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

I Haven't Protected My Tenant's Deposit

For a general overview and background on tenancy deposits, please refer to the tenancy deposit guide. For landlords that are familiar with the legislation but have failed to protect your tenant(s) deposit for one reason or another, you’re in the right place.

If you’re a tenant that’s trying to figure out what your rights are because you suspect your landlord hasn’t protected your deposit, you’re also marginally in the right place. But bear in mind, I’ve written this blog post from the perspective of a landlord, so you may need to backward-engineer the information so it’s relevant to you. Alternatively, you can just jump over to my tenant deposit guide for tenants.

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

To be in compliant 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 with in 30 days of receiving it. Just to clarify, it is NOT a legal requirement to take a deposit, so this legislation only applies to those landlords that do (which is presumably the vast majority of landlords).

After the deposit is protected, the tenant must be given the Prescribed Information related to the protection of the deposit, also with in 30 days. 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 the proscribed information is served with in the allocated time, 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! HELP!

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. More about what to do in this scenario below.

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 you can’t serve a valid Section 21, and your only option is, possibly, serving a Section 8 Notice where you must prove grounds for eviction (which you may not 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:

  • Recommended solution: 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, although it might be difficult to explain *why* you’re giving it back.

    Suggestion: just come clean, say you didn’t follow the proper procedures and you’re trying to rectify the situation. Don’t mention the entitled compensation.

  • If you’re trying to get rid of a rogue tenant and you have grounds for eviction (e.g. your tenant is in 2 months rent arrears), serve a Section 8 (as already covered, unlike with a Section 21, you don’t need to comply with the tenancy deposit legislation in order to serve a Section 8.
  • 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.

If your tenant hasn’t mentioned anything…

There’s a good chance your tenant isn’t aware of the tenancy deposit legislation or the ramifications of failing to comply. It’s also not unusual for tenants to be aware, but waive their right to prosecute because their landlord has been reasonable throughout the tenancy.

The point here is that you don’t want to give your tenant a reason to look into the legislation or exercise their right to claim compensation.

  • The most common reason why tenants proceed to take legal action is because they feel screwed over by how the deposit has been handled (i.e. when landlords try to make deductions over trivial and menial damages, which actually, quite often fall under wear and tear). So when it’s time for them to vacate, forget the temptation to deduct £90 for carpet cleaning, or £50 for picture hook repair, just let it go. Otherwise they may start looking into their rights. Generally speaking, biting your lip and absorbing those costs is the safest and cheapest option!
  • The second most common reason is failure to complete repairs promptly, or making repairs at all. Ignoring your duty to maintain and repair is a sure-fire of pissing your tenants off, consequently giving them reason to prosecute given the opportunity. So with that in mind, and ethics aside, it might be sensible to ensure matters of repairs and maintenance are attended to promptly, and generally be a good landlord all round (you should be anyways, mind you!).

    It’s also worth noting that if your tenant does take the matter to court to seek compensation (regardless of whether you’ve been a good or bad landlord), some Judges do take into consideration how the landlord has conducted themselves during the tenancy before determining how much they should be penalised.

Can I get in serious trouble for not protecting my tenant’s deposit? What can happen?

Putting it bluntly, you have broken the law, so yes, there can be 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 often the most efficient method of removing a rogue tenant).

My tenant is threatening me with legal action, what should I do?

Ok, so presumably shit has hit the fan; your tenant has discovered you failed to comply with the deposit legislation, and now they’re after a handsome payout. Unfortunately, this is becoming a terribly familiar scenario, rightly or wrongly so.

What to do at this stage will depend on the individual circumstances, so there isn’t a simple solution for all. However, there’s more information available in the “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 it’s of any consolation (which it probably won’t be), the law was specifically changed in the Housing Act 2004 to allow tenants to sue the agent as well as the landlord for the penalty for non compliance of protecting the tenancy deposit.

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, whether you’re a landlord or a tenant? I’d love to hear your story!

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Showing 809 - 859 comments (out of 859)
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Gary 2nd March, 2021 @ 06:31

Hi David

Firstly and for most thank you for your time in replying.

Yes i understand that it is there home in there eyes and sympathy with that.

I see the biggest issue being the cheap rent they have enjoyed as it is only 700 mouth compared to the market rate off 1100. I've never been greedy as my total bill for property is only 250 after all bills n taxes.

My tenancy agreement was with him only all them years ago and he has since got married and has two little boys and i understand that kids cost so i left everything as it was.

If im setting to move them out would it be wise to do a new update contract with her on it as well or keep it between myself and him only and update the contract again with a opt out claus(ps ive also just purchased your recommended contract anyway)

Kind regards

Gary

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David 2nd March, 2021 @ 10:32

@Gary

You need to protect the deposit as soon as you become aware of the failure, failure to do this may affect mitigation in a Court. You cannot issue a S21 until this fault is rectified, along with Gas Safety, EPC and you will need to give them the latest version of the Government How to Rent document.

You have dug yourself into a common hole, whilst it has been very kind of you to keep rent low it will make it very difficult for them to move from your low rent to market rent.

The only way they might manage financially in the same area is if they get into social housing which is as rare as rocking horse dung or for them to move to a cheaper area which generally means moving to out of commuting distance.

If they leave of their own accord the Council will deem that they made themselves homeless and some Councils still insist that tenants wait until they are evicted by Court order rather than when the S21 notice expires.

So I would have a chat with them, let them know that they have rights to be housed if homeless as they have kids but the Council will try to put them off, tell them to seek property in the private sector etc.

They may have to move into a temporary accommodation facility provided by the Council, they will then bid on properties on the housing list and be housed according to their priority vs other families in the area. They will have a few days each week to evaluate properties. At the best of times they may not get more than an outside picture (this is no Rightmove or Zoopla). Due to the Pandemic some Councils are not even doing the front of the property. So tenants have to use the postcode and various online sites to figure out the area, schools, crime, antisocial behaviour etc.

It is not a great journey but the destination of social rents gives them a tenancy that is far more secure the the usual 2 months.

S8 can be used if you were seeking to move back into the property and had the appropriate clause in your previous tenancy agreement that indicated this was an option that may happen. This is not a mandatory ground so the Judge will consider all parties, more information on S8 ground are on the page below

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/section-8-evicting-tenants/#grounds

I should make you aware that the Government has said it will be scrapping S21 and improving S8, so use it before you lose it.

I would have the chat, issue S21 explaining that it is a 6 month notice due to the pandemic and it may take longer a year by the time they go to Court due to pandemic.

The details of Covid aspects are below, the page has a link to the 6A S21 form, make sure you comply with all the prerequisites listed therein or the notice will be invalid.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-and-renting-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/technical-guidance-on-eviction-notices

Inform the Tenant that you may issue another notice to replace this notice if the Government reduces the 6 month limit back to 2 months in the next three to Four months.

The most important thing if you want to reach a settlement on the deposit is to be open and communicate with the tenant. Remember that people need a nights sleep to digest bad news.

When you issue the S21 have two copies and get the tenant to sign a copy.

Signing them up to a new tenancy will be substantially different and may complicate deposit issues, plus give them more rights. If you do sign them both onto a new tenancy make sure that it is a contractual periodic so that although it has a fixed term it never expires until it is terminated after the initial fixed term has passed.

Do not think that a new tenancy will be a get out of jail free card for the failure to protect the deposit on the current tenancy. The tenant will be asked about their tenancy history by the local Council and encouraged to take action. So get it protected TODAY if not done already and then seek a settlement with the tenant, the minimum you would be liable for in Court is 1x the deposit for each tenancy.

Another thing to watch out for because of the age of your tenancy is the ratio of your deposit to the rent, it must not exceed 5 weeks rent (£807) under Tenant Fees Act (2019), again this affects the validity of the S21. So refund any difference and protect the rest.

One other thing to consider is a rent increase, so you have the chat, you explain that your circumstances have changed substantially due to pandemic so you must increase rent in line with market value and must sell the property to deal with your financial issues.

You explain to them that they are a valued tenant and you want to do right by them so you want to work out an agreement where you lessen the impact of this. Explain that in 2019 the Tenant Fees Act came into force and in 2020 it was applied retrospectively to existing tenancies. So you will be refunding the difference and also putting the deposit in the deposit protection scheme and because you protected it late you want to agree a settlement of 2x the deposit as a credit to their rent account with you.

So your proposal is to increase the rent to £975 (which is still low compared to the £1100 market value) but to give them a settlement of 2x the deposit as a credit against the increase over the next X months. To calculate X you divide the two times the deposit settlement by the difference in Rent (£275), e.g. if deposit was £1000 the settlement would be £2000, then 2000/275=7.27 months, so rent will not cost them any more for 7 months plus you will refund the different of deposit £1000 and 5 weeks rent so a further £200.

It is important to refund them the difference in deposit as a payment and pay it via a method such as bank transfer. One could say the same for the deposit settlement but this can be documented in a settlement agreement.

The increase to £975 will increase the sale value of the property for investment purposes and this is likely to be the kind of buyer you want.

This page explains the rent increase form

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/notice-of-rent-increase-form/

You may decide that the rent increase delays your need to sell, issuing the S21 (having first complied with or rectified failures) will keep your options open.

You could increase to your stated £1100 market rent but that would likely see the tenant advised to refer to the tribunal.

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roby 2nd March, 2021 @ 12:30

@ David,

many thanks for your answer.

Once I will give the notice I will be in contact with you privately for your kind help.

Many thanks and kind regards

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Gary 2nd March, 2021 @ 19:17

Hi David

Once again im blown away with the quality of advice you are providing and am so grateful.

Lucky for me the deposit is the only issue ive left myself facing.

Im not looking for the new tenancy agreement to get me out of jail as i understand im bang to rights at the moment.
As my deposit was only 700 im inclined to just settle for the full amount.
But what im after with the new agreement is to have a up to date agreement that covers all aspects of our job but lets me proceed to reclaiming my property with the least stress for me. If you have any recommendations regarding a professional that can advise on this id be greatfull.

After a chat with a estate agent today im am favouring selling the property with them so as to provide them with a home still and to save on the issue that would arise and time wasted off such. Would you have any recommendations or advice on doing this estate agents that specialise in this please

Id just like to finish on how amazed i am with your time you put into this.

Thank you

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Michael 7th May, 2021 @ 16:50

Dear David,

We were tenants In a tiny studio for 1 year and 6 months. In the end of our tenancy the landlord starting making unreasonable claims on deposit deductions and we even offered as lightly smaller amount to move things along but then they increased the deductible amount... That lead to us proceeding to dispute their claim with DPS. Only to find out our deposit was late to be protected by over 35 days (only insured over 2 months after we paid it). Also we never received any information about our deposit protection or etc. When we contacted DPS, what happened is the managing agency gave wrong contact information for us, and they relied on DPS sending us relevant information so the information about the deposit protection only reached is after we moved out (over 500 days past the deadline).

We came. forward with letter of legal actions and gave 14 days. They refunded deposit without saying anything the same day and we advent heard from them until last day of the deadline. They threatened with counter action for damages... We said that's fine and said we will proceed with the claim. They offered £250 in compensation which we refused. They then came back last second with 1 times of our deposit. We refused that offer asking for 2 times of the deposit amount as they broke many rules: insuring deposit on time, providing relevant information on time, and frankly providing information at all as it was only after we left the property, attempt to cover up and telling us everything was insured on time, and also only insuring it for 1 person despite two people in contract).

We wondered if its reasonable for us to not accept the minimum compensation amount and proceed with filing the form and going into court after what they have done.

Also we will be representing ourselves as we think it is fairly straight forward and very personal at this point.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Sincerely,
Michael.

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David 8th May, 2021 @ 11:29

@Michael

So many Landlords cause these claims by making unreasonable claims on deposits and the behaviour since does not help.

It is straight forward if you know all the rules, but there are some law revisions and case law that may trip you up. Also how you frame it in the statement of truth can make the difference between the amount of the sanction.

The first question I would be asking you is what was the term of your first tenancy (do not answer here), 18 months is unusual term, so might be you started with 6 months then 1 year or that after a year they allowed it to become a Statutory Periodic Tenancy (SPT) or the terms of the contract are such that it is a Contractual Periodic Contract (CPT).

Why does this matter?

Because despite the Deregulation Act (2015) usually protecting a Landlord from multiple claims if they protect the deposit late, this protection only applies if they fully comply with the legislation.

The information they should have given you is called the Prescribed Information (PI), some Landlords include some of this in their tenancy agreements, but it will rarely suffice.

So your Landlord may have protected a little bit late, but because they did not serve the PI for the whole duration of the tenancy they seriously risk a 3x sanction FOR EACH TENANCY. An SPT is a second tenancy a CPT is rarely a second tenancy, depending on terms.

I am happy to draft you a letter that will make your Landlord realise that you are now getting professional advice and if not then help you create the forms and file them properly in Court.

I can help you with these but providing more detail on a live case is not advisable on an open forum.

So I suggest you contact me via the forum using the forum link below

https://www.landlordforumproject.co.uk

Join the forum

Confirm the email (note hotmail/outlook addresses rarely work)

Once fully registered and logged in use link below to see my profile and there will be an option bottom left of page to send me a private message

http://bit.ly/davidpip

and hopefully I can help you seek a mutually agreeable settlement.

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James 2nd June, 2021 @ 20:35

Dear David,

Really love this blog, and this entry in particular. As a landlord, this encapsulates many of the frustrations I have with the present state of regulations.

I just have one question.

The scenario is a shared tenancy (AST) with multiple tenants (4) defined collectively as the 'Tenant'.
Deposit was registered in an insurance scheme with MyDeposits and prescribed information served within 30 days of receipt.
One tenant now wishes to move out and be replaced by another incoming tenant.

MyDeposits recommends a deed of assignment for this process, which is no problem, and that the deposit protection certificate be updated to reflect the tenancy exchange. They also recommend that the prescribed information be served again.

Does the 30 day time limit apply in this case, for the certificate to be updated and PI served?
If so, at what point would the deposit be legally defined as 'received' and the 30 day time limit regarded to begin?

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David 4th June, 2021 @ 16:15

@James

One thing that trips people up is that the Housing Act legislation for deposit protection often refers to the rules of the scheme.

So I imagine MyDeposits gave you that advice to avoid any confusion or conflict with the legislation.

The Deregulation Act 2015 says that as long as you protect a deposit in the first tenancy and serve the PI, thus comply with the law, then your deposit is protected for subsequent tenancies.

Superstrike and the underlying the Case Law referenced is the Case Law that most deposit claims are made, the Deregulation Act updated legislation, but Superstrike is still the default in cases where the Deregulation Act does not apply, unless the age of the tenancy means other Case Law applies.

Strictly speaking the deposit will remain protected for the whole time, the new tenant's deposit will be paid to the departing tenant, but via you. However, for the purposes of the Act the new tenant will still need to be informed within 30 days and it would not do any harm to re-issue PI to all the tenants being careful to mention that it is a copy of the PI they were served previously, especially if it was the lead tenant as named at MyDeposits that departs.

Yhat 30 days starts from the day it is received, if it were late any claim would only apply to that percentage.

It is important that the the new tenant makes a bank transfer so you have evidence of the transaction and the same applies to the outgoing tenant, you always need evidence and downloading PDF's of bank statements is suggested to avoid bank fees later.

The deed of assignment is really going to depend on how your tenancy agreement is written, many Student Tenancy Agreements have a sheet in the appendix that accommodates a deed of assignment with a list of the coming and going of tenants.

For the sake a clarity it is always a good idea to write to each tenant informing them of the change of liability for the performance of the lease have changed with Jenny Jones replacing the liabilities of Peter Smith from the specific date, but that they remain collectively joint and severally liable.

You should do an inspection of the property because you can bet the new tenant will make a video and take photos of the condition when they take occupancy and you will not be able to rely on a previous inventory inspection.

Remember that there are hardly any fees allowed since the Tenant Fees Act of 2019, which applies to all tenancies now.

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A Brandt 6th June, 2021 @ 10:30

Dear David,

I am in a pretty much identical situation with James above, with one tenant moving out and another moving in in a shared tenancy.

It's in London with an agent managing the deposit (with an insurance based scheme in My Deposits) and the handover between outgoing and incoming tenant. The deposit was protected and PI served correctly within 30 days of deposit receipt at the start of the tenancy.

I had a look at the deed of assignment the agent used and it specifies that the incoming tenant must pay his or her share of the outgoing tenant directly. In that case, the agent (acting on landlord's behalf) would not be involved in any deposit transaction as part of the handover, and it becomes an internal matter between the tenants. The Housing Act specifies that PI should be served within 30 days of the landlord (or agent acting on his/her behalf) receiving the deposit from the tenant.

This appears to be a pretty standard deed of assignment, for London at least, but does the 30-day PI rule still apply when the landlord (or agent) does not actually receive any deposit money in the handover?

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David 6th June, 2021 @ 17:46

@ABrandt

It is entirely up to you how you do it, I just come at it from what makes you able to get a case dismissed before having to go to Court or run up fees with a claims company.

A few weeks ago I took over a case that was over 400 pages of back and forth, imagine you are the Judge having to quickly make sense of all this.

As I recommend above you look carefully at the scheme terms & conditions, which are often different for the insurance version.

I work from the basis of a claim has come in from a former tenant, what evidence do you have that you are not liable?

How much can you depend on the goodwill of the remaining tenants who may now be best mates with the departing tenant.

I know of student lets where the Landlords leave it all to the tenants. Several years ago I helped someone who had a massive drama with false accusations made, the stress it caused was incredible. They basically invented a load of BS to try to turn the Judge and the fellow tenants corroborated the lies.

If you do it as I advised above, you are merely creating evidence of the receipt and payment, you give all parties a copy of PI (stating for existing tenants that the deposit has remained protected and is in the same scheme) for the incumbent you get them to sign the PI and for the outgoing you get them to sign a copy of a receipt. So you then have evidence of money going in and out of your bank and a letter from the Deposit Scheme will confirm it remained protected the whole time. Case dismissed.

With regard to Agents, it is common knowledge in these pages that I have very little love for them, except where my clients have a rock solid contract that says everything is the agent's responsibility.

I find the biggest Agents are sloppy in procedure and paperwork, while the small ones are often oblivious. For example an Agent can be booted off a scheme because of a poor credit record, suddenly the insurance void and YOU are liable! Except the Agent do not even know, never mind inform you. Many small agents use deposits as a cash flow mechanism and several have disappeared and done a phoenix under a similar name.

I advise people to use a custodial scheme, that way there is no question, no cash flow risk, everything is done properly. If you have an insurance scheme and there are damages or the tenant requests their deposit, you usually have to immediately pay the money to the scheme, at a time which may not be convenient. I mean who would have predicted the Country would be a pandemic with evictions taking 12 to 18 months on top of previous timescales.

To me these things are best done yourself, this is a business with serious liabilities if things are not done correctly, so either you have the agent contracted to take care of all and indemnify you or you do it yourself in a well documented procedures system. Just bear in mind many Agents have terms that flip the obligation to you even if they do the donkey work.

As I explained, the deposit must be protected within 30 days of deemed receipt, that means from the date the new tenant paid it.

In a situation of assignment where you did not handle the money the date the deed of assignment was signed and came into force would apply because it will be a virtual receipt and payment, but that has so many risks, which is why it is not my preferred way of doing things.

It is like when you take a deposit on 2nd viewing and get the tenant to sign the tenancy agreement on the day they take occupancy, but the occupancy got delayed, just too messy. Again it is all about processes and procedures, you can use email and electronic signing to reduce voids, but all the time think evidence evidence evidence, because that is what you will need to file in Court. If you collect the deposit you can protect it online in minutes, Create a PI and have the tenant sign it (either in person or electronically).

The PI should be dated and include the reference number plus all additional prescribed information so that there can be no doubt.

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Sunshine 17th June, 2021 @ 08:09

Hi David,

You helped me out massively some years ago, unfortunately my brother now has a problem and I was wondering if you could also help please? It's a different renting topic this time so I know I am writing in the wrong titled section and I am sorry but I just needed advice please?

My brother relocated for a new job, so he was looking for flats virtually due to the distance. He signed an agreement for a property just based on the pictures and the description, after seeing it for the first time, he realised he's been misled and the property is full of mould and theres exposed wires etc i.e. the property is just not up to scratch. He's only been there less than 24hours, what can he do please? Ideally to leave the property and get his money back? (or most of his money back)

Unfortunately he signed the contract before seeing the property due to cunning sales tactics (its a good property for a good price, it will literally go if you don't pay deposit now), he's paid the deposit and months advance rent. I have read up that homes should fit to live in as a standard but being misled as well, he has lost faith in the landlord and estate agent

To note he was greeted by the landlord who gave him the keys, he asked him to sign the inventory which he did but the landlord took it away with him saying he had 7 days to review. It just seems all quite dodgy

Any advice would be massively grateful, thank you in advance

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David 17th June, 2021 @ 14:04

@Sunshine

He needs to reject the property, if the property is not as described he has been mis-sold, so it is a breach of contract.

In addition to this to be rented a property needs to be fit for human habitation under Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, based on what you say it is not, it is also in a dangerous state, probably breaching Housing and Health & Safety legislation.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018/guide-for-tenants-homes-fitness-for-human-habitation-act-2018

He would be advised reject this immediately, I mean TODAY! I would spend £3 on a Land Registry search on the property to make sure that the person he is dealing with is the owner. He needs to return the keys as soon as he has gathered evidence.

At the very least he should video and photograph closely all issues in the property, he can post them as a hidden video on YouTube which will date stamp them and give him a URL he can point relevant parties to.

If he wishes to stay in the property but get it brought up to standard he should contact the Council and ask for a Housing Officer to visit the home on the basis that the property is not fit for habitation, has fire safety issues and he would like them to issue an improvement order.

I have drafted email below so he can use it immediately, if there are other issues with the property have him use the instructions on post 814. He needs to be seen to be acting quickly and he needs to email rather than call to create evidence of this.

"
WITHOUT PREJUDICE SAVE AS TO COSTS

Dear Landlord

Re: 11 Downing Street, London W1A 2AA

I am writing with regard to the above property to inform you that I am rejecting the property for the following reasons:

1. The property has been mis-sold and is not as was described to me, so you are in breach of contract.
2. The property is not fit for habitation due to mould and is in breach of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018
3. The property is in an unsafe condition with exposed electrical wires and fire safety issue, which in breach of a plethora of separate Housing and Health * Safety laws which can be enforced by the Local Authority.

As such the contract between us is void and I now require the immediate return of my rent and deposit.

I would like to get these back TODAY and return the keys to you immediately, failure to do this will require me to seek emergency accommodation in a local hotel, the rate for this is around £65 per day plus service costs, if this is necessary I will be seeking all my costs including additional food and any extra travel expenses.

I would like to resolve this matter amicably TODAY but if you do not provide me with an immediate refund of my rent and deposit, I will also be speaking to the local authority regarding your breaches of the law.

Needless to say I reject any costs with regard to rent and I reserve my rights to claim my out of pocket expenses for your mis-selling of this property.

Please email me back by return to confirm you have repaid my money by bank transfer to the following account and with a time to meet at the property to return the keys.

Sort code:
A/C No. :
A/C Name :

Yours sincerely

Moonlight"

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Sharon 18th June, 2021 @ 05:03

Hi David,
I lodged the tenants deposit within 30 days with correct Scottish deposit scheme. It turns out when I (and tenants) went to look into releasing deposit -that it was never actually allocated to the tenants specific ID and therefore I believe 'not protected'. A complete admin error! (But held in correct scheme).

For only the 2nd time in 7 years, I actually want to retain the whole deposit (£550) for 3 issues where the tenants have breached the tenancy agreement and left me out of pocket. I have been an excellent landlord to them and they seem quite decent people (with wealthy parents supporting them).
Should I just return deposit to them in full in the hope this will not make them take the 'protected deposit' thing any further - or see it as a separate issue and go to a dispute for the deposit and then deal with being taken to court (if they choose) for the protected deposit/late protection.

I feel its two separate issues and if they are going to go after trying to get money from me, I should at least try get back the deposit? Otherwise I could be screwed over twice?!

Look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks

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Sunshine 18th June, 2021 @ 09:15

Hi David,

Thank you for your timely reply, I can't tell you how much our family appreciate it, it's been a nightmare but we are getting through it all with your help. The manager of the estate agent said the following (I chuckled knowing what I know from you now):

"I am sorry you feel you have been misled, I have rechecked the listing and there was nothing misleading in the description, the property was indeed refurbished a few years ago, unfortunately, it does certainly look as though it needs an additional clean, with particular attention to the cooker and washing machine, and some mould treatment in the affected areas (which consists of a fungicidal wash and redecorating). This can all be done tomorrow."

The original add stated "the property was refurbished a few years ago and is still good condition"

I don't see how extreme black mould in different areas of the flat, with the place smelling of damp goes in line with good condition?! And nil pictures on the add to represent this mould and damp?! Also when we went to see the manager yesterday before I had read your comment, he wanted to wash his hands of us, stating not to discuss but to follow his complaints procedure with emailing him a complaint (which we have done and that was his response as per above) and then he proceeded to say he had not seen the property at all himself, yet he was the one who closed the deal on the tenancy agreement.

We just want out now and have sent a response to his email stating we don't want repairs but want out including the things you stated above.

What happens if they refuse to give my brothers money back? We are currently in the process of sorting out moving his belongings to put into storage asap so we can hand back the keys today. Can we claim the expenses of the removal guys and storage? He literally has wasted so much money with paying for the original removals and now these costs too.

P.S. I previously gave charity in your name for all your help, and yesterday I gave £50 in your name.

You David are a undercover rockstar!!

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David 18th June, 2021 @ 11:45

@Sharon

I do not practice in Scotland so my comments below are generic to England and a short perusal of Scottish Gov website. I do know that whilst their deposit protection laws are very similar there are some differences, for example in the schemes.

I can tell you upfront that a deposit protections failure does not overcome the obligations of the Tenant to be liable for the performance of the contract, so if your Tenant caused £20,000 of damage to a kitchen with a sledgehammer while drunk or due to a mental health condition, then they are still liable. However, such a claim would need to be brought before the Court and the Tenant would need to pay the fee to bring their counterclaim or you bring the counter claim and pay the fee.

If we look at the situation generically it is the same, a Tenant comes at this from the angle of "free money for the mistake of a Landlord, yes please I will have 3x the deposit for each tenancy please and thanks very much".

The Landlord comes at this from the angle of "There was a mistake so I deserve some mitigation and should pay nothing or no more than 1x the deposit for a single tenancy" what I do is see if there is a middle ground, I look for case law and changes in the law that may help my clients, I also point out to all parties that Court should be a last resort and you can pay legal costs if you do not settle for what you might get in Court or if you decline a suitably structured offer and get less in Court.

Whether Tenant or Landlord I always suggest a settlement, but some Tenants are greedy, some landlords may prefer to let a judge decide, this can be expensive for both sides.

I would not be exaggerating if I told you that over 80% of my claims arise because of a different dispute between the Landlord and Tenant and the vast majority of those come from unexpected deposit deductions.

The key word there is unexpected; if a Tenant causes a flood because they overflow the bath and you have to replace the flooring, when you immediately say “I am sorry but I have to hold you responsible for that and I need you to pay me £300” they know they made a mistake, they know they are due to pay.

However, if you say nothing they hope you forget or they forget themselves and either way they get annoyed. This is why the best advice I can give any Landlord is to be organised and be professional, do not put things off, get repairs done immediately, get three quotes and show the Tenant that you chose the middle or cheapest one.

The wealthy parents does not guarantee a decent approach to this, they want to protect their kids like anyone else. I had a case with wealthy occupier where the sense of entitlement to mess with my client was obsessive, we did manage to get them to drop the case but only after 9 months of gruelling torture, still they had to pay their own costs which were substantial.

So you have to ask yourself whether these three breaches of the tenancy agreement you refer to left you out of pocket for more than £1650 PER TENANCY plus costs, as a worst case scenario. Note I am not saying ignore them, just factor them in.

If the Tenant accepts the breaches and can see the real costs to you then the way to approach it is to attempt to reach a settlement agreement where you offset or reduce your claim on their £550 in return for them agreeing not to bring claim for what was an administration error. If your evidence is good enough there is a chance to plead mitigation over your culpability and it is an argument that has been accepted in Courts, but as in any case, the Judge must decide.

For example if you have 50 properties and paid 50 deposits into the scheme it would not be huge mitigation, but if you have evidence of paying £550 into the scheme on a date within 30 days and the scheme confirms they received it then that goes some way towards mitigation. However, there is the separate need to serve the prescribed information and the same penalties for failure, I have successfully argued many times and that a PI cannot be valid when the deposit it is supposed to be informing the Tenant about has not been protected properly.

I do not know the Scottish system well enough to know all the ins and outs, but there are some substantial differences according to what is published on Scottish Government website, these provide exceptions that used to be in place in England but are no longer exceptions in England, so I would advise you to seek your own professional legal advisor in Scotland to verify your position, but if I at least list them maybe you see something useful.

In England deposit protection cases are brought in the County Court under Part56 on the Part8 track, in Scotland they are brought before the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). Such tribunals are in place to hear specific types of cases, the Judges become expert in this area of law and deal with the cases more promptly.

In England deposit protection cases can be brought for up to 6 years (sometimes 12 years in certain circumstances), in Scotland they need to be brought within 3 months of the end of the final tenancy

In England AND Scotland you put your claims for deductions to the Scheme administrator BUT IF YOU WANT TO AVOID A DISPUTE SPEAK TO YOUR TENANT FIRST and reach a settlement in writing. It is the surprise of an unexpected deduction that often triggers the bad response from the Tenant.

To understand this you need to understand the Landlord Tenant relationship, before and during the Tenancy the Landlord always has the superior hand and the Tenant is beholden to the Landlord for the roof over their head. Courts accept this all the time, especially when it comes to unfair contract terms such as illegal or excessive fees or requirements.

Once a Tenant has left the relationship changes and often the only thing you have left to barter with is a positive reference, something a Tenant getting a mortgage with support of the bank of mum & dad does not need so much.

If the amount of a deduction due to serious damage is more than the deposit I always advise clients to get the amount agreed and the Tenant to start contributing towards it immediately, ideally in one payment or 50% down and the rest split over 3 months. This gets it over and done with during the tenancy.

I have no experience of the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber), but any Judge works with what is before them in evidence. Even if the mitigation is good you should count a 1x deposit for each tenancy plus the legal costs of the Tenant in any calculation, the Tenant should also count on the same amount and factor in paying your legal fees if you need to bring a counter claim. I do not know the Scottish Courts well enough, but in UK there are options to move the claim to different tracks for different reasons, too many to list here. Either way both sides should be open for a settlement and I can help you draft a letter to your Tenant once I have seen the evidence, the goal here being to get them to see the sense of a settlement.

As I said I am not familiar with all the ins and outs of the Scottish system but the mygov.scot website below lists the following exceptions of the requirement to protect the deposit IN SCOTLAND:

You do not need to register a deposit if:

you return the full deposit to the Tenant within 30 working days of the beginning of the tenancy
the Landlord and Tenant are family members
the tenancy is a 'liferent' which means the Tenant has 'a formal right to use the property during their lifetime'
the property is a holiday home
the property is used by a religious organisation
the property is supported accommodation
it's an agricultural or crofting tenancy
you're also a resident in the property
the property is subject to control orders
transitory ownership – where ownership of a house is short-term, e.g. a house which has been repossessed by a mortgage lender or a house held for up to 6 months by executors dealing with a deceased person's estate

https://www.mygov.scot/tenancy-deposits-landlords

We currently live in a world of offensive outrage and entitlement; luckily the Courts have not been infected with this disease, just the evidence and law.

It is not a good idea to put further detail on this open blog, but you can contact me via the instructions on post 814 above if you need further help.

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David 18th June, 2021 @ 13:01

@Sunshine

It is not a good idea to put more detail on an online blog because I write very specific replies and I do not want someone to assume it applied to them in different circumstances.

I have drafted you a letter for your brother which will include the recovery of his out of pocket consequential costs.

Please contact me via the instructions on post 814 and I will email you reply he should send TODAY.

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Paul 23rd June, 2021 @ 17:32

@David

Hi. Tenant in England here. I am on my third AST in the same property. I rent a single room. My last tenancy started in October 2020. The deposit was not protected until March of 2021. No prescribed information has ever been provided to me. No gas certificate, energy performance certificate or how to rent guide were ever given either. The owner of the property is unknown to me. The letting agent is listed as 'landlord' in the TA and the TDS deposit certificate. There are no arrears. I have always paid on time and there haven't been any serious issues during the three tenancies.

Today the letting agent just informed me that after the tenancy ends in October the owner intends to seek possession of the property and that I must leave then. There was no mention of serving a section 21 notice. They seem to think it does not apply in this case and that verbal notice suffices. I was bluntly told the end of the AST automatically means I have to leave because ASTs do not have to be renewed and, according to them, since 2019 they no longer roll into SPTs automatically.

Question. Can the agent simply hand the property back to the owner and have nothing to do with it or me as a tenant at the end of an AST? If there is no renewal but I choose to remain until the courts evict me because I haven't found anywhere else to move, who do I pay rent to given that I don't know who the owner is? Who would be responsible for fulfilling the terms of the AST when it becomes an SPT, i.e. electricity, gas, broadband, biweekly cleaning service that are now included in the rent?

Also, who is liable to pay any penalty for the failure to protect the deposit and does the owner have to re-protect it under his name for the new SPT if the letting agent washes his hands off the property and the tenant at the end of the AST in October?

I will try to move before October but in the hypothetical case that I had nowhere else to go, what is my situation after the AST ends and what are my rights as a tenant vis-à-vis the owner and the agent?

Grateful for any light you can shed.

Paul

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David 24th June, 2021 @ 19:06

@Paul

I have written you a long reply but on reflection it may prejudice your legal position for me to post it here and I am too busy to cut it down.

Please contact me via the instructions on post 814 and I will email you reply.

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Paul 24th June, 2021 @ 20:54

@David

Thanks a lot, David.

I contacted you via the forum.

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Ian 6th August, 2021 @ 10:22

Hi David
I'm one of those naive unfortunate landlords that wasn't aware of the deposit scheme when renting my house out for the first time a few years ago. I did put it on with the DPS, but after about 6 months when trying to evict the tenant as they refused to move out. After about 6 promises he did finally move out and I moved back in to my property and will never rent again. Of course he left the house in a mess and I tried but failed to claim through the DPS so he got his full deposit back. He then put in a claim through the court as I didn't protect his deposit and I settled for 1xdeposit which the court agreed and I paid. The issue I now have is as part of the court award I agreed to pay reasonable solicitor fees, which I was advised would be around £500. The bill I've been sent is £3,200, which I've so far got down to £2,800. However I don't think these are reasonable at all for a pretty simple case. However if I let it go back to court costs will be higher if I lose. My tenant is property developer who also rents properties so he's well aware of the rules and was no doubt rubbing his hands when I didn't protect the deposit. I believe the solicitor he's using he uses for work and is a friend, so I think he's using them to create costs for either him or to pay existing amounts he owes them!
Sorry for the rambling message, but any advice would be welcome
Thanks
Ian

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David 6th August, 2021 @ 10:58

@Ian

Something does not sound right here, I get the impression that you were either not in Court and either using a mediation service or still working within the pre-claim procedures.

It is VERY common for claim firms in this area of law to create fake costs for what are essentially duplicate letters used with other clients, there then followed smaller firms who each bring a different approach to the practice.

Another way they hike costs is by entering into protracted discussions and negotiations with you.

I have dealt with hundreds of cases so I know the template letters and paragraphs, costs are based on two things; work product and the person carrying out the work. So when disputing costs one can argue that if they are using template letters and even template Part36 offers they do not even need a legal clerk.

In a way it is similar to Estate Agents who like to charge for renewing tenancies every 6 months, the Tenant Fees Act put a limit on that but still happens and of course if deposit was not protected and remains unprotected it creates additional liabilities for their clients.

In some ways the game is rigged, because the cost of disputing can exceed the benefits, however, I know the majority of players in this game, so I will know of their tactics and may be able to advise you how to play them. They vary from insurance companies to single partner firms. Either way we will at least follow the process of reviewing what was done and by whom, I can't really comment on validity until I have seen it.

If they are billing you for unnecessary work or using over qualified staff and /or excess time we can call them out on that and negotiate it. If I think it is reasonable or that they will get away with it I will advise you.

Even if you decide to pay the costs there are routes for complaints of fee gauging, when enough of these are received there can be sanctions.

To take this further it is best you contact me via the forum, as they may be reading this public blog.

Please follow the instructions on post 814 on how to contact me and I will message you with the way forward.

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Giles 10th August, 2021 @ 18:11

Thanks for this advice. My mum is a single property landlord and had a deposit returned to her by the agent when she decided to manage the property herself. She failed to protect the deposit within 30 days but has done so now. In the meantime the tenant moved out and is disputing damages (repair costs exceeded the deposit). The former tenant has now issued a threat letter from a lawyer claiming 3 times the deposit back.

She feels she has a good response as she has evidence for damage and other issues (tenants in breach of contract due to more people living at the property than allowed) but I am worried the “technical” breach will override other matters.

Should she settle?

All the best.

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David 11th August, 2021 @ 08:29

@Giles

If she had a single tenancy she is going to pay between 1x and 3x, there is case law for mitigation and culpability, but some claim firms run a racket of hiking charges if you don't approach them carefully.

It is really going to depend on the firm, I know some that charge very reasonable costs for what is essentially copy paste law and others that are obscene and get reported to the SRA and Ministry of Justice every time.

Some firms will walk away if there is a counterclaim or else ask the tenant to pay it, this may be enough to counter it, but there is a way to do it.

I can't advise more in this public forum but if you reach out to be privately I can review the case and do not charge for doing so.

Please follow the instructions on post 814 on how to contact me and I will message you with the way forward.

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Erica 11th August, 2021 @ 10:53

Hi David

Im after some advise here too. Me and my partner were renting our house and unfortunately we're not aware of the deposit protection scheme.
We had a tenant who left the house in total mess, with broken doors, holes in the sealing and walls, totally ruined carpets, broken furniture, stolen TV and mattress etc. On top of this they didn't give us notice about moving out and just left a month earlier before agreement ended.
As the deposit was not protected, a year later we have received a letter from their instructed solicitor to settle the unpaid deposit claim.
Just so you know the deposit was not enough to cover all the damage, and we have photos of the damages also we had no contact details to contact them. Due to the fact that this happened during the lockdown, we had difficulty to sort the house up to the living standard for many months and if was vacant for a while.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Kind regards
Erica

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David 11th August, 2021 @ 17:18

@Erica

Advice is pretty much identical to that I gave Giles above.

I can't advise more in this public forum but if you reach out to be privately I can review the case and do not charge for doing so.

Please follow the instructions on post 814 on how to contact me and I will message you with the way forward.

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Roger 22nd August, 2021 @ 11:17

Dear David,

First of all, thank you for everything you do to help people with the answers to their problems.

I have got myself into a bit of a situation, regarding the non-protection of some tenants' deposit. Unfortunately the deposits were all taken over a long period of time before the tenants moved in, over a few months with different amounts received at different times. I gave them some leeway in paying up front. Unfortunately this dragged on and I did not receive all of the payments at once, with some right before they moved in. This is not an excuse for not protecting the deposit but my reason. I know I messed up by failing to do so.

During the course of the tenancy, the relationship between us soured somewhat, I am sure the tenants felt aggrieved to be paying a full rental amount during covid and nitpicked every little issue that was wrong with the house. I sough to remedy this asap and behaved decently and responsibly by getting all issues fixed asap.

There was an issue with water leaking during the tenancy caused by the tenancy over running the showers and causing water to leak to the kitchen ceiling below, short circuiting the electricity and damaging the smoke alarm. This caused electrical damage and as well as this, the house was not left clean on departure, with rubbish left for me to clean up and the house not returned in a condition they found it in, which was specified by the tenancy agreement.

So I made some deductions to their deposit. I received an email from one of the tenants asking me to confirm that the deposit was protected. I am worried about an incoming legal action they may take to punish me for the deductions.

I am considering a counter claim for the damage and breaching the tenancy agreement. Is this worthwhile if they make a letter before action. Do I have any mitigating circumstances, even though I acknowledge I messed up by not protecting the deposit.

Would appreciate any advice you can offer.

Kind regards

Roger

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Emma 8th September, 2021 @ 14:40

Hi, my dad has been renting a house out to his tenants for 4 years. He was still grieving at dealing with a lot of other issues when he put it up for tenancy. As such he failed to do the right leg work and has not had the deposit protected.
My dad has only come to realise this after going to issue a section 21 to his tenant, as he now needs to sell the house, and cannot as he hasn't got the deposit insurance.
How can this be resolved so that he can get the tenants their notice issued ASAP?
Thanks
Emma

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David 8th September, 2021 @ 16:07

@Emma

There are two issues here.

1. His desire to issue a Section 21 notice to evict the tenants without fault.

2. Failure to protect deposit which may render him liable to between 1x and 3x the deposit for each tenancy, including any Statutory Period Tenancy created in law if a tenant remained after the tenancy expired.

In order to issue a legally compliant S21 he needs to rectify any points of failure, this may be a current gas safety certificate, protecting the deposit, issuing the prescribed information for the Deposit Protection to the tenants, issuing the latest Government "How to Rent" document. He should also make sure that there are no prohibited fees under the Tenant Fees Act, these should be repaid to the tenant before issuing a new S21.

Note that Courts are managing huge backlogs of cases, so if the tenant does not leave at the end of the expiry of the S21 (currently 3 months notice) then he may wait 8 to 12 months to get the case before a Judge.

He needs to get in front of the deposit protection failure BEFORE they go to a claims company where the tenant will get less but the Landlord will pay far more because of legal cost.

The solution to both may be a settlement agreement, i.e. he pays the tenants to leave and he pays them between 1x and 3x the deposit per tenancy.

The Court is very binary on this, he either protected or his didn't but the amount will vary on culpability.

I may be able to help you if you contact me via the Personal Message part of the forum.

Please follow the instructions on post 814 on how to contact me and I will message you with the way forward.

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Mital 2nd November, 2021 @ 00:23

I am the owner/occupier of the flat and I am using the master bedroom of the flat. I had a lodger using the sofa bed.
I have all the bills to prove I was living in the flat and paying all bills.

My lodger had a habit of locking herself out and on many occasions has called me in my office claiming she has left the keys and I had to come out to let her in. I also left a spare set of keys for her to give to the neighbor, but she did not give it to the neighbor and instead lost it. I had to change locks after this incident. Not only this she had a habit of keeping the window of the room open which opens into an open terrace through which anyone can easily come in. Despite my several warnings to her she continued to do so, putting my property at risk to be burgarled anytime.
One day She called me from my neighbor's phone, saying she had locked herself out again and wanted me to leave my office meeting to come and let her in as she had a flight to catch to Scotland and needed to leave for the airport by 4 pm latest. I was not happy about this, however I left my meeting and told her I was coming. I was on my way when she texted me from neighbour's phone that she has let herself in through the tiny window which she left open. Neighbour had helped push her in and in turn they broke the window. She promised to fix it, but it was broken and needed a replacement and not a fixing. She did not ask me my permission to enter my property through the window and if she had I would have not given her the permission because the window is too small to fit her and it was definite there would be irreparable damage to it if she forced herself inside through it. It is also illegal for her to enter my property in this manner.
Not only does she refuse liability for the broken window but has flatly refused to pay for the damage. The damaged window costs £795 to replace.
Now she has made a claim that she was a tenant and she wants 3 times her deposit back. I had signed a AST contract by mistake instead of a lodger contract and she is using this to make her claim. I also realsied that she had actually never paid me any deposit of £600 and told me she will pay me cash but later I forgot to take the cash from her and she never gave me any money. I presumed she had paid and it was much later I realised that she actually hasn't paid me any deposit.
She now has a "no win no fee"lawyer who wrote to me saying i should pay £2400 which i refused and the matter has been referred to the court. I am going to be re-presenting myself and I am wondering what my chances of winning are? Any advice on how I can best defend myself and I should do will be appreciated. Should I also hire a lawyer? It is very clear that she is loking to make easy money from me and sees this as a good opportunity...

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David 2nd November, 2021 @ 10:59

@Mital

It is best not to give too much detail that may identify you here.

I have dealt with a number of claims of this sort, some where a lodger is "deemed" a tenant and some where they started as a Lodger and then Landlord moved out and some where Lodgers were trying it on. Ironically on one it was the Landlord who was on the sofa!

In law what matters is the the type of occupancy, I will need to see the agreement but if she did not have sole access to any part of the property and you lived with her then she is a lodger and not protected by the legislation.

If you contact me via the forum I can review your paperwork and construct a letter to dismiss her claim if she has not started claim yet.

As she has contacted a claim firm it is in your interest to act immediately, I have the two case laws that should make them back down, but you have contacted me very late in proceedings, my concern is that you may have missed Court deadlines. Either way we either inform the otherside why they have no case or you will do it on the day.

Please URGENTLY follow the instructions on post 814 on how to contact me and I will message you with the way forward.

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Emma Venditti 3rd November, 2021 @ 17:12

Hello David, I rented a house through an agent three years ago. I paid a deposit in two stages. The first payment of £2,500 was put in a tenancy deposit scheme but I wasn’t provided with the notification of this within 30 days and was never asked to sign the form myself. The second part of £900 hasn’t ever been protected.
I initially signed a year contract which went into a rolling contract and I understand from your advice to others that this would then count as two tenancies against which I can claim.
My question is whether I can make the claim against the agent as well as the landlord?
The agent signed the form that has since provided a deposit scheme notification although I haven’t signed it contrary to the guidelines.
From reading your blog I gather that this is a possibility if the agent signed the form on behalf of the landlord.
But does this have the potential to double the claim, effectively meaning I could claim against both parties for the same issue? Or is it more of a formality as to whose name is written on the claim form, and mean that both names would be named on the claim form rather than just the landlord’s name?

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David 3rd November, 2021 @ 19:24

@Emma

For both amounts to count as a deposit they must be taken for the performance of the contract, but that would not usually include advance rent, there are a few exceptions to this but so unlikely not worth going into.

It is unusual for there to be two amounts like this unless the deposit was always £3400 and you were paying in installments.

The deposit cannot be more than 5 weeks rent for tenancies that started after May 2019, that then applied to all tenancies regardless of when they started, a year later.

Yes it counts as two tenancies.

The Landlord will need to provide evidence of you being served the Prescribed Information, they may have used a 3rd party company other than the agent to "serve" you or the agent may have had you sign what may be all or some of the PI within the tenancy agreement.

I always advise Landlord to keep it separate as an appendix to the tenancy agreement AFTER the deposit has been protected so that the reference number can be included in the tenancy agreement.

Since the Deregulation Act (2015) if the deposit was protected fully compliant with the law then all subsequent tenancies including SPT's would be protected, the money would need to have remained in the scheme for the whole time, if it was insurance based it must not have expired. Expiry is very common with sloppy agents.

You don't get to claim twice for the same thing from both parties, I generally advise the Tenant to go after the Landlord and the Landlord to go after the Agent if the terms of the Agent contract with the Landlord say they will handle the protection or if there are emails etc to the Landlord saying they will take care of it but they don't.

I assess each case upon it's own merits, if the agent has disappeared then why risk adding them if it may dilute the claim potential. On the other hand if the Landlord sells up and moves to Afghanistan then I might suggest just going after the Agent. It all depends on the evidence and situation.

If we find that the £2500 was protected then it is still possible to bring claim for the £900 if it meets the criteria of a deposit.

I would be happy to help you take this further, ideally with would be to settle the matter without going to Court, but if they will not engage then I can help you take it to Court too, unlike claim companies I do not charge for the help I provide so you do not lose 35% of the claim and you give the Landlord a real chance to save money.

Please follow the instructions on post 814 on how to contact me and I will message you with the way forward.

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SamArshad 13th November, 2021 @ 08:22

Hello

I privately let for 5 months, unaware of the deposit scheme. Then had a leggings agency take over who had done a new tenancy and done a deposit scheme correctly, moving 4 months on the tenant is threatening to take us to court for not protecting the deposit in the previous tenancy agreement!

The tenant keeps kicking off every month about something or another and we have been dealing with every query. She will then apologise and carry on ok for a few weeks and the. Start again. She is a first time
Mum who had experienced a traumatic birth which she keeps bringing up everytime. Initially when they moved in they wanted to get in ASAP so the week we had vacant to professionals clean and repaint the house they rushed us out happily agreeing to paint and clear the old furnishings and clean them selves (we paid for the paint and the clean) but had put pictures on social media saying look at how a 5 month pregnant women was given a house!!! These were pics before they had cleaned or painted or emptied the house

She keeps threatening us every month to go to the tax man or take us to court or now about the deposit scheme in her PREVIOUS let. On one occasion has also said she wants to leave before her tenancy ends and doesn’t want to pay the fee (we even agreed to pay this to allow them to leave) but then turned around and chose to stay!

My question is, is her trying to take us to court for a previous tenancy agreement even valid? Considering they have relet with the managing agency with a new agreement where the deposit has been put into a scheme. Also I have read they need to dispute this at the end of any Tenancy within 3 months

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Sam Arshad 13th November, 2021 @ 09:07

Hello

We had rent a house for 5 months privately with and agreement but no scheme.

The tenants started to keep asking for things and would expect a response on the same day or works to start straight away. They had made some rude comments so to avoid this we had a management agency take over.

They done a new tenancy and put the deposit into a scheme. From August onwards. They had made some slip ups which were rectified quickly.

Every month she has been having a melt down and saying with her traumatic birth and some of the slip ups she’s getting stressed. She then cams down and apologises and then repeats this again. Any repairs or queries are dealt with accordingly and communicated via the agency. She has then demanded to leave before her tenancy and does not want to pay the fee to leave early which we have agreed to pay. THEN Ashe has changed her mind and wants to stay as it’s the best thing for her and the baby.

There is a req re the shower to get replaced. We have sent out a contractor, who has quoted and we have booked. There has been a week between each step due to agency being on leave and the contractor being busy but nonethe less it’s been dealt with.

Out of nowehere they have been putting up pictures on social media of the house in the condition she was given at 5 months. Please note from vacating the house to them moving in we had 10 days to empty the house of some old furnishings, paint and professional clean. The tenants were so eager to move in they happily agreed to get in a week early and do all this themselves. We have them money to cover the paint and clean!! So for them to slander us on social media about the state of the house for which they agreed to take is uncalled for

And since then have been threatening to take us to town/court over the deposit not being in a scheme with the first let that is now finished and over 3 months ago!

Not at any point have we ever mentioned their deposit

My question is do they have a valid case to go to court re the previous let and none deposit scheme? The deposit for that key was transferred to the agency who put in a scheme when they re signed a new let.

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DavidP 13th November, 2021 @ 09:39

@Sam

First of all when you said

"She then cams down and apologises"

Is she in a self contained flat above you or in a bedroom of your house, perhaps with her own bathroom and kitchen?

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David 13th November, 2021 @ 10:48

@Sam

I will speak to you firmly for the sake of other existing or would be Landlords, please accept it as constructive advice that will probably save you money down the road.

If you rent a property to a tenant (not a lodger) you immediately are liable to the numerous Acts of Legislation and case law which are enforced by UK Courts and Tribunals.

You have to treat letting a property as a Business and this site can help you with doing what you are supposed to do. You can also read the Government How to Rent document and some Landlords attend courses run by the Housing Department for Landlord Licensing (even if they are not obligated to be licenced).

If you have to replace a boiler you would allocate that cost to the lifetime of your investment, you must take the same approach to repairs, adhering to legalities and generally complying with the law.

The most basic rights that will get you fined huge amounts are heating and hot water, failing to get a licence where required and deposit protection. You can also get big fines for charging prohibited fees (some dodgy agents are still doing this) and health n safety issues (fire and smoke alarms etc).

When your Tenant keeps asking for things you have to manage expectations, for some things you should respond in hours but if you can’t take the heat then using a decent Agent who is at least a member of ARLA. However, understand that you then become liable for mistakes the Agent makes.

So you admit you did not protect the deposit but it is not just protecting the deposit, the prescribed information needs to be provided and ideally signed by the tenant so you have evidence of service. The penalty for both failures is the same, it is an either/or not a penalty for both added up. That said, it is applied to each tenancy related to a deposit held for the property, once you fully comply with the law, as long as the deposit remains protected then subsequent tenancies are deemed as protected. However, beware because some Agents use insurance schemes and forget to renew, again you are liable for their mistakes.
You are complaining about the Tenant behaving in an entitled way or being very demanding, one would have thought you would be ecstatic at her desire to leave and might even pay her to go.

Now you might have some fees in your Tenancy Agreement, but these are often deemed as unfair contract terms, some can even get you fined £5000 if they are prohibited fees under the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

In these modern times when you can put a free listing on Openrent and have scores of potential tenants desperate to occupy tomorrow, it makes it very hard to justify any charge for when a tenant leaves early. In any event you are only able to charge for actual costs and such costs may be challenged if unfair or unreasonable. There is a whole page dedicated to this on this page:

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/your-tenant-wants-leave-early/

If there is a catalogue of repairs then it is in your interest to deal with them because cumulatively they can make you look bad when in front of a judge on other matters, such as deposit protection.

She may have some mental health issues, she might have some anxiety or even postpartum depression, so try to deal with her calmly and in a reassuring way.

Unfortunately she is not gone until she surrenders the property back to you and even then with a demanding Tenant like this you need to make sure you have lots of written evidence. This is what I mean by managing expectations, when your tenant says she wants to leave, ask her to put the request in writing in an email to the agent.

In fact when she comes down for anything, start by saying “Hi, how are you, how is your baby, are you managing to get some sleep, how can I help you”. Then whatever she asks for, reply, “thanks for letting me know, can you please email the Agent as they are dealing with the day to day management of the property”. If they say they already did say to them “Ok great, can you please send them a chaser email and CC me on it”.

The agent does not sound very good, they should not be so small that someone going on holiday creates a delay. A shower is a critical thing to get repaired super quickly and a week between each step is not a standard that I would find acceptable. I would consider bigger Agents and better contractors, only award the contract to someone who can do it quickly and who has good record on TrustPilot, if they fail to do what they say they are going to do then they are in breach of contract and you can cancel and appoint a new contractor. That is the approach.

The lesson from letting them in early is that no good deed goes unpunished, but you got the rent from the day of occupation. If you are disturbed by the pictures appearing on social media then it kinda suggests that you should not have let it in that state. Paying them to do decoration is never going to be as good as a professional decorator.

We live in a world where people post all kinds of shit online, generally I would advise that you ignore it unless you are named but mostly do not give them the ammunition in the first place. It is not slander if they are telling the truth. As far as I am concerned Social Media itself is uncalled for, it damages children, creates a false sense of entitlement to be offended and outraged for the most pathetic things.

I would always advise seeking a settlement regarding deposit protection and this is something I can help you to negotiate.

To answer your question, she has six years from becoming aware of the failure to bring a claim against you, it can be for between 1x and 3x the deposit per unprotected tenancy.

I can help you write an email to encourage a settlement, I would urge you act quickly because you can be sure that at some point she will come across a claims company, most of these companies are all about generating fake fees, the legal system allows them to do this and it is sometimes more expensive to challenge costs than to pay the costs.

A lesson for other Landlords is not to pretend it has not happened, but to get in front of it. I can help you mitigate your culpability and if there are any legal loopholes I will advise accordingly.

To take this further it is best you contact me via the forum, as they may be reading this public blog.

Please follow the instructions on post 814 on how to contact me and I will message you with the way forward.

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Mital 13th November, 2021 @ 17:11

Hi David.
Thank you for your response 838 on the 2nd of November to my message. I just saw it now and have messaged you privately via the forum.
Would be really grateful if you can assist as the court date is on the 3rd of December 2021.
Kind Regards
Mital

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Sandro Schneider 21st November, 2021 @ 23:35

I bought the property off auction and the previous landlord is dead
He never served any certificates, neither EICR nor gas safety certificate and all this besides the fact I don’t know if he protected the deposit.

Can anyone please help me build a case so I can serve a legal section 21 notice?

I honestly would be so happy if anyone could help me!!!

Kind regards

Sandro

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David 22nd November, 2021 @ 10:37

@Sandro Schneider

It is going to depends on what paperwork you have and what information you know. There are numerous options available.

On the face of it, for S21 route you just need to rectify all the things on the Section 21 form (these have been moved to the Notes in latest S21 Form).

There are two Section 21 pages that are essential reading on this site, this one explains the process

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/section-21-notice-of-possession-order-form/

This page explains the difference between Section 21 and Section 21

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/difference-between-section-8-and-section-21-notice/

If you go via the Section 8 route you need grounds for eviction, some of these are mandatory for a Judge to provide possession, this page lists the grounds and all the Section 8 issues

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/section-8-evicting-tenants/#grounds

If you want the Government page, this is it if you are in England or Wales

https://www.gov.uk/evicting-tenants/section-21-and-section-8-notices

To avoid making mistakes and for me to evaluate your actual case and take this further it is best you contact me via the forum, as they may be reading this public blog.

Please follow the instructions on post 814 on how to contact me and I will message you with the way forward.

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Kenny 28th November, 2021 @ 12:01

Hey David,

Firstly, want to say how great and detailed your responses have been. Actually above and beyond the quality of service I've seen from Citizens Advice. I'm deadly serious.

(To clarify I'm a tenant sharing with 3 others in a Shared Tenancy agreement)
I moved in about 3 years ago replacing someone moving out. Signed an Addendum Contract a month after moving in since the landlord didn't have it ready on moving day and they were already on the 'rolling contract' phase of the agreement (Main contract is for 1yr from May 2017. I signed the addendum June 2018). But no information about the deposit scheme or where it was kept were given. Fast forward to September 2021, we had a new contract drafted due to a slight increase in rent *and deposit*, again no information about the deposit scheme, so she's already late.

I have prompted multiple times over the year, in writing, for the deposit information. The latest was earlier this week. I even went as far as talking to Shelter, Citizen's Advice and talking to all 3 Deposit Scheme Holders to ask if there was any deposit on the address at all, let alone the current tenancy deposit. All said there was nothing on their records. So I don't know if it was ever protected.

I read through a lot of comments discussing actions to take to claim to court further down the line when you have the evidence that they've broken the Deposit Scheme Law but not WHILE being in the tenancy. Obviously won't take action on anything until I decide to move out in the future.

I'd like to know if this is a good enough indicator to follow up later down the line. What might happen if I leave but other tenants remain, will that compensation cover everyone, does everyone have to claim together as a group will it technically effect the tenants means to stay in the house?

Also, if she does end up covering the deposit, 60+, 90+ days later, would this still be grounds for following up too?

Appreciate your thoughts.
Many Thanks
Kenny

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David 29th November, 2021 @ 21:34

@Kenny

To give you absolute advice I need to see the paperwork.

You do not say what the term of the 2017 agreement was, if it was for a year it would have expired and become a Statutory Periodic Tenancy, or the SPT may have happened since unless the lease was a Contractual Periodic Tenancy.

The new tenancy will create a further breach if still no protection within 30 days.

I advise to do after to prevent retaliation eviction or damages but a claim must be brought within 6 years of becoming aware of the obligation to protect, you could not use concealment to extend to 12 years because you have already asked about the deposit protection.

The key to that retaliation is two inventory checklists produced by the Landlord in your presence before and after the tenancy.

The deposit must not exceed more than 5 weeks of the rent or she will be in breach of the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

Ideally you all bring the claim and share any sanctions, else they give permission else they could added as defendants and then excused so they get none of sanctions (if they are not party to the claim).

Please follow the instructions on post 814 on how to contact me and I will message you with the way forward.

The law was changed so that even if they protect it late they are liable for breach but it is a good idea to protect as soon as possible for them to gain mitigation and afford you the right to free ADR provide by the Government authorised Deposit Protection Schemes.

It was then changed again in Deregulation Act 2015 so that if a tenancy is made to fully comply with the Act, including serving PI then as long as the deposit remains in the scheme then there will be no sanctions for later tenancies that are substantially the same.

The onus is on HER to prove protection; I can give you method to satisfy a Court if it was never protected.

To avoid making mistakes and for me to evaluate your actual case and take this further it is best you contact me via the forum, as they may be reading this public blog.

Please follow the instructions on post 814 on how to contact me and I will message you with the way forward.

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Mark 6th December, 2021 @ 19:02

Hi David,
I wonder if you could advise on my situation. My elderly mother & father own a rented house. They have had a tenant in for 17 months. They have a rolling 6month agreement. They left all of their belongings in the property and left it in an awful state. They didn’t give any warning of leaving and my parents had no idea they had left until they received a solicitors letter demanding £3500 in compensation as they’d not protected the bond. They didn’t once ask about protecting the bond during their time in the house and they left owing a month’s rent and council tax in arrears. My father has been in hospital for the last six months and my mum has no clue about this subject. She has offered the bond back to try and get rid of the situation but they are now threatening county court. It seems so unfair. She is a novice landlord that has made a genuine mistake and the tenant is clearly a rogue. Please can you offer any advice?
Many thanks

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David 6th December, 2021 @ 21:45

@Mark

You need to act really quicky and contact me via the forum.

Please follow the instructions on post 814 on how to contact me and I will message you with the way forward.

Meanwhile send them a holding email explaining that her husband is in hospital and she is seeking legal advice.

I will then help her achieve a reasonable settlement and try to avoid this going to Court. It all depends on who we are dealing with and I can't give too much about named firms on a public blog.

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Gregg 14th December, 2021 @ 20:06

Hello David, I hope you can advise me.
I had a tenant of 6/7 years who would not sign a renewal 12 month AST agreement because they were buying a property and moving out at some time shortly. I offered a six month agreement and agreed to be flexible. They signed up. When the 6 months was due to expire they refused to sign a further renewal as there moving was imminent, although I offered a month to month. They continued to pay their rent on time for the next 2 months (Aug/Sept). Their October rent was late after some chasing. They did not pay their November rent and I had a property inspection done by a registered independent agent on the 4th of November. The tenants vacated the property on the 13th Nov without paying the rent. The property was left in a very poor condition which is verified by the agents report and photographic evidence when vacated.
On the 16th of November I emailed them and offered them their deposit of £875, less £406 rent arrears, a further £100 for the replacement of a broken bathroom basin and £150 to replace a completely broken fitted wardrobe unit. I offered to send them £219. This offer is really generous, as they even left a huge sofa behind and the decor was disgusting and far beyond reasonable wear and tear. They failed to respond to this email directly but somewhat incoherently by Whatsapp without making any specific demands. I did not lodge their deposit into a scheme and they have now requested a scheme number. It has cost me over £7000 to restore the property to enable a new tenant to move in.

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David 14th December, 2021 @ 22:28

@

As you have a live case I think it is better we discuss privately via the forum.

Please follow the instructions on post 814 on how to contact me and I will message you with your options.

In a nutshell the deposit legislation does not remove the liability of the tenant for performance of the contract.

However, this needs to be handled delicately.

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Andrea 28th February, 2022 @ 15:35

My son has lived in a HMO for over 2 years (landlord does not live in the property)his landlord has asked him to move out as she is passing the 'business' to her son who does not like my son so she has decided it would be best for him to move out! It has now come to light that she did not place his deposit (£750) into the required scheme, can my son claim for this breach? All advice I can find relates to tenancy of a whole property. She has also not issued a Sect 21 notice just a letter and not given 2 months written notice.

Any advice would be great. Thank you

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David 28th February, 2022 @ 16:17

@Andrea

Assuming it is an HMO your son should have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and even if one is not provided, the legislation will create one.

So yes indeed he has a claim for up to 3x the deposit per tenancy, including any Statutory Periodic Tenancy that may have been created by him remaining in the property after the tenancy expired (commonly referred to as month to month tenancy, legally a Statutory Periodic Tenancy created by Section 5 of the Housing Act 1988)

Nobody can be evicted without a Court order, any attempt to do so is deemed as Forced Eviction which carries fines and is a Criminal Offence potentially leading to up to two years in prison.

The letter itself will be considered by the Local Council as an act of Forced Eviction, but you do not need to involve them a this stage. If they put in writing that the their son does not like your son it may be considered harassment if it is too threatening.

If your son's Landlord has not obtained the proper Landlord License for the HMO then he may be entitled to claim a Rent Repayment Order of up to 12 months’ Rent. I can help him with explaining that.

There are two routes to a potential Court order, one is a Section 8 notice if the Landlord has grounds (e.g. non-payment of rent for at least 2 months) the other is a no fault eviction which requires the statutory form 6a that serves notice under Section 21. Explained at the following page on this website.

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/section-8-evicting-tenants/#grounds

The S21 has a number of pre-requisites, there is no hurry, so your son can wait for the invalid notice in the letter to expire and THEN email their Landlord saying:

"Further to your letter of February 28th 2022, I am sorry but I will NOT be vacating the property as you have not served the legally prescribed Section 21 notice, I will be pleased to leave upon expiry of such a notice after it is served."

There is no need to go into further detail, it is up to them to go to the .GOV website to download the latest version of the 6A and to make sure they do it right. If they do not get it right then again he can wait until the S21 notice expires and inform the Landlord why it is void and so they will have to start over.

IF your son is deemed as vulnerable as defined in the Housing Act (disability of some sort usually required) then the Council may eventually owe him a duty to housing and to consider he has a priority need. They should be informed when a legally valid S21 is served, but they will advise not to leave until they say or else the Tenant risks being considered intentionally homeless.

I would advise that your son stay where he is, does not rock the boat, does not bring the claim for the failure to protect until he has left the property (to prevent futile attempts to fake damages). He should behave as if all is wonderful and if he has any arrears they should be settled as soon as possible.

The Landlord will need to protect the deposit which will give your son access to ADR in the event of any dispute, they might return the deposit but that will not prevent them being liable. In fact it is often seen as a bad move by Judges because then the Court has to deal with any dispute and the whole purpose was to keep these disputes out of the Court.

With regard to advice on the whole property, that is no longer relevant, your son will have an element of exclusive possession, even if it is only his room. His landlord can't for example come into his room and sleep in his bed, because he has granted a lease and it provides for "quiet enjoyment of the property" whether that be his room (maybe with communal use of other areas) or whether it is the whole building.

We have a plethora of case law on sham licenses and other attempts by Landlords to circumvent the legislation, it never works and usually leads to the maximum sanctions and potentially with other punitive damages available to the Court.

As you have a live case I think it is better any further discussion privately via the forum to avoid you prejudicing your son's case.

Please follow the instructions on post 814 on how to contact me and I will message you with your son's options.

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harry gold 5th March, 2022 @ 20:53

Hi David

I have a flat where the deposit has not been protected by the agent I was using
I now want to serve a section 21. the tenant is fully aware that the deposit has not been protected .I haven't got the tenants bank details to return the deposit. How can I give the deposit back so i can serve section 21 . can I suggest to send by registered post? or film pushing £50 notes into his letter box.

many Thanks

Harry Gold

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David 6th March, 2022 @ 10:13

Hi Harry

It is not a wise move to return the deposit, but to protect it as soon as you realise that it has not been protected.

If you return the deposit to the Tenant you deprive them of the free ADR service in the event of a dispute and even if there is no dispute I have seen Judges take that into account.

If the Tenant has not said you can't use email for service it is one way to give the prescribed information, you can also send the PI via registered post, probably not put your name on the back, if they decline to sign then that will be noted on the returned letter.

There are firms who will return the cash and video themselves doing so but I have seen that going very wrong because of GDPR, the Tenant comes out and has not consented to being filmed, things kick off and next thing you know it is harassment and that is a slippery slope to Forced Eviction. You always need to be seen as reasonable and sqeaky clean, in my experience cash return does not help nor does returning the deposit.

You are always better off seeking a settlement, get in front of it, blame the Agent and even sue them later if you had a full service or their website implies they will protect it (also check their terms and conditions).

The DPS is free so protect it now, then reach out to the Tenant and say you have recently discovered it was not protected by the Agent and you would like to compensate them for the inconveniance.

Then if they agree put the terms of the settlement in an agreement that settles all matters between the parties related to the property save damages as outlined in the lease. Even offer to provide a positive reference as part of the settlement, that can be worth something to them. When deciding settlement amount remember that the minimum they will get in Court is 1x the deposit.

Once you have protected the deposit and served the PI you have corrected the S21 defect (make sure you get this right, include a copy of the certificate, the terms of the scheme and any leaflet they produce.

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Phoebe 5th April, 2022 @ 19:27

Hi David,

My mum rents her 4 bedroom flat out, with each tenant on individual tenancy agreements. One tenant moved in and gave their month’s notice to terminate the 6 month contract after only 22 days in the flat. They gave no reason for termination, but my mum thought that since they would be leaving in a month she wouldn't go through the deposit protection process and just return it once they left. She returned the full deposit with no deductions soon after their departure, and they are now threatening to take legal action because it wasn’t protected.
What can she do? Is she likely to have to pay them compensation?

Thank you

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David 5th April, 2022 @ 22:56

@Phoebe

If the person left 22 days in and the deposit was returned within the first 30 days, then your mother would not have breached the legislation.

If she left 53 days in as you suggest then it would have needed to be protected. A Landlord can't just decide not to follow the law, the tenant could have just remained in the property.

I did have a case once where a foreign student was messed about and there was no property to rent, someone was literally sleeping in his bed.

So he cancelled the tenancy and moved elsewhere, the Agent then tried it on with all kinds of fake charges for loss of profit and other BS. The Landlord was a violent person and very upset when his Solicitor told him he should pay. In the end the Landlord "persuaded" the Agent to refund all monies and pay 3x the deposit without going to Court.

This was because it had cost the student a fortune, they had paid a lot up front and were messed around.

In your mother's case I can't see a Judge giving more than 1x the deposit, I can probably give you some case law to help you negotiate (follow the instructions on post 814 on how to contact me) but do not let it get to a claims company. I can write her a letter making the offer in such a way that if she refuses it then she might face cost consequences if she then goes to Court.

Now if your mother tried to breach consumer legislation and charged the Tenant all kinds of fees which represented more than her actual loss, then that might be why this happened and it might sway a Judge to hold her culpable for more.

I think your mother might find the following article helpful.

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/your-tenant-wants-leave-early/

Other Landlords in this situation would be well advised to give the Tenant 24 hours notice for an inspection / inventory and return the deposit immediately or better still just protect it within 30 days, it is free at the DPS and takes minutes (when it works).

They also need to serve the Prescribed Information within the 30 days.

I have been saying for years that the Deposit Protection Schemes should be "flipped" so that the Tenant protects the deposit and names the Landlord, then the Landlord gets the notification and give the relevant scheme a copy of the tenancy or details.

This would work with the Government idea of a Floating Deposit that is passed from Landlord to Landlord (in terms of protection within a scheme). It would put an end to Deposit Protection Claims because it would become the responsibility of the Tenant.

Also it would make the schemes truly unbiased, right now they know that the Landlord is the decision maker when it comes to deciding which scheme to use and this is sometimes a factor in the ADR system.

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