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  • Deposit Protection

    Failed to protect tenant's deposit

    I really hope someone can assist.

    My tenants are in rent areas by 3 months  and have now moved out. They are now claiming that they can claim back the 3 months because I did not notify them that I protected their deposit.

    I have evidence that there deposit is protected but not evidence to prove they were notified, even though I would have told them it was protected.

    Is this a requirement? Do tenants have to have evidence that the deposit was protected within 30days?

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    Hi Gerhard,

    Firstly thank goodness they were only in 3 months arrears by the time they left, your lucky.

    Secondly usually you must provide a copy of the certificate from the TDS within 30 days I believe in addition you also would have to have served the prescribed information as well.

    Did  you  email them the certificate or the prescribed information at the outset, if you did then your ok but if you didn’t then it could be a problem.

    with rent arrears you can usually retain the deposit against any arrears even if they raise a case, the TDS will not open a case for them on the basis that the rent was in arrears. But all of this depends on wether you issued a certificate and the prescribed information.

    what puzzles me is that your saying that they want to claim back three months ??

    How can they claim back three months when they haven’t paid any rent for three months ?


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    Hi Fox30,

    I am grateful that they have moved out. It was turning into a bit of a nightmare.

    They would have received a hard copy of the certificate at the point that they moved in with the other documentation but I do not have any email evidence that it was sent out. I can only prove that it was protected within the required time frame.

    My understanding is that they will now want to take me to court and reclaim as much as possible, which I believe is up to 3 times the deposit. When I say, they would like to claim back, they will most likely offset the amount against what they owe. They owe around 2 months worth of rent but given the deposit was more than the 1 month rent, I would most likely need to pay them as well as losing all the outstanding rent.

    Surely if they can be shown to be dishonest tenants, then their word will not hold up in court?

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    Hi Gerhard,

    It is a legal requirement to protect a tenant's deposit since 2007 and provide them with details of the scheme along with other information:

    • the address of the rented property
    • how much deposit they’ve paid
    • how the deposit is protected
    • the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme and its dispute resolution service
    • your (or your letting agency’s) name and contact details
    • the name and contact details of any third party who paid the deposit
    • why you would keep some or all of the deposit - for example, because your tenants damaged the property and you need to fix it
    • how to apply to get the deposit back at the end of the tenancy
    • what to do if they can’t get hold of you at the end of the tenancy
    • what to do if there’s a dispute over the amount of deposit to be returned at the end of the tenancy

    The fact that you did not do this means you have opened yourself up to a claim by your tenants.

    Your tenants can apply to a county court if you don’t use a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme when you have to. They can do this at any time during the tenancy.

    If the court finds you haven’t protected the deposit, it can order you to either:

    • repay it to your tenants
    • pay it into a custodial TDP scheme’s bank account within 14 days

    The court may also order you to repay your tenants up to 3 times their original deposit within 14 days of making the order.

    From the Government website

    There are three fixes for this:

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    Hi Vanessa,

    Thank you for your message.

    Apologies, the subject is misleading. I did protect the tenants deposit with mydeposit within the required time frame. The tenants would have also received a hard copy of the certificate. They are now claiming that they do not have the certificate and would like to take it to court.

    These tenants still owe me 3 months of rent and while they have payed a small amount of it, they have been dishonest about a number of which can be supported by various emails. In addition the property was left with a number of issues (holes in the walls and food still left in the fridge, to name a few).

    I do not think I have evidence that they were given an opportunity to sign, despite this being the case but given their track record, is this something that is likely to carry any weight in court?

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    They're playing poker with you -call their bluff.

    Since the debate is whether or not PI was served, not about failure to protect deposit I'd doubt very much if a court would go to the upper end of the range of 3x - would be looking towards the 1x end of the range.

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    DISCLAIMER just my personal opinion - for legal advice consult a qualified professional grown-up.

    Thanks for the replies. I have only now realized how ridiculous this system is, I would not be surprised if there were tenants letting one place after another hoping they can win a case on these grounds.

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    It will come down to likely good you say you did they say you did not. Serve PI or certificate.

    What you can prove is you did protect the deposit.

    I wonder if they still have a copy of your tenancy agreement these type of people are careless with paperwork so if they have all other documents issued they may be believed if they have none chances are a judge will accept you gave them a hard copy



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    Yes, it is their word against mine and the fact that I can prove they do not keep to their commitments (not only financial but simply cleaning the property) should surely count against them.

    They do unfortunately have the tenant agreement. I still cannot believe how a court can put landlords in a position like this though based on some of the articles I read, it seems the court often takes the tenants side.

    I will be seeking legal advice tomorrow - does anyone have any good contacts?

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    I'm afraid like the others have said, unless you can provide proof that you have served them with the Prescribed Information and a copy of the Deposit Certificate (and all the other paperwork), then there could be grounds for a claim through the County Court.

    However, like Owen_o said, it all depends if they're prepared to take it that far and it might be worth calling their bluff. I'm a Letting Agent and I had a Let Only case where I had served all the papers to the required parties EXCEPT to the tenant's father, who was a third party, because he had paid the deposit on her behalf. The tenant accumulated over £2,500.00 of arrears and the case went to the County Court as the Landlord was trying to evict her from his property.

    Because I had not presented a copy of the Prescribed Information to the tenant's father (as he was a third party), the Judge ruled in the tenant's favour and ordered me to pay three times the deposit! Absolutely ridiculous.

    He used me as a scapegoat.

    How did the lack of presenting a form to the tenant's father, cause her to go more than 6 months in arrears?

    I feel very bitter about this and don't think that justice was served.

    And like with what the Government are doing with the 'Tenant Fees Ban' and capping deposits to 5 weeks' rent, amongst other things, everything seems to be in the favour of the tenants.

    I wish you well!

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    That really does sound absolutely ridiculous. We are being penalized because of a small group of tenants that want to take advantage of the system.

    These cases never seem to occur with tenants who pays all their rent on time, it is always ones that are in arrears which in itself should be evidence that tenants using this are only taking advantage of the system to benefit themselves as much as possible.

    As for serving them the PI and a copy of the Certificate, it was posted to them but do not have evidence that they actually received it or read the documents.

    Any tenant can effectively simply deny receiving the documents that were posted to them. Going forward, it sounds as though I need to make sure I have emails to back up receipt as well as signed documents from the tenants.

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