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  • Deposit Protection

    Deposit not protected and landlord not fulfilling his role

    Hi guys

    I'm new to this forum but was advised to check here by a min standing member. I've done a search for my question but it brought up no results.

    I moved into a property in January this year, paid a cash deposit (got a receipt) then moved into the house 2 weeks later. The landlord didn't do an inventory when we moved in as he said he would, as he was going away the day after and didn't have time.
    Since then we reported the dishwasher was leaking but instead of repairing it, he had it removed. There have been a lot of break ins in my area recently (according to police letter received) and our alarm doesn't work, something the landlord was aware of from day 1. We had no gas safety for 13 weeks, no bathroom for 10 days, and many more little issues which he just doesn't respond to or says it will be sorted then it falls through.

    I've since called up the 3 deposit schemes and found that he hasn't even protected my deposit. I've spoken to citizens advice about making a claim against him for this but their advice was to check online, which just leads me back to them.

    I'm at a loss of what to do next. I've not paid this months rent yet (9 days late) hoping he would call me so I could then discuss the issues but he hasn't even been in touch.

    I hope someone can point me in the right direction as to what to do next.

    I've also emailed the housing ombudsman but they said they only deal with housing association tenants and I'm private
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    Hi Mark
    It hard to be specific without knowing ALL the details which you should NOT post on an open forum.
    Have you a written tenancy agreement?
    If so you should have the landlords address. Write to him listing your issues and get proof of delivery (someone could witness you delivering it for example) and give him 14 days to respond and keep a copy.
    If nothing happens and you house has living conditions which are unacceptable then contact your local council's Environmental Health department.
    I can see why you are wanting to withhold rent but by doing so you risk him giving you notice to quit for rent arrears and you have a contractual agreement to pay - notwithstanding how you have been treated.
    As I said its not really a situation to be solved/advised online
    Geoff
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    Landlord Geoff is 100% right, don't try to solve this online.

    Call the HSE as they will be interested in the condition of the property and it's suitability for renting, having first given the landlord time to sort out the issues.

    Then get some some legal advice. Not having dealt with your deposit correctly means he's liable for a fine.

    It is important that you keep paying the rent as otherwise he's got a reason to evict you and then claim for lost rent and it will get messy. Keep on the right side of the law and speak with a lawyer will get you a long way forward.

    If all this fails ask here again for some other pointers to people or organisations who can help but all of the above should get you what you need.

    Landlord's like yours appears to be are part of the reason why the profession has such tarnished image and it's really annoying to see this kind of thing going on.
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    If the deposit was not protected and the prescribed information served within 30 days of it being received, then:

    1. Your landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice until the deposit has been returned to you.

    2. You have a potential claim for the return or protection of the deposit, plus a penalty of between 1 to 3 times the deposit (the court has the discretion of how much, but must be between 1 to 3 times).

    3. If the fixed term on your tenancy ends and you carry on, either on a new tenancy agreement, or as a statutory periodic tenant, there will be a further claim for 1 to 3 times the deposit, if it is again not protected within 30 days (it will be taken as having been received again by the landlord, even if he has just kept hold if it the whole time).

    The landlord not doing some repair issues is not a reason to withhold rent - that would only give the landlord the opportunity to bring possession proceedings for rent arrears.

    You are entitled to some compensation if a repair for which the landlord is responsible has not been done within 'a reasonable time' of them being notified. This would be a % of rent. From the problems you describe, I doubt it would be a very high figure, and the defects are not bad enough to merit a disrepair claim. Check the tenancy agreement for what the landlord is liable to do for repairs - but the structure and exterior, the heating, water, gas, electric and sanitary facilities are always the landlord's responsibility. The alarm probably isn't.

    If there are more problems like being without a bathroom (!) then call the council's Environmental Health Dept and try to get them to inspect. They can issue improvement orders. Your landlord might well respond by serving a section 21 notice but - at least at the moment - that would be invalid due to the unprotected deposit!
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    Giles Peaker

    Anthony Gold Solicitors