in reality in the UK, a landlord can evict you with 2 months’ notice after issuing you with a legally valid Section 21 notice (usually after the initial period of 6 months of the first Assured Shorthold Tenancy). So you can expect that to happen at some point. It can be stalled by not making it easy to deliver such a notice but in the end it will happen.

So back to your sanctions, the law says the Judge MUST charge between 1x and 3x the £900, so £2700 max, plus court costs plus your solicitor costs. You can get this if you just want to be greedy and have the patience to drag it out, but you also have to consider your conduct. If the Landlord makes a reasonable offer of settlement (set out in a certain way in accordance with Part 36 rules, his current offer is not reasonable. A part 36 offer will come from you if he does not agree to early settlement as it is all about civil procedure rules for lawyers:

bit.ly/Part36

If he makes a reasonable offer and you decline, then the Judge MIGHT decide that you do not deserve your legal costs, but you are quite within your rights to go all the way and you will always do better with a lawyer. Tenants only lose S21 cases when they try and do them by themselves, you need an advocate to maintain the image that you are this defenceless wronged person. It is also about legal language and not appearing as a money grabbing bastard or bitch.

His offer is derisory; it is less than 10% of a likely court sanction, anybody would see it as a derisory low ball offer that insults your intelligence.

So you write something like this

===
Dear Mr Landlord

Thank you for your recent offer of £250 plus the return of our deposit, this offer is derisory and is hereby rejected.

Your failure to protect our deposit with an approved scheme within 30 days means that you have broken the law. As such under S214 of the Housing Act you are subject to sanctions of up to 3x the deposit (£2700) plus the return of our deposit.

We are reliably informed that the level of breach is such that it is likely that we will be awarded the full sanction of 3x the deposit, in addition to this if we take you to Court you will also be subject to the Court Costs and our legal costs.

The fact is that you have ALSO broken the law in regard of failing to provide Gas Safety Certificates, carrying out essential repairs and your general conduct. This is also taken into account and we have reported your failures to the Local Authority. We felt we had to do this because we are tired of having to chase you and want to be able to go to sleep feeling safe.

Despite the above, we wish to resolve this matter amicably and ARE prepared to make you a settlement offer, please understand that we are making this offer so we do not have to spend more time on this matter. If we have to spend more time negotiating or chasing you then this offer will be rescinded.

Our offer for full and final settlement of this matter is as follows:

1. Landlord to pay Tenant the sum of £1350 before June 14th 2016

2. Landlord to return deposit of £900 to tenant at the end of the tenancy via the approved scheme that is holding the deposit.

3. Landlord will provide the full details of where the deposit is protected, the reference number etc (the prescribed information).

4. Landlord to provide tenant with a positive reference within 7 days (tenant will draft reference and email it to Landlord who will sign and return it).

5. Landlord to complete repairs in a timely manner and to get Gas Safety certificates promptly for as long as we remain in the property and in accordance of the law.

6. Tenant will continue to fulfil their obligations of the tenancy agreement.

Mr Landlord, the key benefit of this settlement to you is that you avoid expensive Court action, the legal costs of which may be a further £3000 or even more if the matter is appealed. Plus your own legal costs which may be a similar amount.

We both know our deposit would be returned anyway, so really you have a choice of paying £2700 plus up to £6000 in legal costs for both sides or our very reasonable offer of £1350 etc as outlined above for an amicable settlement.

I must also remind you that a Court will take a dim view of your failing to accept a reasonable offer and this may impact the award of costs against you.

To be clear, this is a one-time offer, it is not negotiable and must be agreed within 7 days or else it is rescinded and void. If we have to spend any more time on this matter or incur any further stress our offer is void.

I strongly suggest you seek legal advice or at least check S214(4) below

legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/214

Which clearly states that the Judge MUST award sanctions because you broke the law.

Please confirm your acceptance of this offer within 7 days.

Yours sincerely

Lill and Peter Tenant
====

Lill, note that the legal link above refers to the original law which was always 3x the deposit but this has been amended to between 1x and 3x.

If you are wondering how I came up with the figure for the initial offer, let me explain.

If a Landlord is not a professional, simply forgets to protect it in time and has is all other conduct been a great landlord then I recommend a 1x deposit settlement to both Landlord and tenant as the minimum along with a positive reference.

If the Landlord has not made prompt repairs, does not do Gas Certificates, lets themselves into the property without prior agreement (harassment) I recommend 1.5x deposit to tenants as opening, but full and final offer (as above).

If Landlord does not accept initial offer and or is vexatious or abusive then I increase the amount with each reply, plus I add legal costs incurred prior to any settlement or court action. So if he takes it as far as us having to get a solicitors letter then I add the cost of that letter.

It is important to note that the letter above becomes part of the evidence, they not only show you trying to resolve the matter amicably, but they put into record his malfeasance (the Gas Safety Certificates) and misfeasance (in this case failure to carry out repairs). As a tenant you are entitled to quiet enjoyment of the property, heating and hot water are part of that basic expectation.

You should also be aware that tenancies after October 2015 now have additional protection from revenge evictions (when a landlord evicts you to avoid repairs) and for Gas Safety Certificates. It is still a factor in your case but you need to report his failures to the local authority.

I hope this helps, please feel free to post any questions.

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Michelle Avida 11th June, 2016 @ 11:18

Have any tenants here found that their landlord provided false information to the deposit holding company so the deposit is protected but they have no access to it?

Things like suggested above in some posts, protected with a simular but different email, a slight difference in spelling of surname, a mobile number that was never yours. So when you search for it on the deposit sites there is no sign of it.

All things that might be explained away as clerical errors but seem to be a deliberate attempt to prevent tenant accessing deposit. It is of course illegal to do such a thing so don't get any ideas all you landlords out there!!

If you have had experience of this can you please post here or email me, making sure to mention which of the three deposit companies they used and perhaps an idea of whether they are a typical small landlord or a professional with a lot of properties.

My email is my name at yahoo dott com

I think there is a risk here for landlords too, when genuine errors are made, the prescribed information requirements are supposed to prevent tbat.

Would you landlords prefer it if you (or agent) created an account for the property and gave the tenant the details and then the themselves paid the deposit directly, verifying their information along the way.

Let me know what you think.

Cheers

Michelle Avida

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Advice greatly rec'd 15th June, 2016 @ 14:42

Hi David

Thought I'd provide a quick update.

LL finally came back RE deposit, tried moaning about a few things etc. but did agree to refund the whole deposit (subject to an undertaking from my wife as he moaned her signature didn't match his records).

I have gone back with said undertaking, signed in the presence of a witness and am awaiting the money now.

He completely ignored the compensation so I contacted Anthony gold last Monday to appoint them, they took details and said they would see if there was capacity to take the case on and get back to me. I heard nothing and finally today after chasing several times by email and phone have been advised they can't help me :(

Any ideas of who else I can use? I've tried googling some other reputable firms but struggling to find one which appears comparable to Anthony gold.

Thanks again for all your help

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David 16th June, 2016 @ 08:46

I am really surprised but to be honest they have so much work and they do a lot for the disenfranchised, I suspect they feel you do not need them as much as other clients. It may also be the area you are in.

In fact what you might do is ask Anthony Gold if they will just do you a "letter before action" with settlement offer on a paid basis. This is much easier and shows you again attempted to settle. Give them a copy of what you gave last time so they can just get the terms.

Make sure they mention that you have tried to settle the matter amicably on several occasions and that this is your last attempt. Add the cost of the letter to the settlement.

Otherwise I would look in your local area, Law Society will

solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/?Pro=

This link shows all in London who do Landlord and Tenant

bit.ly/ldnlawll

But 2500 is too many so pick a town just in your area or outside M25 in your general direction, then choose a second area of mediation and you get 380 odd to choose from.

bit.ly/LLLawMed

Change the town and rerun the above, then ring the solicitors and ask to speak to lawyer who would deal with Litigation in Housing matters. Then ask what experience they have in Section 21 claims whether for Landlord or Tenant.

Ask how many such cases they have worked on.

Ask them which Counsel they have used in the past on such cases, Solicitors will do the prep work but they will bring in a Barrister to do the arguing in Court on the day. It is a good strategy because they get more respect from a Judge.

However, you still want one who can speak confidently about the law in this area, knows what changed in Deregulation Act 2015 (if they are up on housing law they will know this without reference to paperwork), do not send emails, speak to them.

Once you have your deposit back then you can take time to reflect on this, perhaps have another run at seeking a settlement directly, with you out the Landlord can no longer "lord" it over you and the risk to his wallet may be more of a concern. (I always recommend Settlement)

Just something along the lines of

Dear Mr X

Now that we have left your property, you can see we left it in good condition and did everything else we said we would do, we are left with the matter of your sanctions for breach of the Housing Act.

We were put under considerable stress which is why we are pursuing the matter, however, I wanted to give you one final chance to settle the matter amicably.

To that end I am prepared to make the following offer:"

you know the rest, probably go in at 2.5x so he can come back at 2x or if he comes back at 1.5 you can push up to 2x.

Remember there is no hurry, you can come back at him in a year or even two.

For now I would suggest that you focus on your housing situation and getting a permanent roof over the heads of your family.

Taking time will make him drop his guard.

Hope this helps

Good luck!

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SRJ 23rd June, 2016 @ 16:21

Hello - I have looked this matter up on the Which website and it looks like a landlord CAN isuue a Section 21 notice if he has not put the deposit in a government backed scheme if he FIRST returns the tenant's deposit in full.

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David 24th June, 2016 @ 01:08

@SRJ

Which site is not really accurate, for example it says:

"However, before taking court action you should first write to your landlord to give them the chance to protect the deposit and/or to provide the information."

That is total hogwash, the LAW says the deposit and PI must be issued withing 30 days.

The law is what you need to depend on because it is what judges use!

Now if you wish to avoid sanctions you can not take a deposit in the first place, but once you take a deposit you become subject to the legislation.

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Advice greatly rec'd 30th June, 2016 @ 14:50

Hi David

Thanks again for your help, I am however banging my head against a wall as it seems as if no firm are prepared to help me.

I have contacted a couple (PainSmith being the last) who have advised me that deposit claims are brought in the small claims track and thus costs are not recoverable thereby making it pointless using a lawyer.

I have gone back asking if they would simply send a letter before action offer for me but am not holding out much hope.

Assuming they are right about the court process, I fear I have no option but to try one more settlement letter and if no luck commence proceedings myself (or use a dreaded no win no fee firm which I really wanted to avoid as they probably know less than I do on the subject). However even this is confusing as there is conflicting information of whether to use pt.7 (N1) or pt.8.

Any pearls of wisdom you can offer me as I'm starting to get really dejected and just want a conclusion now to be able to move forward and as you said focus on finding permanent residency for my family.

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David 4th July, 2016 @ 19:25

@Advice greatly rec'd

I will be providinh a detailed reply presently

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David 7th July, 2016 @ 08:03

I suspect the issue for them is the fact they are not having to block an S21 it is just a case of S214 and even then the fact that the deposit was filed albeit your correct data was not provided and you were not aware of it. Not a lot of paid work.

The first thing you need to do is write to the MYDEPOSITS for a Subject Access Request with a cheque for £10, make sure that you specify you require a copy of all computer and paper related information including emails that refer to you by name or reference number.

If they day they will not provide all information for confidentiality reasons then do not respond further, but put a complaint into the ICO that they have failed to provide ALL information requested, let the ICO know you are investigating an attempt of fraud that you believe is widespread and need to gather evidence for Court.

The reason you need this is to show what and when was supplied, there are a growing number of Landlords who are scumbags; they give false information so they can control the deposit by logging in as the tenant. Your case has the hallmarks of such an attempt, because the date was changed so it will not come up in any search.

The thing about Small Claims is that it is not a court, but a procedure with a set of rules. Some S21 cases get allocated to small claims others do not you can read about the general parameters here

justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part27

and you can read about what costs are allowed in small claims here

justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part45-fixed-costs/practice-direction-45-fixed-costs

Or for a plain English version you can see this:
moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/small-claims-court

I have seen loads of people (landlord and tenant) get legal costs, time off work to attend etc, even extra £500 for self-representation because the LL did not turn up, to be honest a lot of those cases have escalated into more than one hearing which breaks one of the parameters of the track. I think it all comes down to how you file the claim, I always prefer to do it in person at the local Court if I wish to avoid small claims, it is also dependent on what you put on the forms. You have to remember that the person allocating the case is a clerk, so on the 244 form you put 1 to 2 hours or even 1 hour (saying not agreed by all parties), but you have a load of paperwork, they then think “shit this can’t be handled by small claims” so they allocate a proper hearing. He can complain but when they look at it they will think the same thing as the clerk.

Once you have a date you can go back to a Solicitor and say you have a hearing and need their help. They will then be able to pad out their charges. If you represent yourself you have to control your demeanour, you do not want to be this expert in law, but rather someone who has been wronged.
Sadly changes in the law mean that the Courts have become the playgrounds of the rich, if you want to play you have to have money or be prepared to lose/bet money. Having said that it works both ways, on the small claims track if you lose the first decision costs against you are limited. So you may want to consider it.

I HAVE ALWAYS SAID IT IS BETTER TO SETTLE BUT THUS FAR THIS GUY WILL NOT HEAR OF IT. I say this because you need to consider it and give him one more chance to settle. His return of the deposit in full was clearly done to try and mitigate his position.

To start with it is probably better if you do the letter yourself and then if not successful file yourself.

Send the completed forms with your letter so he knows you are serious.

The things you need are

N001 form
N244 Form
Housing Act Provisions (S214, S214, S215)
The Housing (Tenancy Deposits (Prescribed Information) Order 2007
Localism Act 2011 S184
Evidence including emails, tenancy agreements, signed forms etc

Links for above act

legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/213
legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/214
legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/215
legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/797/article/2/made
legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/20/section/184/enacted

N001 Form sets out how much you are claiming
N244 Form asks the court to make the decision

They both cost money but you claim those costs back.

Info on N001

citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/going-to-court/going-to-court/taking-court-action/step-three-filling-in-the-claim-form/

Info on N244

s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/hmctsformfinder/n244-notes-eng.pdf

Key bits of N244 are

3. What order are you asking the court to make and why

Order payment by defendant to claimant of £4200 in accordance with Housing Act 2004 Section 214 Order for costs (estimated £3000 for single hearing+ case prep + travel expenses + Loss of pay)
Order for Court fees NOO1 £455 & N244 £105 Hearing Fee £335

(You get charged for everything since Gov changes, but all can be claimed back, if you can show you are on very low income and entitled to reduction then fill out EX160, he still has to pay it if you win).
NOTE that you can put the legal costs on the version you send to him, you may of course decide not to go for legal costs but you can decide that when you actually file.)

10.

BASIS OF CLAIM

• Localism Act Sec 184 (5) - Amends HA to allow former tenants to claim after a tenancy has ended and changes 14 day requirement to 30 days.
• The Housing (Tenancy Deposits (Prescribed Information) Order 2007 Defines what information SHOULD have been provided WITHIN 30 DAYS, no information was provided till March 1st 2016 (930 days later)
• Housing Act Provisions (S213), Sets out requirements relating to tenancy deposits, specifically that the initial requirements of an authorised scheme MUST be complied with by the landlord in relation to the deposit WITHIN the period of 30 DAYS beginning with the date on which it is received. Deposit should have been protected by August 31st 2013 deposit was not protected till Nov 30th 2013 (120 days later). It was also filed with misinformation.
• Housing Act Provisions (S214), Proceedings relating to tenancy deposits, enables the bringing of this Court proceedings and sets out the sanctions to be awarded by the Court.

(1) Where a tenancy deposit has been paid in connection with a shorthold tenancy, the tenant or any relevant person (as defined by section 213(10)) may make an application to a county court on the grounds—

(a) that the initial requirements of an authorised scheme (see section 213(4)) have not, or section 213(6)(a) has not, been complied with in relation to the deposit; or declined to agree final letter before action in addition to previous offers to settle.

On 01 Aug 2013 date the claimant paid a deposit of £1400 to the defendant in respect of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) for their property at 00 High Street. London, W1A1AA The (AST) terminated on 23 May 2016

The Defendant failed to adhere to the Housing Act 2004 and Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed Information) Order 2007 and S184 of the Localism Act 2011 as specified on the attached documents.

The claimant has sought on numerous occasions to seek a settlement of this matter with the defendant only to be met with abuse and threats as evidenced in the attached emails. The defendant even refused to complete a statutory form from a Local Authority until this S214 claim was settled. The said form affects the Tenant’s access to Social Housing and a negative response from a Landlord can impact that access, so he was effectively blackmailing the tenant to drop the S214 claim or else he might respond negatively to the local authority request.

The tenant could have disputed the S21 notice because of irregularities but he and his wife felt intimidated by the Landlord. He even made threats to increase the rent from £1,000 to £1,300 with immediate effect regardless of Section 13 legal provisions.

The claimant therefore requests that the Court award Claimant Sanctions the maximum of 3x the deposit HAS214(4) and reasonable costs as attached as this action was avoidable by settlement.
Each offer of settlement was responded to vexatiously and the Claimant was forced to take additional legal advice which was reflected by the amounts offered to settle the matter. It was clear that the Landlord would never settle, he used phrases like “WAR OF ATTRITION”.

Settlement offers were offered on the following dates

April 1st via email – abusive reply
April 15st via email – abusive reply with threats
May 1st via email - abusive reply with refusal to respond to LA
May 15th via email - rejected

Landlord should have protected deposit in an approved scheme WITHIN 30 DAYS HA (213) by August 31st 2013 deposit was not protected till Nov 30th 2013, however a subject access request from the MYDEPOSITS shows the defendant provided his own office address as the Tenant address, did not provide the tenant mobile number or email address and used a different date so the deposit would not be found if searched for on the MYDEPOSITS system. This prevented the tenant being informed of the deposit and put the Landlord in control of the deposit as if he was the tenant.

So in effect the Landlord failed to protect the deposit properly for the whole duration of the tenancy, the purpose of the Deposit Protection legislation is to give the Tenant access to the deposit via the MYDEPOSITS. This was not possible as the MYDEPOSITS were not provided adequate tenant information and the tenant could not log into the MYDEPOSITS system to make representations to the MYDEPOSITS if required.

The Landlord also failed to issue the Prescribed Information within 30 days in accordance with HA213(6) and defined inThe Housing (Tenancy Deposits (Prescribed Information) Order 2007. The PI was finally issued on March 1st 2016 (some 31 months late) It should have been issued by August 31st 2013. It is clear that the Landlord only issue the PI because it was a perquisite for the S21 possession order, but it should have been issued within 30 days not 930 days!

So in effect the Tenant’s deposit was not protected properly for the duration of the tenancy (31 months) and the correct legal paperwork only obtained when the defendant desired to evict the tenant and sell the property.

The defendant is a professional Landlord with 50 years business experience and £3.8m in properties according to their own reports.

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Adam 21st July, 2016 @ 09:35

Hello :)

My partner and I moved into our terraced property on a 1 year AST (starting '15 ending in August' 16). We paid a £450 deposit upon moving in to which I have a receipt and the tenancy agreement was signed a day later with the deposit showing as paid.

I know my deposit wasn't protected, I have some minor arrears and I accept that some money will probably be deducted for damages (the joys of 5 cats).

Could you please advise me on where I stand? What should I do? What is the best course of action to ask for this 'sanction'?

Many thanks,
Adam

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David 24th July, 2016 @ 15:10

@Adam

Is your landlord a rogue?

If not I would give them a break. Hell they are tolerating your arrears.

If there was an agent involved then I would pursue the max and encourage the landlord to have the agent reimburse them, (I hate all estate agents).

It really depends on whether you want a decent reference and whether you want to remain after August?

If you want to stay you can remain in the property and still pay the rent, the tenancy will become a statutory periodic tenancy.

It would be good to send landlord email to say you wish to remain in property before you decide on this path. You can say you do not want to sign a new contract and just have a rolling contract.

The Landlord can't evict until they protect deposit and issue PI.

How do you know it was not protected, could they have made a mistake in the date, tenant name etc?

To be honest I think you should count yourself lucky your landlord is tolerating your minor arrears. If you DO proceed with action you better pay off those arrears first as a Judge will take a dim view of them.

Same goes for the 5 cats, you should expect to pay for any damage they have done, why should landlord underwrite your keeping of far too many animals.

Sorry but I say it the ways I see it, you seem to think this is free money despite you not performing your end of the contract.

Where you stand is that you might get 1x deposit or even 2x deposit but you could get nothing, some Judges are not finding deposit was not protected knowing that poorer people will not have the stomach for appeal.

If you want to wreck the relationship with Landlord then by all means write to them and tell them that you have just been informed that the deposit should have been protected and the prescribed information provided, as this has not happened you would like to seek a settlement of the sanction due under S214 of the housing act.

Do not be surprised if they respond by insisting whole carpet is replace because your 5 cats wrecked it.

You should always word any approach as seeking an amicable settlement.

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Adam 24th July, 2016 @ 15:29

Hi David,

Thank you for your sage advice. To paint a better picture; I have £70 of rent arrears, my cats have never stepped foot on carpet and it is professionally cleaned monthly (helps with the damp).

Upon signing the tenancy agreement I asked LL if the deposit would be protected - the response was 'I don't know'.

Every double glazed window in the house has blown seals, an ex tenant just let himself a week after I moved in because his tenancy hadn't ran out yet. There is a major damp/mould(mold?) problem in every upstairs room due to a leaky roof and LL avoids my calls for any of the above issues - couldn't even fix a leaky tap! LL has three other properties on this street and all are in disrepair.

I'm sorry if I am coming across as a scumbag, that is not my intention. I am worried my deposit will be shanghai's as LL is a 4/10 guy.

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David 24th July, 2016 @ 17:12

@Adam

Well now you give a lot of reasons to go after them, they think being a landlord just means buying a place.

I would contruct a letter similar to ones I have posted above for others and offer a settlement of 2x rent plus deposit back and positive reference.

It gives them a chance to come back at 1x and maybe you settle on 1.5x.

I would get the hell out of there.

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