Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tenancy Deposit Protection - 62% failure

Note - the Landlord Law Blog has now moved to

I read a news items on the Deposit Protection Service website today which reported a survey showing that 62% of private landlords are flouting the tenancy deposit rules, and not protecting their tenants deposits.

If this report is true, and I suspect it probably is, or at least very near the truth, then this means that only letting agents and the better landlords are complying – meaning that those the scheme is really aimed at are ignoring it.

One probable reason for this is that the penalties (in particular the provision for the tenant to be awarded a 'fine' of three times the deposit money) appear in reality to be difficult to enforce. This is partly because the legislation is unclear. Upon careful reading it does not actually say that the fine is automatic if the landlord fails to protect within the time limits (although they do appear to indicate that it might be if the landlord is in breach of his schemes rules - there may be grounds for a test case there).

I am only aware of one case where the tenant succeeded. This was reported in Legal Action Magazine (June 2008) and was where the tenant had actually vacated in response to a section 21 notice served on her. Here the landlord was unable to remedy the position (ie by protecting the deposit out of time) and the Judge reluctantly made the order. However if the tenant had still been in possession, no doubt the landlord would hastily have arranged for the deposit to be protected, and the Judge would then have refused to make the order. The Legal Action report made it clear that the Judge only awarded the fine with reluctance and because the legislation gave him no alternative. (NB I would be very interested to hear of any other cases.)

[Note - since this post was written in July 2008, there have been considerably more cases reported, see the other posts on this blog on tenancy deposits to find them]

What is doubtless happening is that many landlords are taking the view that they will not protect deposits unless tenants threaten court action. However most tenants do not do this. Many will be wholly unaware of the tenancy deposit protection provisions, particularly, for example, if they have only recently come to this country and English is not their first language.

However, even if they are articulate British nationals, most people, even if they have a vague sort of idea that the landlord ought to do something about the deposit, will just assume that either he has done it or that the rules no longer apply. Ordinary people do not go around assuming that their landlords are breaking the law, or threatening court action. Generally people are unfamiliar with the courts and find the very thought of bringing a court claim scary.

One answer I suppose, is to do more to make people aware of the tenancy deposit scheme. Maybe it ought to feature in one of the soaps, there is probably a storyline in there somewhere. The other is to amend the rules to make it clear that if the landlord has not protected the deposit within the time limits, he cannot prevent the tenants succeeding, in a claim for the 'fine', by protecting the deposit out of time.

NB Tenants wanting to bring a claim, should note that there is a do-it-yourself kit (Kit 2) available via my web-site

[Note - there a many questions from landlords and tenants in the comments, most of which I have answered (although COMMENTS ON THIS POST ARE NOW CLOSED and no more will be added or answered). Please bear in mind that new cases (and interpretations of the rules) have come along since my answers were given. Note that there are many other more recent posts also on tenancy deposits which you can read via this link.]

[Note 2 - see my post here one year on : Tenancy deposit protction - now only 30% failure]

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Gashead said...

Hi Tessa. Just wondered if i could ask your advice; I'm in a similar situation to the person cited in your article. My Landlord hasn't protected my deposit(he's also tried to serve me notice via text message of one month as well). I've taken some legal advice and they've told me that i must write to him requesting he protects my deposit before i take him to small claims court. I presume he will just protect it meaning i can't claim any compensation off of him. Surely that is no deterent? Whats to stop Landlords just not bothering to lodge the deposits with an approved scheme unless somebody notices? Anyway, as he has given me notice(and i realise that what he's given me is invalid) if i was to leave do you think i would be able to use a similar reason as the one in your example(ie; i've vactaed the premises and he can't remedy the situation) as justification for taking him to court and ultimately securing compensation? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Tessa said...

It is difficult to know what to say with this legislation as one person says one thing and one another. The purpose of it was to penalise landlords who did not comply, so on that basis you should succeed whether or not the landlord protects your deposit out of time.

However Judges seem to be reluctant to make the award, particularly if they think that tenants are profiting where the landlord has made a genuine mistake.

If you want to give it a go, note that you can buy a do-it-yourself kit from my web-site – see the online kits page. It costs £58.75 and comes with some telephone support and an online forum where you can ask questions.

Anonymous said...

i'm in the process of making a claim against my landlady after she failed to use a DPS. I only became aware of this after she refused to return my deposit for other reasons (which i'm also disputing). I can let you know of the outcome.

The law seems quite clear on the 3* deposit fine (sections 212-214 of the 2004 housing act), but i will wait and see what happens.

- dobs.

Tessa said...

Good luck. Yes please let me know. Please also let me know any comments the Judge makes at any hearing, as it is interesting to know what view they are taking of this legislation.

Anonymous said...

I have successfully taken my landlord to court he protected my deposit 5 months into a 6 month tenancy. THe judge did not like the law but said it was very clear that deposits should be protected within 2 weeks and this law had been broken. He was duly fined 3 times the deposit.

Tessa said...

Well done. Lets hope the RLA does not decide to support your landlord in an appeal ... (see my later post here)

Anonymous said...

Hi Tessa,

Are you able to provide me with some advice as well?

I have a bit of a complex situation where my deposit has not been protected. The landlord is claiming that he was not responsible for registering the deposit as he had instructed the agent to hold the deposit (and apparently has a contract that we signed to show this). However, the contract provided to me by the agent states that the landlord was to hold the deposit. It therefore appears that the agent made a mistake and produced two copies of the contract for us to sign with differing terms (as usual practice I only reviewed the first version and assumed the second was the same). The deposit was transferred to the landlord 3 weeks after we paid it over. He claims he was unaware of this (though the agent says he would have been informed of this on the montly statement).

Therefore I am in a situation where both the agent and landlord are claiming no responsibility for the bond not being protected. We have now moved out and are in dispute about a portion of the deposit for other reasons.

I have offered both the landlord and the agent a deal whereby I will not take action under the law (with 3x penatly) if my bond is returned in full. However, this has not been accepted as both claim not to be at fault.

I am unsure as to whether to peruse any further through the courts.

Do you have any thoughts?

Tessa said...

The only way you will be able to recover your bond, if the agent and landlord are not prepared to return it to you voluntarily, is by going to court. It sounds to me as if you would have a very good case to claim the fine of 3 times the deposit money also.

As regards who to sue, the landlord is, I would have thought, liable as he had the deposit and he failed to protect it. It is also arguable that the agent is liable, as he is the person the deposit was actually paid to, and he also failed to protect it. As they are both at fault I would suggest naming them both as defendants.

As mentioned above, if you want some help and guidance in bringing the claim, you might want to consider using my online kit 2.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your advice Tessa.

He has now offered to repay the part of the deposit that is not in dispute. The amount in dispute is not an insignificant amount and as the bond is not protected I have no means of recovering the full amount other than through the courts.

Do you think I can still take action against both of them because they didn't protect the deposit in the first place?

Tessa said...

If you reach an agreement with them, probably not, although it will depend upon the terms of the agreement. The decision is one for you to make.

If you decide to go to court, then they should be liable for the penalty fine as they were clearly in breach of the rules.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tessa. I have not accepted his proposal and said I do not want part payment of my bond until the issue over who was responsible for protecting the bond is resolved. On this basis, I think I can take them to court over the non-protection. Would you agree?

Tessa said...

Although I am prepared to give a certain amount of guidance foc via this blog, I don't think it is fair to my paying clients to take this too far. If you require any further help I am afraid I must ask you to either subscribe to my web-site (where monthly and annual members can ask questions via our members forum) or purchase our kit 2.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tessa. I will have a look at your website.

Urmil said...

Hi Tessa,

I hope you can help me. I am a new landlord and last august 07, i used a lettings agent to find tenants for my first property. The lettings agent showed the new tenants the property, signed the tenancy and collected the deposit and moved the tenants in. The agency then sent me a letter with the deposit cheque, but did not mention anything about putting the money into a deposit protection scheme. being a new landlord i did not know i had too. However, when the tenants brought it to my attention in march 08, i immediately contacted the agent and was told that i should have put the deposit into a protection scheme. I immediately put the deposit into a scheme with the deposit protection service. Later I served notice and the tenants moved out in May 2008. The deposit protection service returned the full deposit to the tenants immediately. Now 4 months later i have had a claim made by the tenant for 3 times the deposit, which i have to defend. I can appreciate this scheme is to protect tenants from rogue landlords, but what about protecting landlords like myself, who did not do it intentionally and now have a tenant seeking almost £2900 in a fine even though he has received his full deposit back. Can you shed some light on what a landlord liKe myself should do in this type of situation. I am finding it difficult to return my claim form, because although i did not put the deposit into a scheme initial due to ignorance, i did as soon as I found out it was legally required, so should i defend it and if so on what basis. How can honest landlords protect themselves against rogue tenants. Thanks in advance for your comments. I'd love you to follow my case for your blog, the claim was only received by me just this morning, I hope the outcome can help other honest landlords out there.

Tessa said...

Have a read of the other postings on tenancy deposits on this blog.

All you can do with your claim is tell the truth. Say that you were not aware of the TDPS at first but as soon as you found out about it you protected the deposit and served notice on the tenant. It is rather looking as if, as long as landlords do this before the tenants issue proceedings (as you did), they will be safe.

However this legislation is unclear and different decisions seem to be being made by the courts. If the decision goes against you, contact one of the Landlord associations, they may be prepared to fund an appeal.

Yes, please keep us informed of how things go. This will help others in the same situation.

NB You will find a lot more information about the tenancy deposit protection schemes on my web-site

Anonymous said...

Hi Tessa
I hope you can help me on this. We've moved into a property last July but only stayed there for 2 months after signing a 1year contract. We decided to leave because we didn't like the area and the landlord never put a new floor like he promised (he simply took the carpets out and left a dirty, painted, scratched, stained wood floor). When we told him about it he was upset but he said we could break the contract as long as we could get new tenants. So we did.
At the end, he is deducting the most of the deposit because he claims we have to pay for a new floor. Unbelievable, because we never damaged it. He is blackmailing us saying we have breached the contract in 5 terms (from making noise to nailing something in the wall) and therefore the fact that he is only charging us for a new floor means that we're lucky.
We've just realized he has not protected the deposit under the DPS and that is why he can play with us by making us pay for a new floor since we have breached the contract in other ways (certainly not damaging the floor).
Do you think if we explain him we are aware of the fact that he has not registered the deposit under the DPS he will stop blackmailing us that we've breached and give us the deposit back?
Thank you :)

Tessa said...

Your landlord may be unaware that he has breached the regulations and the penalties for this. If you inform him of this he may decide to return your deposit, but it is impossible to predict exactly what people will do. A letter threatening court action may have some effect.

Note that if you contine to have problems with your landlord there is a lot of background information on deposits in the tenants signing up section of Landlord-Law (which you can access for three days for £4.70), and if you decide to take your landlord to court, you can consider buying our Kit 2.

Anonymous said...

hi, my landlord has not protected my deposit and i have since vacated the property. however he was stalling on returning my deposit so i took some advice, i was told to send him a letter threatining court action under the tenancy deposit scheme.. recently he has replied blatantly ignoring my threat of court action and making up all sorts of nonsense about damage to the room i rented, ie ruined carpets etc, which he has already taken out of said room. how would i stand if i continued with my court action?

Tessa said...

You would probably do well. If the deposit should have been protected, you will be entitled to claim for the return of your deposit (without any deductions) plus the fine of three times the deposit amount.

The Judge is unlikely to have any sympathy for your landlord as he has failed to comply with the law. For example, had he done what he was supposed to do, you could have challenged the deductions in the tenancy deposit schemes’ free arbitration service. Go for it!

Confused of Bletchley said...

I am curious about one point which I read on you site. I am in the situation of having paid a deposit before April 2007, for a tenancy which was then renewed in May 2007. Your site (and a few others) states confidently that the TDP should apply in such a case.
However having read the actual text of the Housing Act I cannot find this point covered anywhere and when I checked with Communities and Local Government they were very non-committal.
I'm a bit reluctant to go in front of a judge armed with 'Tessa said....'. Is the specific 'paid before + renewed after' situation stated in law, or covered by any case decisions?

Many thanks, and top marks for an excellent site.

Tessa said...

I agree that it is not very clear in the legislation. To a large extent I am repeating what others more learned than I have said on this point. However my understanding is that when a new tenancy agreement signed by the tenant, then this starts everything again, and so the deposit is treated as if it has just been paid (as I suppose it has, in relation to that new tenancy).

It would have been a lot better though if the legislation had specifically said this. And of course we could all be wrong! Hopefully at some stage there will be a Court of Appeal decision on this legislation, so that their Lordships can clarify things a bit.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tessa. wondered if you could help as i'm completely lost.. a week or so ago i posted a comment here stating that my landlord was stalling on returning my deposit after failing to place it in one of these schemes and that i had since vacated the property. your advice was to "go for it" regards court action. after again writing to him in an attempt to resolve the situation without having to go to court he has now replied threatening counterclaims; admittedly when i was in the property i once caused a very sllight burn to one panel of the conservatory roof, this was 15 months ago and at the time i was given a slight verbal reprimand but told that as no serious damage had been done the matter would be forgotten, now after my threat of court action the landlord is trying to enclose a quote of two and a half thousand pounds for a whole new conservatory roof! would the judge entertain this if it went to court?

Tessa said...

You must appreciate that I cannot advise properly as I have not seen the paperwork and that is not the purpose of this blog (and I expect people to pay for detailed advice!).

However it sounds to me as if your landlord is trying to frighten you off. Judges are not stupid. If your landlord is ‘trying it on’ they will probably realise this. Even if the Judge allowed deductions, your landlord would have to prove (1) that the damage had been done (2) that it was your fault and (3) that the sum claimed was reasonable.

It is easy to make an accusation in a letter. It is quite another thing to prove it to the satisfaction of a Judge.

joanne franklin said...

Hi tessa... I paid my deposit before april 07 and wondered if i am therefore covered by the tenancy deposit law, as my landlord is refusing to pay me my deposit and i dont know whether it should have been in the scheme or not? thanks

Tessa said...

If you paid your deposit before 7 April 2007, then this is before the regulations came into force and will not be caught by them. This means that your landlord does not have to protect the deposit.

However the regulations almost certainly will apply, and your landlord will have to protect the deposit, if your landlord gave you a new tenancy agreement after 7/4/07.

Jack said...

Hi Tessa,

We are also in a similar position. We have been living in a property for 4 1/2 months and from the start its been a nightmare. The latest thing is, despite our requests, our landlady still hasnt provided us with a proof that our deposit is protected. So we took it upon ourselves to call each of the three deposit schemes to discover whether or not it had been protected. Unsurprisingly, none of the schmes have any record of either our property or our landlady.

Our contract is for 14 months, and although it contains a landlord break clause it does not contain a tenant break clause. So as it stands we cannot even cut our losses and leave.

Obviously our landlady has broken the law by not protecting our deposit. Is this a potential bargaining tool to reduce the length of our contract or what would you advise us to do next??



Tessa said...

As discussed above, if your landlord has not protected your deposit, you are entitled to bring a claim for the return of your deposit and the ‘fine’ of three times the deposit sum. However in several of the cases reported so far, the court have not been making the award where the landlord protects the deposit before the tenant goes to court.

There are a number of options but I would need to know a bit more about your situation and the problems you are having. However I cannot really give proper advice via this blog. I generally give advice only via my Landlord-Law web-site advice service, which you can read about here.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tessa,

After a turbulent 12 month tenancy at a property managed by a nationwide letting agent my partner and I vacated our property in pristine condition and it was agreed our full deposit would be returned to us.
However, the letting agent stated that this would take between 4 and 6 weeks to have our deposit returned from the DPS - this seemed a long time so we made some enquiries. It turned out that our deposit had never been registered with any of the deposit protection services and we were informed of our rights to issue a county court claim against the letting agent. The letting agent assured us that the deposit was with the DPS as stated in our contract.
After trying to retrieve a reference number from our letting agent the very next day our deposit was swiftly transferred into our joint account.

What are our chances of suceeding with a claim in light of the fact that we have received our deposit back?
The letting agent obviously cannot protect our deposit (because it has been returned) before it goes to court.

Would we the judge look upon this as greed or see that the letting agent has deceived us and broken the law?



Tessa said...

In principle, I don't see why you should not get the award. The agent has breached the rules. If it is a nationwide agency, they have no excuse for non compliance (particuarly as they told you they had complied) and the Judge probably would not have a lot of sympathy for them.

If you don't mind wrestling with the court procedure it might be worth a go.

Retro-girl3107 said...

Hi Tessa, I was taken to a small claims court by my ex-landlord yesterday for failure to give notice. I decided to counterclaim him and decided to claim my deposit x 3 as it hadn't been secured into a scheme. The judge awarded the landlord his claim. However when it come to my counter claim the judge said she'd go and find the answer and give a verdict. She said she didn't know the answer so my claim was dropped. I was a tennant for 4 years. Deposit held at the start of the tenancy. My most recent tenancy agreement was signed 6 months after the TDS scheme came along. Surely as a new contract was signed I should have been entitled. Am I able to dispute the judges decision regarding my counterclaim? Maria

Tessa said...

Alas, District Judges are not all equally familiar with all parts of the statute book! Technically you should appeal the decision. However there is a court fee for this and the procedure is a bit intimidating. You could however try writing at letter to the court protesting at the decision to drop your claim simply because the Judge did not know the answer (if indeed this was the case) and asking that the case be reviewed. You should say somewhere in your letter that your claim was based on section 214 of the Housing Act 2004 (this will help the Judge look it up!). It is still not entirely certain whether the regulations apply to deposits paid before April 2007 where a new tenancy was granted after that date, but the general view among lawyers is that it should do. Good luck.

Retro-girl3107 said...

Hi Tessa, Just been into the court to pick up a form (Respondent's Notice)to appeal the judges decision. Would this form have more clought than writing a letter asking for the case to be reviewed as you advised. I feel very strongly about my case and want to use the correct route. regards Maria

Tessa said...

That’s fine. Note that it is not the purpose of this blog to give detailed advice on people’s cases (apart from a few initial tips) so I don’t think it appropriate for me to say any more. Other than that it might be an idea for you to go and see a local solicitor to get some advice on the procedure for bringing an appeal.

Many solicitors will offer an initial fee or fixed fee interview. Try to find a firm which does property work. You may find a suitable firm in our Find a Property Solicitor Directory. Good luck!

Retro_girl3107 said...

Hi Tessa, Was planning to purchase one of your kits unfortunately payment doesn't accept maestro so sadly cannot use your service, unless you accept paypal.

I want to appeal a decision a judge made but unfortunately for me the case happened on 19th December and I have had real trouble finding a solicitor over the Christmas break to help me put a case to appeal. Not sure if I have time to still put a case together as I think I only have 14 days from case to appeal (complete form).

Tessa said...

You can pay by sending me a cheque made payable to TJ Shepperson - see the contact us page on Landlord-Law for the address.

I think you can get leave to appeal out of time, I am sure that this would be granted, particuarly as the delay is caused by the intervention of the Christmas period.

I am afraid I do not have a lot of experience in appeals, mainly because I have not needed to appeal any of the decisions in my cases for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

Hi, i've just returned from court having succeeded in fining the landlord 3 times the deposit for not using a DPS.

My tenancy started after the DPS scheme came into affect and i realised after moving out (after my deposit was not returned) that the landlord had not used a DPS. In court he admitted not using it.

I was very clear in referring to the relevant parts of the 2004 housing act (section 214) and attached this as evidence in my claim. The judge agreed that he had no choice but to issue the full fine as the law was very clear. My landlord was also ordered to pay within 14 days. I got the feeling that he wasn't too happy about the amount of the fine. Several times he made the point that he had no choice in issuing the fine or adjusting the amount.

Actually obtaining the money is more difficult and thats a process i expect to go through now. Currently the landlord has not returned any of the deposit, and I have spent around 200 pounds on court fees.

Tessa said...

Well done on getting the court order. Enforcement is always a problem. If you have to use the court procedures it will I am afraid involve more fees. There is an article for Landlord-Law members on enforcement of judgements on the site (you will find it here - you will need to scroll down), plus there is I think a leaflet on the Court Service web-site.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tessa. I am a landlord and let my property out through estate agents, the estate agents took a fee from me to protect the tenants deposit. However after a year my tenants started not to pay any rent and I started the process through courts to get them evicted. I then found out that my estate agents did not protect the deposit, which had delayed my court proceedings to get my tenants evicted. I continued to pay the mortgage on my property for a further 6 moths with the tenants living there for free. Can I take my estate agents to courts for not protecting my deposit and delaying me from getting a possession order to get my tenants evicted.

Tessa said...

Yes. Your agents charged you for a service they never performed, and you have suffered financial loss as a result of this. This is both breach of contract and negligence on the part of your agents.

Anonymous said...

i moved into my flat in september and gave my landlady the deposit in august and she kept saying to me "i wont bank this".. i was like.. okay.. now that i have prematurely moved out (have gave her 1 months notice, this was allowed in the contract) i have only realised there is such thing as a deposit protection scheme and that it is the law to use one. i have never recieved any information about this and she never even told me about it. i have been on the phone to her today and i asked her why she has not used the scheme and she said she was unaware of it. will it be too late to take court action now the tenancy is over and my deposit is on the way soon? will there be a point trying to negotiate with her as she cannot protect it now? and will it go in her favour that she didn't know about it?
thank you

Tessa said...

If your landlord failed to protect the deposit when she should have done, you have a case to claim for the 'fine' of three times the deposit sum. There seems to be some confusion among the Judges as to whether landlords can avoid liability by protecting out of time. However the most recent case reported (here) the Judge said that he had no option but to make the award.

Gboy said...

Hi Tessa

Im having the same problem with unprotected deposit, my landlord told me that deposit was protected, but when i moved out he signed a personal cheque, he was more than happy with condition of the place signed the full amount,but stopped the cheque the next day, now he wont answer my calls, i also checked with all the deposit protection agencies, none of them have records of my deposit been protected.

Please advise.

Tessa said...

Provided your deposit was paid to the landlord after 7 April 2007, and provided you had an assured shorthold tenancy, you should be able to claim not only the return of the deposit from the court but also the 'fine' of three times the deposit sum.

If you are worried about going to court, our kit 2 will help you.

Even if you are not entitled to the 'fine' you will still be entitled to go to court for the return of your deposit.

Anonymous said...

i signed a 12 month contract with a landlord for student accomadation in august 08 im not a student but the landlord was ok with this, but before the tenancy started i got an offer for a flat as i was on the housinglist 2 years i told the landlord this and they were fine and said that as the tenancy hadnt started they would easily find someone to rent my room i had my room inspeted signed out and handed my keys over,5 months later i get a letter of the landlord sayihg they are going to take me to court for the year rent arreas which is 4 grand, does the landlord stand a good chance if it goes to court?

Tessa said...

Probably not. Please click here for information about my advice service.

PoorTenant said...

Tessa, I've been reading through your posts and enjoy your site.

I was wondering if I too could get some advice.

I moved out of my flat 2 weeks ago and have not received my deposit back yet. I know that this deposit was never protected under any of the schemes (I have checked with the 3 schemes and the landlord avoided the question on the numerous times I asked him.

To make it worse, the landlord isnt replying to any correspondence and through a very rushed coversation he informed me he would get around to it 'next week'.

I have 3 questions.

1) If we receive our deposit back, are we still entitled to go after the 3x fine given that the Tenancy Act has been broken, and this is the detailed punishment for this law break?

2) Given we have already moved out, there is no possibility of the land lord protecting the deposit, post-tenancy?

3) As we are still waiting for the deposit (now 2 weeks after moving out) how much longer do we need to wait before this is seen as unreasonable?

Thanks alot for your time, this is most appreciated.

Tessa said...

As you will have read in the preceding comments, this legislation is not clear cut. However if the landlord failed to protect, you should be entitled to the fine of three times the deposit money.

In my view you should be entitled to this even if the landlord has paid the money back and/or if he protects very late (which may not be possible anyway if the tenancy has ended and you have moved out). However some Judges are unhappy about making the award and may find some reason not to make it. It is impossible to say in advance how any court case will go. It sounds however as if you have a very good chance of success.

You can bring your claim at any time. Our kit 2 can help.

Tessa said...

I have received a very long and detailed request for advice from someone called ‘Troubled Tom’. Apologies to you Tom, but I am afraid I am not going to publish this. I don’t mind giving a few tips to modest blog requests for help, but it is not the purpose of this blog to provide detailed free legal advice on complex problems.

Can anyone wanting detailed advice please use the advice service provided via my web-site Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tesa,

I am a tenant in a flat share and hold a verbal Tenancy Agreement with the landlord. Upon my move in date, I paid a deposit to the landlord and agreed on verbal terms in regard to 1 bedroom of a larger flat. Several weeks later I wrote these terms in writing to the landlord in the letter, and have not received any objection. However, other than the letter that I wrote, I do not have a written tenancy agreement.

I know my landlord has not yet put my deposit in a Protection Scheme. Am I eligible to sue for 3x if I only have a verbal tenancy agreement and my agreement is in regard to 1 room of a flat share?

Tessa said...

Whether you are eligible will depend on whether or not you have an assured shorthold tenancy. These can be created orally so it is not necessarily a problem that your landlord has not given you a written tenancy agreement.

You say you are in a flat share. It will depend really on how this is done. If you are a lodger sharing accommodation with your landlord, you will not technically be a tenant. Otherwise, if you have rented a room in a shared house but do not share your bedroom with anyone, you will probably have a tenancy. I would suggest you take some further advice regarding this.

Sergio said...

Hi Tessa,
I encounter sam old problem - landlord didn't protect my deposit under the scheme and I am thinking to bring the claim to court. Is it possible to do via small claims track (so not to involve solicitors)? What people do generally from your experience - go through small claims track or fast track?

Tessa said...

Strictly speaking you should use neither. The court have indicated that a special procedure (part 8) should be used for this type of claim.

This is set out in my Kit 2, which also provides the forms.

The most recent feedback I have had from a tenant using this kit is that they have suceeded in getting the award without much trouble, but are worried about whether the landlord (who sounds like a dodgy type) will actually pay it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tessa

Just a question as to who I should take action against for non protection. I found out that my deposit was unprotected when I vacated premises. I paid the deposit to the letting agents. They say it was the landlord's responsibility. He is withholding part of the deposit, even though the exit check states that the flat was cleaner than when I moved in.
So, would it be the landlord or the letting agent-or indeed both? This is confusing me. If I can decide on this I can proceed.

Tessa said...

Probably you should claim against both. The agent is liable as he is the person who the deposit was actually handed to, however it is arguable that the landlord is also liable.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tessa,

Could you tell me if I can make a small claim (if it’s worthy) against my Landlord, because she fail to notify me about the deposit protection.

My first tenancy was in 10/2005, however a new tenancy agreement was signed in 2007 on the same basis.
The first time when I realised that my deposit is protected was when I received papers from a Court, as she make a small claim to evicted me. It was under section 21.

However, at this time I did not know that I have any rights regarding the deposit, until my Landlord sent me a letter stating that the deposit of £1500 was not enough to cover all damages I make at her property and I have to pay extra of £68. I was shocked as all my family for 3 days helped me to clean everything I had a professional builder and cleaning service for a carpet. The house was in much, much better condition than when I moved in.

2 days later I received a letter from “my deposit scheme” states that my deposit now is unprotected. Therefore I realised and asked for advised that I should be informed by my Landlord if the deposit is protected and which scheme she chose and about my rights. Also I read that she should not give me a NTQ under section 21, because she fail to do that.

Could just tell me if is a point to make a small claim to get a 3* deposit compensation, because she failed to notify me about the deposit protection.????

Many Thanks


Tessa said...

I have given quite a lot of help to people posting on this thread, but I think (bearing in mind that this is the 56th comment!) that I have to draw a line somewhere.

The questions asked most recently are very similar to those asked by others, and I would suggest that you read carefully my other comments on this thread, and the other posts and comments on tenancy deposits on this blog, which you can see if you click here.

Although I may answer questions on original points relating to tenancy deposits on the other postings on this blog, please can readers note that I am not going to answer any further questions on this particular thread, and any comments/questions asked will not be published.

Please note also that you can obtain information and advice via my web-site service

Anonymous said...

Hi Tess,

I moved out of a flat which I was renting with a friend about a year ago and after I moved out the landlord was refusing to return all of our deposit. After numerous emails we came to an agreement on for a final settlement. shortly after we realized we shouldn't have agreed because he didn't provide receipts and he failed to secure our deposit.

I've made a cliam throught the small claims court but not sure if I have a good chance of winning the claim because he did return the majority of the deposit and kept about 20% of it for damages which we agreed to.
Also I've read that the law regarding the Tds scheme only applies to current tenants!
Becuase we moved out over a year ago would we still have a chance of success in the landlord receiving a penalty? and would we receive the money if he does get fined?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Tessa said...

As mentioned in the post above:



Any further questions to this thread will be deleted.