For one ridiculous reason or another, many landlords are STILL failing to meet the requirements of the tenancy deposit legislation, which includes protecting their tenants’ deposit into a ‘tenancy deposit scheme’.
As a landlord, I find that mind-blowing, because the legislation is heavily documented, and so are penalties for failing to complying (which are no joke!).
On that note, if you’re one of those tenant’s that’s been lumbered with a cowboy landlord that has neglected their responsibilities, here’s how you can seek compensation!
I’ve already written a fair share about tenancy deposits on my blog, mostly geared towards helping landlords comply with the legislation. So while most of the resources on here are for landlords, the comments section still manages to get inundated with contributions by disgruntled tenants, all wondering how they can take action against their landlord for falling short of their responsibilities in regards to the handling of their tenancy deposit.
Essentially, that’s why I’m here, writing this, to provide a place for those tenants’ to seek refuge and formulate a sensible plan of action.
Yes, I try my best to help landlords as much as I can, but actually, my primary objective is to assist the greater good, which means stepping on landlords that are mistreating their tenants, or in this case, falling short of even the most basic of obligations! I can’t condone that shit.
Has your landlord failed to protect your deposit?
First and foremost – before even getting the wheels in motion – you need to determine whether or not you have a case against your landlord.
Has your landlord actually failed to meet the requirements of the tenancy deposit legislation?
I’ve already covered what your landlords need to do in order to comply with tenancy deposit legislation, but briefly:
- Secure your deposit – your landlord must secure your deposit into a ‘Tenancy Deposit Scheme’ with in 30 days of receiving it, even if you’ve only received a partial amount of the deposit.
- Serve “Prescribed Information” – once your landlord has secured your deposit, s/he then has 30 days to serve you with the ‘Prescribed Information’ (this is documentation related to the details of the deposit being protected).
If your landlord has NOT done either of the above, then you most likely have a valid case.
How to recover your deposit + seek compensation?
If you have a valid claim against your landlord, you can be awarded up to x3 of the deposit in compensation on top of your original deposit.
To make a claim, you can either:
- Use a specialist “No Win No Fee” Deposit Recovery service like depositrecoveryclaims.co.uk (I’ll discuss this service in more detail below)
- Use a solicitor.
- Make a direct application to the court for a deposit compensation claim by completing the form N208 from HM Courts and Tribunal Service.
Tenancy Deposit “No Win, No Fee” Recovery Service For Tenants
While making a direct application to a small claims court is generally the cheapest way of recovering a deposit, many tenants prefer opting for using a specialist “No Win No Fee” Deposit Recovery service, because it’s a lot less hassle. I get it.
I remember a few years ago when my Ryanair flight to Bucharest was delayed by 4 hours, so consequently I was entitled to a full refund. I read a few guides/forums on how to recover the money, and the general consensus was that it’s a complete pain in the ass, which entailed a lot of chasing. Unsurprisingly, most companies will drag their feet for as long as humanly possible before letting go of a penny.
I ended up [successfully] unleashing a “No win, no fee” recovery service onto Ryanair.
Sure, they took a small percentage of the refund, but it was ridiculously easy and painful, so I was happy to pay. I value my time. Anyways, my point is, I get the whole convenience factor.
For tenants looking for a tenancy deposit recovery service, I’ve been recommending depositrecoveryclaims.co.uk, simply because:
- They only run on a “No Win, No Fee” agreement
- They’re one of the more popular deposit recovery services, so I see them around everywhere
- I’ve received good feedback from tenant’s that have used their services – so they seem to get the job done
- They take 35% of clients damages. Shelter and most other bodies’ charge 50% (sidenote, Shelter is not currently taking any more cases as they are full)
Deposit Recovery Claim Criteria
If you’re interested in using their service, the following criteria must be met (and I imagine it’s the same for most other companies that offer a similar service):
- Case cannot be older than 5.5 years
- Your deposit must have been protected late (any time after the 30 day limit) or not at all
- You must have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (other types of tenancy do not qualify)
- You must have some proof of the deposit being paid
- You must have photo ID and proof of current address
- You must have consent and contact details of all tenants named on the AST
- You must not have rent arrears
- You must not have breached their AST contract i.e. leaving early
- You must not have a valid counterclaim for the landlord such as arrears or property damage
If you check all the boxes, you can complete the claim form (by clicking on the link below), and your details will be checked over by a solicitor. The solicitor will then call you to discuss and decide whether to take the client on.
If you have any questions, or any experience in recovering a deposit, whether it be unsuccessfully or successfully, feel free to leave a comment below!
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.