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We let out a property to a Company for around 18 months. This was managed by Haart. The tenants moved out two months ago. An inventory and check-in was performed by an independent third party.
On the check-out report a number of things were highlighted as damaged. The total of the deductions was around £400. Haart have been attempting to negotiate with the Company however they are getting nowhere. They are simply refusing to agree to any of the deductions.
As a result Haart will not release the £400 to me. I have spoken to them this afternoon and they have told me that they are an “independent third party” and cannot release any of the deposit unless both parties agree to it. That is clearly not going to happen.
Can anyone advise me what my options are? I had assumed that as an unprotected deposit, I could ask Haart to make the deductions, then it would be up to the Company to pursue me if they disagreed, but apparently not.
Is my only option to take the Company to the small claims court?
I think with Deposit Protection there is a form of arbitration that can be used where deductions are disputed. You may want to speak to Haart to ascertain what process they use and if this is an option to you. Of course there may be costs which is a downer. Hope this helps. Best wishes and good luck : Dom
contact The Property Ombudsman and see if they can help
It was let to a company, so the deposit was not protected with one of the schemes. I am a bit baffled why Haart are trying to act as an adjudicator - they are not, they are working for me, surely?
I agree that does seem odd - they are instructed as your Agent so they should act on your instructions as long it is lawful.
Does the tenancy agreement say anything about how deposit disputes will be dealt with ? If not then they should pay the £400 to you and repay the balance to the company. If they company dispute the deduction they can take Court action against you.
I have checked the tenancy agreement and its very clear-
In the event of a dispute between the Landlord and the Tenant regarding any deductions from the Deposit the Landlord will retain the disputes sums until there is an Agreement between the Landlord and Tenant as to how the Deposit should be distributed or there is an order of the Court.
Surely Haart would have dealt with this situation time and time again, which is why I dont understand why they think that it is they that retain the deposit, and not me?
I have spoken to Haart but the people I have spoken to have just been part of the property management team, who deal with all maintenance issues during the tenancy, as well all of the admin tasks at the start and end of the tenancy.
What should I do?
The only other reference to the deposit is this-
The Deposit will be held by the Agent during the Tenancy as Stakeholder.
But the key word here is "during" - the tenancy is now over. I am not exactly sure what Stakeholder means here in a legal sense?
Holding the deposit means that the stakeholder will hold the deposit on behalf of both parties and cannot pass it to either party without the consent of the other. The other clause of the tenancy agreement which you have highlighted means that where consent cannot be reached, a court order is needed to release the deposit.
Although your dispute concerns a tenancy deposit, if the property was let to a company rather than an individual the tenancy will not be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, and will not be covered by the tenancy deposit protection schemes and the dispute resolution services that they offer.
Contacting the Property Ombudsman or other property redress scheme to which the agent belongs is another option that may be useful to you.
Thanks for your reply and clarification of what Stakeholder means in this context.
However how can you interpret that clause to mean that a court order is needed to reach the deposit? That is not what it says at all. It is very clear - in the event of a dispute, the disputed sum will be retained by the Landlord, not the Stakeholder?
Haart have been useless from start to finish on this matter, and I certainly will not let to a Company again.