My Tenant Is Threatening Legal Action Because I Didn’t Secure The Deposit

I could throw a stone in the middle of a landlord conference (who actually goes to those things? Maybe a blog for another day) and probably hit a landlord on the head that’s either been through it, going through it, will eventually go through it, or at the very least, unknowingly harbouring a tenant that’s looked into it.

Rightly or wrongly so, we’re being hunted down like rabid dogs for failing to comply with the tenancy deposit legislation. We’ve become such easy and profitable targets that specialised ‘tenancy deposit claim management’ divisions are popping up all over the place, to assist in the management of dragging and encouraging dormant tenants to claim their unclaimed fortunes. How fucking generous of them.

Business is BOOOOOOOOOOOOOMING!

Every landlord should unequivocally comply with their legal obligations, even the policies that are more ghastly than the boils on your mum’s sloppy face. And while so many try to use ‘ignorance of the law’ as a defence (from my experience, that’s the most common excuse), legitimately or otherwise, it’s still (and always will be) pointless to even mutter the words. Save your warm, unsavoury and moisty breathe for your spouse.

But on the other hand, I’m finding it impossible to empathise with those dick-face tenants that are taking advantage of ignorance purely out of greed. Don’t get me wrong, unscrupulous landlords deserve for their profits to be drained like a large infected cyst, and compensation should be allocated fairly to those that suffered as a consequence. But sadly, there are too many cases surfacing whereby good landlords, but foremost genuine people that are only trying to do good, have been threatened and prosecuted by an academy of asshole tenants that are sniffing around a quick paycheck. Spineless leeches!

Our Landlord didn't secure deposit
Introducing the tenancy deposit legislation was a good move to protect both tenants and landlords, but as it currently stands, as with many legislations that are hashed together by servants whom are completely inexperienced and have no practical knowledge of how the relevant realm works, the finished product seems like it’s lined with clunky congealed skid-marks. Who approved this shit?

It’s clearly ridiculously too damn easy for undeserving prosecution, which has resulted in a long queue of tenants rubbing their grubby little mitts together and practically begging for landlords to fall-short of their deposit obligations, because it’s like a winning scratch card. That can’t be right, not on any level.

So this blog post is aimed at helping those “good” landlords caught up in the struggle. Stay strong, my brothers! Stay strong!

The Tenancy Deposit Legislation

Ok, so let’s go over this really, really, really, really, really, really quickly, because I’ve already covered the what, where and how’s in-depth, over at the Landlord Tenancy Deposit Guide blog post.

Obviously, complying with the tenancy deposit legislation from the offset, which is covered in Section 213 of the Housing Act 2004, should be Plan A:

  • This legislation applies to every landlord in England and Wales that has taken a deposit from a tenant under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement.
  • Securing the deposit: the deposit must be protected with in 30 days of receiving it.
  • Serving the Prescribed Information: after the deposit is secured, Prescribed Information must be served to the tenant, also within 30 days.
  • Late compliance: unfortunately, you’re still a target if you’ve secured the deposit and/or served the Prescribed Information after the 30 day window!
  • Landlord’s responsibility: it’s ALWAYS the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the deposit legislation has been complied with correctly. Don’t rely on your agent for anything, they won’t be held accountable.

The penalty for failing to complySection 214 of The Housing Act 2004 states that IF a Judge is satisfied there has been a breach they MUST sanction the landlord to cough up between 1 and 3x the deposit for each tenancy and also return the deposit itself. Ouchieeeee! Not to mention, you’ll also be unable to serve a valid Section 21 notice, which is arguably a shit-ton worse on every level!

If you’re sitting there hearing screeching noises as your stomach is avalanching out of your anal-cavity, and with your hands over your eyes and gob wide open, because YOU KNOW you’ve failed to comply, you may want to read the stone-cold reality of your situation over at the ‘I haven’t protected my tenant’s deposit‘ blog post to help plan your next move. I’m sorry to say, you’re in a pretty unforgiving situation, so the options ain’t pretty.

In short, if lady luck is on your side, your tenant’s kind nature or ignorance will allow you to tip-toe away unscathed. But ya’ know, if they eventually cotton on… don’t be surprised if your ‘perfectly reasonable tenants’ quickly turn against you and suck-the-living-shit out of you after uncovering the treasures that await them. There’s something very zombie’ish about tenants turning once they become enlightened.

My tenant is threatening to take legal action against me, what can I do?

Important disclaimer: before continuing, I must clarify, the following is NOT legal advice. Say it out loud, “NOT LEGAL ADVICE”… SAY IT!!! If you’re after professional legal advice, please speak to an extortionate Solicitor that specialises in landlord law. The following is purely based on personal experiences and hearsay…

If you’re currently caught in the cross-fire, the odds are it’s because your tenant(s) has discovered you’re ripe for prosecution due to your failure to comply with the tenancy deposit legislation. With their beady little eyes firmly on the prize, they’ve probably contacted you demanding compensation, typically somewhere between 1-3x the deposit value. Of course, it’s almost always x3 because they’re ambitious, they want the jackpot, and after a chat with their mate down the pub and/or doing their ‘online research’ they probably believe that’s what they deserve can get away with. And hell, why not reach for the stars? But what’s most worrying and disappointing is that many tenant’s chase after the easy money despite the fact they’ve benefited from a perfectly reasonable landlord throughout the tenancy, so that’s why many landlords are often caught blind-sided by what is quite frankly, daylight robbery. They may as well have posted this through your letter box:

give-me-money

I can only urge all tenant’s in that position to side-step and forgive by asking for the deposit back in full, and then by then making a strong vocal point. Hopefully lesson learned.

With that said, the following advice is suitable for those good landlords that are genuinely being taken advantage of by the money-grabbing parasites that don’t have the moral fibre to put their foot on the breaks…

Ultimately, your objective at this point should be to avoid Section 214 Housing Act Deposit Protection Penalty Sanctions.

Bu…bu… BUT my asshole tenant has also breached their tenancy obligations!

Ok, I hear this all the time! What a classic.

At this point, many landlords will frantically splash around, trying to kill the situation by pointing out their opponent’s shortcomings (i.e. “my tenant has fallen into rent arrears”, “my tenant shat on the carpet” etc), hoping for a ‘get out of jail card’. Unfortunately, focusing on someone else’s wrongs to mask your own is as embarrassing and futile as it sounds.

You need to understand that you’ve been a rat-weasel, you’ve done wrong. You are liable for prosecution, so right now it’s only a question of how little you pay.

Minimising costs & Settling

Ok, so… credit where credit due, the following is largely taken from Comment #226 over at the “I Haven’t Protected My Tenant’s Deposit, What Should I Do?” blog post, by an extremely generous, experienced and knowledgeable contributor, David. So a big thank you very much! The following will be a hybrid of David’s sound advice and my own toxic interference…

The reality is, the tenant just wants paying off; they usually have no intentions of escalating the situation to court (because that can be expensive, not to mention a whole heap of hassle). What they want is some free money, and the legal threat is an attempt to reduce you into a whimpering little girl and lure you into submission.

You have three options:

  • Pay what they demand
  • Fight in Court
  • Negotiate

If they’re asking for just 1x the deposit, it might be wise to begrudgingly pay up and move on with life, with the experience of knowing better for next time. No doubt, that might still hurt like a sledgehammer to the nuts, but it really is an easy escape from what can potentially be a very firm and prickly grip. However, if the amount they demand seems totally unreasonable (you may want to assess your performance as a landlord at this point, and be honest with yourself), negotiating is usually the way to go

After receiving the threat, you should respond swiftly. You should write your response knowing that a Judge or Mediator may look at it; that means you will want the Judge to see that you are the fair and reasonable person, while the tenant is nothing but a mumbling buffoon, using the Court to decapitate your wallet for some easy cash.

You should start with a letter expressing your complete astonishment and surprise. I would send something like this:

Negotiation Response 1

Dear [Tenant name(s)],

I was most perturbed to receive your letter before action considering I felt that we had a good Landlord and Tenant relationship, with no major problems on either side.

To be honest I was in complete astonishment and surprise because your letter before action was not preceded by any claim, nor a Part 36 offer of settlement, nor any suggestion of mediation.

I do regard this threat of legal action as vexatious and without merit, but I would like to keep things amicable and avoid wasting the Courts time. I am reliably informed that a Judge would view this for what it is; a frivolous attempt to extort money from me, using their Court in an inappropriate way.

At this stage I would like to ask you to reconsider your proposed Court action and agree a settlement with me; that being a positive letter of reference and the sum of £[insert low-ball offer, less than half of 1x deposit] as a gesture of good will with no liability accepted as full and final settlement of this matter.

I hope that you give this kind offer your serious consideration.

Yours sincerely,
[Landlord]

The low ball offer is to bring the leech tumbling back into reality (assuming their initial settlement fee was OTT). They will most likely reject your offer, which should definitely come as no surprise, because you’re dealing with a donkey that’s an utter chancer. In any case, now you’re dancing/negotiating. In response, they may ask for 1x the rent, which you may want to settle with, but they may play hard ball and ask for 2x the deposit. If they do the latter, I would reply with the following:

Negotiation Response 2

Dear [Tenant name(s)],

I am in receipt of your recent offer to settle this matter for 2x the deposit. I am sorry but I cannot accept this as the facts of this matter do not reflect the gravity of such a sanction.

There was no animosity between us, any repairs were carried out promptly and overall I was an excellent Landlord. I am reliably informed that a Judge will take into mitigation the fact that I am a novice Landlord, [and that I quickly protected the deposit in an approved scheme as soon as I became aware of my unattended oversight].

I have refunded the deposit to you in full despite the fact there were a number of issues with the way you left the property that were beyond wear and tear. I did this because I thought we had a good landlord/tenant relationship.

As I explained recently, I feel it is grossly unfair that you try to extort money from me, and whilst I am keen to keep things amicable, I will only agree to a settlement that is fair and reasonable. To this end I am prepared to provide the positive reference offered previously and increase my offer to £[no more than 1x deposit] as a gesture of goodwill in full and final settlement with no admission of liability.

I hope you will give this serious consideration so we can end this unnecessary hostility.

Yours sincerely,
[Landlord]

They may accept or they may try again. In any negotiation you have to give small amounts slowly and usually in response to something given by the other side. They will no doubt give reasons for why you should pay more, but if they don’t, then they are really showing they are weak. SO WEAK. WEAK LIKE… I don’t know… weak like your stomach after digesting an out of date pork-chop.

So be ready to offer incremental amounts, and then a final offer of no more than 1x – 1.5x deposit (or whatever you’re comfortable with), because at some point you have to draw a line in the sand and be prepared to call their bluff. It is your money and your risk appetite that matters here.

A Judge can decide anything they like within the legislation, but a lot of them get pissed off when it’s obviously just about the money (which is often the case). They have a huge case load; some may even kick the case out and force you to go to mediation. They may even say the tenants have to pay for that because you have tried 3-4 times to settle (that’s why it’s important to try and fairly negotiate).

This is ultimately a game of poker, your tenants know you have a potential liability, but you know you have mitigation; depending on their case, they may not get costs unless this goes to appeal, and that is going to be expensive for them upfront with no guarantee of success. That can be a powerful deterrent for the donkey to proceed.

If a settlement is agreed

Hopefully a fair settlement can be agreed. If that’s the case, it should be documented and laid out with a heading of “Settlement Agreement”, and it should clearly state that the settlement is the ‘full and final settlement’. The document should then be signed by all tenants. I’m currently working on getting an example Settlement Agreement as an early Christmas present from me to you, so sit tight for that! It’s all about love around here.

Correspondence

It’s important to send all correspondence through assured means. That could include all of the following…

  • Sending letters with recorded delivery
  • Delivering a copy by hand through the letterbox, while video yourself doing it
  • Sending it via email with a PDF version attached for good measure. The subject of the email should be “Formal Response to Letter before Action”

Every case is different

The problem with these cases is that they can come from 20 different angles; and the law has been amended so many times by statute and case law that it is a dog’s dinner. So while the advice above may not be entirely relevant or fitting to your particular case, I think the key takeaways are:

  • If you’ve been a good landlord, negotiate… do everything you can to settle!
  • If you feel your tenant wants a reasonable amount of compensation from the offset, you’re probably better off paying and considering yourself a little lucky sausage.
  • Ensure you are being fair and reasonable at all times; suppress your anger and frustration if you need to.
  • Always respond quickly, and send all correspondence through assured means.

Before deciding to take legal action!

A word of caution to any Landlord or Tenant thinking of taking legal action; it can cost you £8k to £10k if you get a belligerent opponent who takes this to appeal, employs a barrister and wins. So to emphasise…. the purpose of this blog post is to encourage all parties to settle, settle, settle!

So, anyone going through this dilemma, or been through it? What’s your story? Can you provide further advice? TELL MEEEEEEEE! TELL MEEEEEEE! xoxo

281 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 231 - 281 comments (out of 281)
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David 1st April, 2018 @ 13:11

@Sabina

This is not my site but I managed to join which means anyone can!

1, Click the Landlord forum link above or visit https://www.landlordforumproject.co.uk

2. Click Register or visit https://www.landlordforumproject.co.uk/index.php?action=register

3. Accept the terms of use

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5. Look for an email to verify your email

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7. Visit http://bit.ly/davidpip

8. Send personal message

Hope this helps, other have reported problems but resolved it using above instructions.

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sabrina 14th May, 2018 @ 19:11

Hi David

Thank you so much for your help and advice. The matter is now closed. I served the tenant with the settlement agreement and have subsequently paid the asking price for not securing the deposit in a deposit scheme.

I have certainly learnt my lesson.

Many thanks

Sabrina

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Angela 5th June, 2018 @ 07:53

I wouldn't jut like to point out that NOT all tenants are leeching paristies looking for easy money.

I rented a property for 10 months in which time I decorated and carpeted the house all with the owners permission.
I gave my notice to leave after double checking my rent account was satisfied and everything was in order with the letting agent. I then discovered my deposit was not protected . This is where the trouble began, I asked my landlord about my deposit to which she said she paid in months ago.
I contacted citizens advice to ask what to do about my deposit and this lying landlord.
I checked all three deposit schemes and non held my deposit.
I spoke to a solicitor and issued a letter threatening court action if my deposit was not returned, to which a reply was , we will see you in court.
I offered mediation they said no.
When it came to giving out statements to each other I sent everything of mine to them and the court, I had nothing of them, I'm at court in two weeks and I still have no idea what evidence they 'have'
When it came to leaving , my rent was all up to date everywhere was cleaned and left tidy.
I got both neighbours to come in view the property before posting the keys ( as the landlord wouldn't come collect them)
Originally they eventually paid my deposit into dps, 9 months late, they claimed I have damaged all sorts and wanted £1039 off me now it's going to court it has somehow escalated to £2460. Apparently I stole the coal from the fires, light bulbs, put holes in the walls ruined carpets etc etc..
I have every bit of evidence needdd to prove them wrong.
I think they saw me as a single mother who worked 6 days a week as an easy target!
The next tenants have got in touch with me as they are now going through the exact same thing.

I'm at court in two weeks and I am dreading it, I know I shouldn't worry as I have done absolutely everything in the correct way, but this has been making me ill , please give me some reassurance 😢

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David 5th June, 2018 @ 13:27

@Angela

It is a shame you did not come here earlier, I often manage to get such Landlords to accept that they broke the law and the sanction is there teach them the importance of following the law.

As this is a live case I would suggest you contact me via the Landlord forum so we can discuss confidentially.

Suffice to say that you have nothing to worry about, once the Judge catches them in one lie they will not believe a single word they say.

Depending on how you brought the claim I may be able to get their claim thrown out if they have not followed CPR to the letter.

Incidentally they cannot get an offset against a statutory penalty.

Rogue Landlords often invent revenge damages in such claims and forget that everyone these days has a smartphone with a video camera.

All the landlord is likely doing here is guaranteeing the maximum sanction as well as paying your legal and fixed costs as well as Court fee.

Do not reply further here as your landlord may well come across this page, use the private messaging of the forum, instructions to join are below.

1, Click the Landlord forum link above or visit https://www.landlordforumproject.co.uk

2. Click Register or visit https://www.landlordforumproject.co.uk/index.php?action=register

3. Accept the terms of use

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5. Look for an email to verify your email (do not use hotmail as they lose them)

6. Login in with the credentials you used in step 4

7. Visit http://bit.ly/davidpip

8. Send me a personal message

234
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Suzanne 6th July, 2018 @ 11:53

hello everyone,
my tenant has just moved out of the property, she had her deposit back and everything was okay until I received a letter yesterday stating that firstly, I didn't put her deposit into a deposit protection scheme which I did and I have proof of this. Secondly, that I didn't provide her with the prescribed information, which admittedly I didn't do. No excuses as it my own fault but I'm new to this.
She also owes me around £400 in unpaid rent, I haven't yet spoke to her about this as she only moved out two days ago.
I know that I've been stupid but I believe I was a good landlord and she's just doing this because she wants the money, the letter says she wants £1650 (3x times deposit) or she will issue proceedings to the court.
Any advice and I would be grateful as its very confusing for me.

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Simon Pambin 6th July, 2018 @ 12:42

They always ask for three times the deposit as it's the maximum a court can award. The minimum the court must award is one times the deposit and, if you genuinely protected the deposit within 30 days in an approved scheme and your only breach was in failing to issue the Prescribed Information (unless you did issue it and the tenant has just forgotten about it), that is all the court is likely to award. So, in effect, you "owe" her £550, she owes you £400. Offer her £150 in full and final settlement and write it off to experience.

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David 14th July, 2018 @ 13:02

@Suzanne

I did post a reply to your message, not sure why it did not post

This page has been created to give you what you need to negotiate with the tenant, if it has already gone to a claims company or Solicitor you will need a different approach.

If this article and Simon's suggestion of the amount are not useful to you then feel free to contact me via the forum so we can discuss confidentially.

Do not reply further here as your tenant may well come across this page, use the private messaging of the forum, instructions to join are below.

1, Click the Landlord forum link above or visit https://www.landlordforumproject.co.uk

2. Click Register or visit https://www.landlordforumproject.co.uk/index.php?action=register

3. Accept the terms of use

4. Fill in the fields and Captcha

Username:
Email:
Choose password:
Verify password:
Verification
Type the letters shown in the picture

5. Look for an email to verify your email (do not use hotmail as they lose them)

6. Login in with the credentials you used in step 4

7. Visit http://bit.ly/davidpip

8. Send me a personal message

237
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julia 29th July, 2018 @ 16:26

Dear David - I registered on the landlord forum as I'd like to write to you privately about a live case. I haven't yet received an email link (it's not in my spam folder), maybe because it's Sunday today. Does it take some time?

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David 29th July, 2018 @ 16:48

@Julia

I know it has problems with hotmail, but other than that is has always been instant with me.

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Alexandra 8th September, 2018 @ 09:40

Well what a donkey i am - yes i failed to protect the deposit (first letting and done in haste with no real checks on our side...as i said i am a donkey) and moment tenant found out my error the threats started. 4 months after they left (with rent arrears £226, and other damages totalling over 3000£ to fix according to quotes) we get the LETTER PRE TO SUING ME TO DEATH IN COURT. Rat pants wants the 3 times he told me he was entitled too - and he has employed Boon and Co who specialising in punishing landlords.

They EMAILED me the letters - 15 days after they claim they wrote them (they have the wrong address on both letters despite the actual address being the subject line) i got them to extend our settlement date 21 days so i have 2 days to reply...

What do i write as no way am i paying this guy 2000£ (max claim) i never denied i stuffed up, he ruined house, trespassed after leaving to dump sofas etc back in garden and we kept the deposit to cover removing his rubbish, cleaning and his unpaid rent - he said we could keep it for the rent.

Whats your advice on offering a settlement - the lower the better as this guys just sees pound signs and refused a clean break letter on leaving stating we would sue for late rent, damage to house etc and would return his deposit minus rent immediately IF he agreed to not go after this tenancy thing...cause he refused...

Will a solicitor take into consideration that the tenant is an unreliable witness who lies and cheats and wouldnt do well in court?...or do they just go to court and hope that emailed letters can be claimed back in thier massive cost claims?

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David 8th September, 2018 @ 10:42

Hi Alexandra

I am mindful that you are close to litigation and may have used a name which could identify yourself, can I encourage you to contact me via the forum private message system (look at post 237 to see how) as you may prejudice your case posting too much detail here.

First of all when these claims lawyers set deadlines it is just a pressure tactic. We will write a short holding message, if they fail to be reasonable in pre action conduct it will affect their ability to get costs and they depend on those.

I would be happy to help you draft a response and settlement agreement, I will need some more detail but do not post it here as it might identify you.

For the sake of other Landlords let me advise, DO NOT LET IT GET THIS FAR, as soon as you get a letter before action you need to engage the tenant with a view to settlement.

Once a tenant engages a claims company they have to pay the claim company fees if they do not carry it through and only the claims company can settle once instructed.

Luckily I have experience of positioning a claim like this so you pay the minimum and/or still get back your damages.

See you on the other side....

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Alexandra 8th September, 2018 @ 13:44

hello david - thanks for your message - we are not at court yet - still in the reply to our pre action demands stage but yes he expects to hear from me by 48 hours of time. I took the liberty to write to you on the forum and have drafted a response if you want to see it but no clue on what to offer as a first settlement. I am sure my response is more emotional than legal so your thoughts would be appreciated. we left it this long as just back from a huge business trip and my jetlag was impairing my ability to even think rationally about all this. But yes guys dont leave things to drag on - face it head on, admit liability and try and negotiate...its our only choice.

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Sabrina 12th September, 2018 @ 20:26

Hi David

Do you have any templates for a AST that makes reference to Ground 2 in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988

Regards

Sabrina

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David 12th September, 2018 @ 21:23

@Sabrina

Best to contact me via forum and keep this thread on Topic.

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Nic 18th September, 2018 @ 10:44

I can totally see why this act is hard on especially first time landlords. However, as tenants who paid our ex landlord over 4 x his mortgage amount, and kept his flat cleaner than it ever was when we moved in, we're glad that this act is in place.

We left the flat to move to a house and gave our full notice, until that point our landlord had always been lovely. No problems whatsoever. He had visited the flat a few times in the two years we lived there and always commented on how great we were keeping the place.

We moved out two weeks ago, and asked him to let us know ASAP what deposit we would be getting back and when. We weren't expecting any deductions because like I said, the flat was spotless and we have paid our rent on time without fail. We didn't get any answer from him for a while, so sent a follow up email. Nothing again. When we checked with all of the government accredited schemes there was no record of our deposit.

I sent him an email to state that we couldn't find any information regarding our deposit and that this is very worrying and illegal. Could he explain himself. At first he said not to worry it's in a scheme. We asked for the certificate or proof of this, and 24 hours later he replies apologising for his previous 'misleading' email and that the deposit was never put in a scheme as he had a 'problem' with the scheme and a previous tenant.

We then gave him the biggest lifeline - pay the deposit back in full within 72 hours and we will brush it under the carpet, even giving him advice to not let himself get in this situation again and make sure he uses the scheme for the next tenant as we could take him to court for up to 3 times the deposit amount.

He has now responded with an invoice for over £100 cleaning fees and over £22 for lightbulb replacements, even though all lights were working plus spare bulbs left in a kitchen drawer.

The rest of the deposit has been refunded, bu t I am absolutely fuming that he has had the ordasity to try and charge us for anything after we tried to let him get away with thousands of pounds in fees.

So guess what? We're going to be going for the full amount in court now. So yeah, landlords can be 'dick-faced' too. Talk about pushing his luck.

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David 18th September, 2018 @ 11:08

@Nic

I had a case which took over a year to resolve, one of the issues was a lightbulb charge.

It is REALLY shortsighted to be so ridiculous.

The cleaning charges may be reasonable if the property was huge or the contract said you had to have the carpets cleaned professionally once a year (for which you would need a receipt to dispute) but you can still dispute them as unfair contract terms.

Carpets for example have fair wear and tear, so the benchmark is to leave them in as good a condition as when you started the tenancy SUBJECT TO FAIR WEAR AND TEAR. Look at the type of carpet, an expensive one may have a life of 10 years but a cheap crappy one that is vacuumed every week may look tatty after a year of normal use.

It is always advisable to take a video and photos of a property when you move in and move out, when you move in you need to add to the inventory anything that is not there but for which you be blamed later.

If you need help bringing the claim yourself I can help you with the forms and tell you how to construct the statements and evidence. Contact me via the forum, see post 237.

In a way you are quite lucky, some Landlords add fake damage claims after you go after them, as they have already said the only damages are the cleaning and light bulbs then that is that.

In future always have an inventory taken with check-in and check-out, even if you do it yourself.

You can still dispute the Landlord's deductions.

I would suggest a letter disputing the deductions which also seeks a settlement for their failure to protect the deposit, I can help you with that too if you contract me via the forum as explained in post 237 above.

This legislation was brought in because "some" Landlords saw the deposit as their own little private fund, some would have spent it, others used it as a redecorating fund. The fact that your landlord has had previous tenants means he has very little mitigation if any at all.

It is NOT an optional scheme, no matter what problems he may have had with previous tenants.

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Nic 18th September, 2018 @ 11:18

@David

Thanks for your quick response to above comment. It was only a two bedroom flat, and carpet only to one room which was barely used by us as it was the second bedroom. No marks on carpet, and the rest of the flat wooden floor which was cleaned before leaving. The contract said nothing about cleaning carpets.

Like I said, the flat was left in a much better condition than when we moved in, the same cleaning was done the day we moved in as the day we left, so obviously a much nicer way to leave it...

I just find it crazy that he is demanding anything when we could have immediately took him to the cleaners (sorry for the pun) for not protecting our deposit in the first place.

Now it almost feels like, we tried to be nice, but now screw you. We might as well take you to court. We have email proof of him admitting he never put our deposit in a scheme, and he lets out another property too so i doubt their deposit is protected either... He lives abroad so he wasn't in the country on the checkout and as he didn't pay the lettings agent to do one we just dropped the keys in. We asked for a checkout so we could be there, but he said it wasn't possible. It's only after we have pestered for the deposit that he has said the lettings agent has said that the flat needs a clean and the lightbulb replacements, the landlord himself hasn't even been in the UK let alone inspected the property.

Would definitely like the letter disputing the deductions which also seeks a settlement for his failure to protect the deposit, I have just registered so will await my email. Thank you.

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David 18th September, 2018 @ 17:43

@Nic

Just be aware that the forum and hotmail do not play nicely, hotmail seems to not accept messages at all according to some users.

The way we verify deposit protection is by checking all three schemes, so the email just adds to the evidence.

For sake of other readers, these are

http://bit.ly/chkdep1 TDS

http://bit.ly/chkdep2 DPS

http://bit.ly/chkdep3 MyDeposits

I will look out for your message on the forum PM system.

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Innocent Landlord 3rd October, 2018 @ 11:21

Hi, A tenant moved in 2017, a HMO house, a week after my husband at only age 44yrs was in hospital with emergency heart surgery, and was terribly unwell, with 3 young kids life was a whirlwind, and yes, deposit protection was forgotten, and not even checked ever since. My fault, I've read so many articles that stress it's my fault!

So today, I receive a county court claim for 3 x the amount for failing to insure the deposit, also listing we didn't supply an EPC, of which we aren't required to as it's a HMO property. So she's incorrect for that.

She did breach her tenancy, from smoking in the house, and drugs in the house, and paid rent late.

Us however was always instant with regards to repairs of any issues of the property, replacing a show which thermostat went, taking ant powder down on the day there were ants, even though it wasn't our responsibility for such a thing as per the contract. We are fair landlords, and are at hand and sympathetic to all our tenants - I'm a mum, what can I say. So yes, this is hitting me harder than hard...

We've since written to the tenant asking for negotiations, giving them 5 days to reply. I am asking, anyone that has been taken to court, did any one win less than 3x? Anything I can point out to help my case go to the minimum 1 x? I have Dr note with operation dates etc. This deposit insurance has been our biggest headache and a pain, and a failing is so harsh when in fact, we are all just human..... Thanks in anticipation...

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David 3rd October, 2018 @ 12:16

@InnocentLandlord

I am sorry but I do not agree that the sanction is harsh, it used to be a mandatory 3x sanction for ALL failures. There is no excuse really, if you are going to be a landlord then you have a duty to obey the law. The law came about because too many rogue landlords felt the deposit was their redecorating fund. Even after the law came out many played all kinds of stupid games to get around the law which is why it was tightened up.

The deregulation act 2015 has made it easier, the S21 restrictions are much easier and if you protect the original deposit you are deemed as having protected all subsequent tenancies to the same tenants as long as it has remained protected.

Now that you are due for a sanction you will tell friends and if they become Landlords they will be careful to protect their deposits, so the system is working.

Unfortunately the history is irrelevant, the Court does not care if she smoked or took drugs or anything except the matter before them.

Are you sure that you have received a county court claim or is it a threat of a county court claim?

Under CPR you should have been sent a warning Letter Before Action and that would have been the ideal time to attempt to negotiate a settlement. If you did not receive any warning letters they they are in breach of pre-action protocol.

If a county court claim has actually been issued then they have paid a fee of around £400 and chances are that they will want that back in any settlement.

You do not say if it was the tenant, Solicitors or a Claim company, that has brought the claim, a claim company would have written at least twice and so would most Solicitors. The latter are more amenable to negotiation.

There is certainly a chance of mitigation if you are a novice landlord and/or you relied on an Agent to protect the deposit and they in fact failed.

I can assure you that Judges do take into account the circumstances, but they rely on proper evidence. If the tenant has evidence that you are a rogue and failed in other Landlord responsibilities they will award the 3x sanction for each tenancy. The minimum they are allowed to award is 1x the sanction per tenancy.

If you do not have any mitigation but nothing negative then a 2x award is likely.

There is nothing that says your offer to negotiate has to be a multiple of the deposit. So if court action has indeed been started then you might want to offer 1x the deposit plus maybe the Court fee.

Courts prefer cases are settled out of Court, if you make a reasonable offer and it is declined then that can affect their ability to get costs.

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Benji 3rd October, 2018 @ 12:40

"I do not agree that the sanction is harsh"

Can you think of any other area of English law with such a harsh sanction for an equivalent 'crime'?
-Genuine question 'cos I can't.

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David 3rd October, 2018 @ 13:16

@Benji

Yep, improvement notice is around £500 for the Council to come out if say you fail to put a smoke alarm on every floor.

£5k if you fail to adhere to an improvement notice.

Gas safety failures can huge.

There are a plethora of fines at companies house and of course the FCA.

The ICO can charge you 9% of turnover.

Hell a TV Licence failure is £1000

Landlording is not a hobby it is a business with responsibilities, I have known landlords fined £40,000 for various failures.

If you became a plumber you should have indemnity insurance, if you fail to have such insurance and flood someone's house you are going to pay.

It is just a cost of doing business.

As I said it is not really harsh, you have an option to plead mitigation and remember it is supposed to be a deterrent.

The legislation has been out for many years now and sites like this warn you of your obligations.

Yes it is a shock, but that is the idea.

These days you can fail to address a parking ticket and soon find yourself facing £400 in charges.

It is not fun but not the tenant's fault.

You will be pleased to hear that failures in tenant fees bill will be pursued by weights and measures authorities. They will be far more vigilant and there will be little or no negotiation.

As they limit deposits to 6 weeks rent the sanctions will reduce in value so we may need an increase to 5x deposit!

Only a fraction of tenants take action so really I think Deposit Protection sanctions are just about right level now.

Good thing is that most Landlords who get stung will protect in future.

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Benji 3rd October, 2018 @ 13:41

Cheers, some good examples but with the exception of TV license, not directly equivalent.

I've never fell foul of it and I doubt I will in future, just interested.

Only a fraction of tenants take action so really I think Deposit Protection sanctions are just about right level now.

Fair comment.

Good thing is that most Landlords who get stung will protect in future.

Or just pack it in completely because the cost of doing business is too high- which suits me as it pushes up rents.

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Innocent Landlord 4th October, 2018 @ 08:46

David thank you so much for a speedy response. There has been no communication with the tenant at all regarding the deposit or asking even where it is kept before this claim. Literally we found out we'd not protected it once the County Court Business Centre claim landed on our doorstep. On her claim she's said she's approached all the deposit protection schemes and has found out it wasn't protected... sadly she's correct there. She's also claiming we don't have the correct certification of paperwork as well, some actually isn't required, but we do 100% always service the boiler per year and so on and will provide proof of this. Thank goodness we are hot on that side of the business.

She's claiming through the County Court Business Centre, with her court fees of £70. So no solicitor, it's signed off from herself too. I'm assuming it's a small claims court then? I have no idea, new to all this. The court isn't even in the location where either of us live, it's 100 miles away, which is weird when we are in a large city. We can provide evidence of our speedy measures when there has been a broken shower, replacement bulbs and all general maintenance. We pride ourselves in providing really lovely homes for our tenants to live in. Hence we've had some tenants for what feels like forever, and tenants are always coming back to us once they realise how well they are kept. So anything I can provide that you'd think will help my case to reduce the penalty of 3x is what I'm after. Rather than me bombard the courts with too much information that is irrelevant and therefore cheese them off so to speak! Obviously the fact she hasn't tried to negotiate initially, and hasn't since we've asked to settle out of court, we've given her until Friday 5th to come back to us, so we shall see. Anything we should send to the courts as our county claim? The claim form we've received is a N1SDT, should that mean anything to you. Thanks again.

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Benji 4th October, 2018 @ 10:04

The claim form we've received is a N1SDT, should that mean anything to you.

They are using MCOL, they should be making a more expensive(£308) part 8 claim.
You should be able to reject the claim on that basis, although they may get lucky.
Even if you are successful, they may well come back using the correct procedure.
A £70 online claim fee is for claims up to £1500.

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Innocent Landlord 4th October, 2018 @ 11:19

Yes it's a claim just short of £1500. It's a HMO house so she only rents a room. So I assume her claim is correct as it's her rent x 3 and £70 representatives cost. I guess I should count myself lucky it's not for more. And yes, we've been excellent landlords in respect of living conditions. I'm guessing that's all I can give as my defence, a long with the reason why it wasn't insured in the first place. And keep my fingers crossed there is a sympathetic judge who looks at the case.

I am intrigued to know if any landlords have received less than 3x as their penalty for the same situation? And believe me... lesson learnt... But again, all these clauses which costs landlords, some rightly so, some not, just results in the poor tenants that get hit with higher rents. That wasn't what I was wanting to achieve when I started out....

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David 4th October, 2018 @ 11:53

@InnocentLandlord

In the first instance she is not in accordance with the Practice Direction Pre-Action Protocol, she has made no attempt to even inform you of her claim never mind try to resolve it before going to Court

These are the conduct rules:

1. Pre-action protocols explain the conduct and set out the steps the court would normally expect parties to take before commencing proceedings for particular types of civil claims. They are approved by the Master of the Rolls and are annexed to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). (The current pre-action protocols are listed in paragraph 18.)

2. This Practice Direction applies to disputes where no pre-action protocol approved by the Master of the Rolls applies.

Objectives of pre-action conduct and protocols

3. Before commencing proceedings, the court will expect the parties to have exchanged sufficient information to—

(a) understand each other’s position;

(b) make decisions about how to proceed;

(c) try to settle the issues without proceedings;

(d) consider a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to assist with settlement;

(e) support the efficient management of those proceedings; and

(f) reduce the costs of resolving the dispute.

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/pd_pre-action_conduct

She is in breach of Part3 as has done none of the above nor made any request of the claim nor has any Judge determined the claim.

As the defendant you are entitled to have the claim moved to your local Court and request a hearing. Northampton is a clearing centre for established claims such as debt.

Your tenant has tried to do this on the cheap, probably saw something online but does not realise that she has to follow CPR rules, she also can't use MCOL for this type of claim.

I do not know if she has a poor command of English or deliberately answered the questions wrongly but it is as plain as day

https://i.imgur.com/yozusLD.png

You should have received a form N9B to file a counter claim and defence. You can return this without filling in the details of the debt claim amounts (cross them out and mark NOT APPLICABLE).

In Section 3 you could write something along the lines of

I AM REQUESTING THAT THIS CLAIM BE DISMISSED FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS

1. AS A TENANCY DEPOSIT CLAIM IT IS NOT SUITABLE FOR MCOL

2. THE CLAIMANT IS IN BREACH OF PRE-ACTION CONDUCT AS SHE HAS NOT EVEN INFORMED ME OF HER CLAIM NEVER MIND ATTEMPTED TO SETTLE ALLEGED ISSUES WITHOUT PROCEEDINGS OR CONSIDERED A FORM OF ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR) TO ASSIST WITH SETTLEMENT. (SEE ATTACHED CPR PRACTICE DIRECTION)

3. SUCH CLAIMS SHOULD BE BROUGHT IN THE COUNTY COURT WITH A HEARING. THE CLAIMANT IS WARNED IN THE MCOL CLAIM PROCESS THAT SUCH CLAIMS ARE NOT APPROPRIATE FOR MCOL AND IS TRYING TO ABUSE THE SYSTEM (SEE ATTACHED OR VISIT https://i.imgur.com/yozusLD.png )

Make sure you enclose a copy of the practice direction at

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/pd_pre-action_conduct

as well as a copy of the image.

The MCOL staff are not legally trained, but this is black and white easy. Still if unsure they may send you a further form to request a hearing and direct the case to your local County Court, at which point she will be expected to pay the proper fee for it to continue. If it gets redirected you can ask that Court to throw it out because of failure to follow pre-action conduct as a stunt to cost her money that she can't reclaim. She will then need to first write to you with details of her claim and give you notice to respond. Only then can she bring the claim properly in the County Court.

There is nothing wrong with her using a Part7 procedure (WHEN APPROPRIATE, we often help Landlords by moving such cases to Part7 which pisses off Claims companies as they can't claim their costs). If she had used Part8 she could have brought a claim for costs, but as she is probably planning on representing herself she probably was ill advised or trying to avoid your costs in case you counter claim and use a Solicitor.

Her unreasonable behaviour in failing to follow pre-action conduct may even allow you to claim your legal costs but I would not count on it.

If you have a claim for damages caused by breach of her tenancy agreement when it goes to the local Court you can issue a Counter Claim.

Do not acknowledge the debt, it has not even been determined by a Judge as such it does not exist. Follow the procedure I have outlined above to get it thrown out or moved to your local County Court.

Then once cancelled or moved the claim you can reach out to the tenant and offer 1x the deposit or even £300 as a settlement if you want to chance it. If you contact me via the forum I can help you draft a letter to the tenant explaining all the reasons why she should accept a settlement, use the instructions in post 231 above to register on the forum.

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Benji 4th October, 2018 @ 11:58

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2014/4729.html

The effect of the changes made by the amendment was to introduce a discretion for the court to order the landlord to pay part to give not less than the amount of the deposit and not more than three times the amount of the deposit.

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David 4th October, 2018 @ 12:09

@InnocentLandlord

I did explain above

"I can assure you that Judges do take into account the circumstances, but they rely on proper evidence. If the tenant has evidence that you are a rogue and failed in other Landlord responsibilities they will award the 3x sanction for each tenancy. The minimum they are allowed to award is 1x the sanction per tenancy.

If you do not have any mitigation but nothing negative then a 2x award is likely."

I have had hundreds of cases of 1x 2x and 3x, it all depends on the Judge and the facts.

I have explained in previous posts that the right of a Judge to use their discretion to determine the gravity of the claim was firmly established in OKADIGBO vs CHAN

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2014/4729.html

A Judge will read your defence and witness statement as well as that of the Tenant, he may be swayed if you have evidence that you protected all the deposits of the other tenants in your HMO as well as your family circumstances. It all depends on the judge you get on the day, as it says above in the blog post every case is different.

I can quote you a transcript where a Judge berates a tenant for having got their deposit back and are now seeking a pay day.

or

I can quote you a six times serial offender Landlord where there was harassment (threats and sending the boys around with Police involved) that deserved paying every penny of the £15k claim.

I can sense you are worried so contact me via the forum and when the time comes I will help you with your witness statement and defence but hope to get it settled before then.

If they fail to respond to attempts to settle they are likely to get less and may have to pay your legal costs.

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Innocent Landlord 4th October, 2018 @ 12:51

Thank you SO much for your time, and all this information... I shall take some time to take this information in, and indeed reply to the notice as you have suggested. No doubt I'll be back with more concerns but this is superb. Priceless information as I've googled this for days and most sites are with the Tenant, so no help to me. Finally I can make a start. Happy to negotiate with them.. Not that I'm happy about my situation... We shall see what we can do. Thank you though for now...

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Fifi 8th October, 2018 @ 16:44

Hi David,

We are being sued by our lodger for failing to put the deposit on a scheme. We had a lodger's agreement and when we signed it we still lived in the house. But we left after 6 weeks and the agreement remained. We did offer the lodger an AST agreement, which it was refused. The lodger has since moved out of the house and the deposit returned in full. The claimant never tried to settle with us before launching a court case or sent a warning letter. A solicitor is involved...
Any advice will be most appreciated!

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David 8th October, 2018 @ 18:08

@Fifi

Again tenant is not in accordance with the Practice Direction Pre-Action Protocol,

I have defended several of these and can help you if you contact me via the forum.

Do not reply further here as your tenant may well come across this page, use the private messaging of the forum, instructions to join are below.

1, Click the Landlord forum link above or visit https://www.landlordforumproject.co.uk

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The Landlord 8th October, 2018 @ 19:08

@Fifi @David,

I'm confused by your situation. Did the lodger become a tenant?

@David, what did you defend exactly, in those several situations? Because the tenancy deposit legislation doesn't apply to lodgers.

You need to determine what the status of the occupant was throughout the occupancy first, and identify whether there was a change (i.e. from lodger to tenant.

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David 8th October, 2018 @ 22:04

@Landlord

I will email you directly as I do not want to help the opposition!

Suffice to say they have the potential for a claim if not defended properly.

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Sian 15th October, 2018 @ 21:27

Hi David,

I have read through this great forum, delighted to have finally found it and could really do with some solid advice.

I am in a similar situation to several of the above landlords in that I failed to protect my tenants deposit, or send the prescribed information, and accept this was totally my fault, and something I not only overlooked, but did not realise was a requirement by law, which is clearly all my own fault for being a novice.

Of course if I had known, I would have protected it as who on earth wants to deal with a possible court case and potential to be paying out 3 x deposit unless you are an absolute sadist.

My tenant only lived in my flat for 7 months in total. As soon as she moved out (10 days later) she served me a pre action letter that was sent through a no win no fee company.

This was first and only time she has mentioned/ complained at all about the treatment or whereabouts of her deposit during the tenancy.

I should mention I paid her deposit back in full 10 days after she moved out, despite the property not being left in the condition I had let it to her. After one or two messages back and forward discussing this, I agreed to pay her deposit back in full, and put the issues down to wear and tear. I have a small toddler and an elderly parent who has not been well (no excuse for my lack of deposit protection, but just to give you some context) and to be honest didn't have the time to bicker over a few small things, so I let it go and paid the deposit in full.

However she has threatened court action for 3 x deposit through a no win no fee company, with a caveat that they are willing to settle out of court, which of course I keen to do, but I have no idea how to settle or what amount I should settle for.

I have the impression this was a planned event for the tenant, as she moved in, didn't once mention anything about her deposit, and then gave notice 5 months later for no apparent reason, in fact giving notice before the break clause, which I agreed to, let her move out, paid her deposit in full, and she then waited approx 10 days after she moved out and immediately issued a pre action letter claiming compensation.

In general I believe I was a good landlord, deposit issue aside, and would love some advice negotiating this settlement, if you might be able to help ?

Kind Regards

Sian

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David 16th October, 2018 @ 10:02

@Sian

Thanks for contacting me, I have sent you a PM with an appropriate response to minimise the claim and costs.

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The Perfect Tennant 23rd October, 2018 @ 08:58

Wow, such talk of greed and evil tennants.

I am about to rinse my landlord for £16k and here is why.

I rented a property 5 years ago that hadn’t been decorated for at least 5 years previously. The landlord bought it and rented it immediately with no works. My tennancy was for 1 year and we renewed each year verbally.

I have always paid my rent on time and when I came to move out left the house cleaner than I took it; washed all the paintwork, windows, oven, floors etc.

Time to move and the landlord has kept my deposit for redecoration purposes and refuses any ‘wear & tear’. Things like a mark on the wall where the sofa has rubbed or I put a picture hook in, they are charging me £500 per room for redecoration. They actually want me to pay them more money as my deposit doesn’t cover THEIR redecoration costs.

I always knew they hadn’t protected my deposit but was happy to let it slide as long as I had no problems.

The landlord suddenly became problematic when I tried to move out and on inspection would raise trivial jobs for me to do like remove and fill picture hooks I had added despite their being many old ones that were simply painted over by the old owner. This bought them another day’s rent and so it went for 5 days of silly jobs generating a further £300 in rent. For 1 job I booked a tradesman in and he could only do it in 1 weeks time. The landlord refused to end the tennancy and wanted paying rent while I waited for the tradesman. I had moved out 2 weeks prior at this point.

This landlord has multiple properties and the contract states the deposit must be protected.

After a 5 year breach and stealing my deposit it is clear this landlord knew what they were up to and wouldn’t be surprised if this is their standard MO.

I KNOW i will get 3x for each breach as it went on for 5 years and it was breached 4 times, especially as they have now taken all my deposit ENTITLING me to 12x my deposit.

I will settle for £8k (they will refuse) and we will go to court.

I am not sure where you landlords think legal action costs thousands, ever heard of MoneyClaimOnline?

Am I a greedy weasle tenant? No, I am an excellent tenant with references from previous landlords going back over 15 years.

Don’t want to get hit by this, follow the law and fullfill your LEGAL obligations, rather than bleat you got cought breaking the law.

“For the good of diversity Tenants should shut their mouths!”

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David 23rd October, 2018 @ 09:14

@ThePerfectTenant

This is exactly what this legislation was created for and to be honest I have no sympathy for your Landlord.

However, if you really want to do this you can't use Money Claims Online

https://i.imgur.com/yozusLD.png

Even trying can backfire in a very expensive way.

Your Pre-Action conduct also critical as is your witness statement and bundle.

If you do not follow the rules do not be surprised if the Judge sees you as someone who is just trying to get a pay day and decides that 1x is enough.

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David 23rd October, 2018 @ 09:41

@ThePerfectTenant

This is what happens if you try to use money claim whether online or not

https://i.imgur.com/V2NefOd.jpg

I get schoolboy errors every week by inexperienced solicitors who bring claims because they are acting like mini claim companies as they are too small to get on the claim company panels.

I would not suggest you use a claim company either, you seem perfectly capable of doing this yourself.

I do not think you should offer to settle either, in negotiation you do not give up something without getting something in return. I genuinely see no need, if you do this properly then there is no reason to accept less and it devalues your claim before you even start.

I am happy to help you if you want to contact me via the forum (see post 262), my motivations are completely altruistic, that £500 per room type attitude is a perfect example of why this legislation was created, too many rogues who see the deposit as a redecoration fund.

I am equally sympathetic to Landlords who simply forgot or had mitigation and I help them too.

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Benji 23rd October, 2018 @ 19:44

I am about to rinse my landlord for £16k

No you're not, even if you had the nous to do it.

Am I a greedy weasel tenant?

I think people will work that one out for themselves.

I am an excellent tenant with references from previous landlords going back over 15 years.

Not any more.

No sympathy for this landlord but crap tenants tend to attract crap landlords.

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David 24th October, 2018 @ 04:32

@Benji

I understand how you feel, but from your long time historical posts it seems that is because you seem to have been a decent Landlord.

I do not know if it is because I handle so many of these cases for Landlord and Tenant alike, but I also understand why ThePerfectTenant wants to proceed with max action.

I am juggling 12 cases at the moment, I have two Landlords who are really being fleeced, they had no obligation to protect the deposit, in the first hearing of one case the Judge said "so you got your deposit back and decided you wanted a pay day" while the other the villain is the Solicitor is breaching so many rules that he undermines the profession.

I have a Tenant who has virtually been forced out of their home after the Landlord "sent the boys around" with young children in the property; Police and other authorities involved. It will be a pleasure to take £16k from them and I will be pushing for them to be put on the rogue landlord list as they have breached even Gas Safety and Smoke alarms in their 6th tenancy.

It will also be a pleasure to help the family who have been living with a gun to their head with invalid S21's served within a fixed term with no break clauses. Their Lawyers threaten things like High Court Enforcement and the Police when the Tenants have maintained a beautiful home and always paid their rent and Tenancy expiring after Q1 next year. That too is likely to be a multiple failure.

Luckily most of my cases end up with settlement and where possible I try to get the settlement down to 1x or less but for the Landlords above I am looking at a zero settlement despite the fact that both already made settlement offers, while for the Tenants we will go for the max and seek costs.

For ThePerfectTenant a £16k 4 year claim is a £1300 and probably the same level of rent, so they paid £78000 of their landlord's mortgage and he wants to fleece them for £500 per room for redecoration. Something he will almost certainly fail at because of fair wear and tear. During the 5 year tenancy the Landlord has benefited from the increase in value of his asset and I would normally say good luck to him, but not when he was looking to fleece his Tenant.

I hope ThePerfectTenant is able to put his sanctions towards a mortgage of his own, maybe they can get a cheap place in the North and become a Landlord.

When I look at these claims 90% have one thing in common; the Landlord makes an unreasonable deduction or behaves in what the Tenant feels is an unreasonable way.

Of course there are Tenants who are looking for a payday, but they are few and far between.

As a Landlord reading this, do not blame the Tenant for what was ultimately your mistake, treat it as a learning experience and average it out over your mortgage. When I say learn I mean develop the processes in signing up Tenants so that you obey the law and are not punished for not doing so. Treat this as a business, be totally professional and there will never be an opportunity for a deposit protection claim.

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Benji 24th October, 2018 @ 09:45

Hello David,

My point is ThePerfectWeasel isn't going to get a £16K payday and certainly not by using the process they describe.
We both know that.
It would be interesting to know the true outcome of this but I doubt we'll ever find out.

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David 24th October, 2018 @ 10:04

@Benji

You may be correct, you need to get a lot of things right.

I get particular enjoyment from beating claims companies, their sole goal is to add costs but I pretty much have them before they get started these days.

They are the jackals, they take 35% of the claim and try to hit Landlords for thousands in costs for what is mostly cookie cutter law.

A lot of small firms are doing this badly and your typical housing lawyer will just suggest to cave in and settle. So Landlords need to know how to frame their case too.

The other thing that tenants need to bear in mind is that many a Judge has been a Landlord, so you have to be able to show the gravity, having said that 4 years of non protection for a Landlord with numerous properties is going to be hard to defend.

As always it all depends on the Judge you get on the day.

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ray trueman 27th October, 2018 @ 14:29

i Have just received a letter from a no win no fee solicitor making a claim for my old tenant as i didn't protect the deposit they are claiming 6 times the deposit 3 for the first tenancy then 3 for the periodic thats £3300.
The deposit was £550 and when the tenant moved out i needed to clean the house and get the gardens done we agreed i kept £100 the tenant sent me a text saying

"moneys gone in ill except it without prejudice, however the money isn't mine its my mama and she requires documentation from the bond protection scheme proving the release of the money and how the final figure was reached for her own tax purposes"

i have wrote the negotiating response 1 letter above and have delivered it to the tenant and his solicitor i have offered him his £100 back as a good will gesture is his statement in the text accepting the outcome of our previous negotiations and admitting it was his mum that was wanting information enough for the court to see that the matter was resolved or will i be going to court any help will be greatly appreciated

Ray

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David 27th October, 2018 @ 17:18

@ray trueman

The letter above will probably only work with a tenant that writes you a letter of claim before they contact the no win no fee Solicitor

It depends on the firm, but most lock the tenant in so that if they back out the tenant pays their fees, also I am certain they probably told you not to contact the tenant direct.

Once it gets to a claim company or a Solicitor we have a different response.

As you have a live case and have used your name I suggest you contact me via the forum,

Do not reply further here as your tenant may well come across this page, use the private messaging of the forum, instructions to join are below.

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Innocent landlord 28th October, 2018 @ 14:06

Hi David, you've gave me AWESOME advice so far regarding an uninsured deposit due to my husband's heart condition. We've heard today our problem tenant has finally left our property, and through lots of work, said she wants to.....

To avoid any further unpleasantness, I would like to take this opportunity to say that I do not wish to continue with any legal proceedings against you both and I hope you are in agreement with this and as such would appreciate a response to this email by 12:00 on 30th October 2018.

What do I need from her to have it 100% that she will never make a claim for the uninsured deposit. The deposit has been returned to her and we just need to inspect the room.

If you can let us know how we can finally end this stressful time then thank you very much.

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David 28th October, 2018 @ 18:32

@Innocent landlord

This is great news, I have replied to you directly to give you the options.

I am so pleased to have been of help.

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Levi 5th November, 2018 @ 18:06

I am a Landlord who just has to pay 2 x my Tenants deposit for being 4 months late... My own fault, burns like hell, wouldn't be making that mistake again. I think I should of settled it earlier tbf.

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David 5th November, 2018 @ 19:34

@Levi

That is a mature and realistic attitude.

It is a shame you did not find this site earlier as I might have got you 1x or less in a settlement.

I tell clients to consider it a learning experience and average it out over the life of the investment as you might a new Boiler, get that wrong and you might pay twice.

What is eye watering is when Landlords have taken huge deposits, but that will be coming to an end when the 6 week maximum deposit comes in as part of the Tenant Fees Bill.

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Zoe 12th November, 2018 @ 17:29

Hi David, I am wondering if you can advise me. A tenant rented our one bedroom flat for about 9 months. They always paid the rent on time. We sorted any problems as quickly as possible. They left the flat in good condition. We gave the full deposit back within 2 weeks. I even have messages from them thanking us for being good landlords and saying that they had been very happy in the property! We are not rouge landlords. Our relations were all good. However, we did not protect the deposit or send the prescribed information.

We have now been contacted by a no win no fee comapany acting on their behalf. It is clear that this tenant is just looking for a nice easy payout, but of course we understand that we are at fault and must pay a penalty. They are asking for an out of court settlement of about 4 x the deposit. We have 4 young children and live in a rented property. My husband has post traumatic stress disorder and has now been signed off as unfit for work by the doctor. Our credit cards have been frozen as we could not make the monthly payments in our financial situation. We have no means by which to pay this amount of money.

Can you advise me how to negotiate a smaller sum and more importantly, an installment plan to repay it as we are unemployed and struggling with mental health problems and serious financial difficulties.Your advice would be very much appreciated.

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David 12th November, 2018 @ 18:50

Hi Zoe

I would be happy to help you with this.

Should be able to get this down to 1x the deposit or less.

Any Tenants reading this page, never start with a claims company, you will always get less! They are the last resort

Zoe as your case is live please contact me via the forum, see post 275 for details how to PM me.

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