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  • Legal FAQs

    Letting Agent disappeared with deposit

    Our letting agent has shut up shop and taken our tenant's deposit with him and failed to register it in a scheme.

    Hence we are now suing him for its return via Money Claim Online.

    Needed some advice answering these online questions please:

    1. Date money became owed - Would this be from the time it was paid by the tenant to the agent or from the time we discovered he had not protected it and asked for it back?

    2. Which date would we seek interest from?

    3. Can we claim an amount for distress & inconvenience? If so, should we specify an amount or let the judge decide?

    4. Can we claim interest on court fees & distress & inconvenience?

    Thank you

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    In other words, you agent has stolen the money?  You should contact the police.  It is likely others are affected by this.

    With regards to the deposit, it actually belongs to the tenant, not you, so I am struggling to understand why you are involved?

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    But surely if he is the landlords agent then the landlord is ultimately responsible under the law of agency.

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    Hi Vanessa and thanks for your comment.

    I have reported this to the police, however, it has been 2 months and they still have not been in touch.

    I have subsequently placed a deposit from my own funds into a protected scheme and now wish to claim this back from the agent...

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    NB. My understanding is that the landlord is ultimately responsible for the safeguarding of the deposit, even if an agent is involved?

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    NB. We are suing the agent personally, because we never knew he was trading as a limited company up until now (he never mentioned it on any literature or otherwise) - should we mention this on the short statement of claim? because I am sure he will try and argue that the company is liable?

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    You bigger problem is that tenant can sue you (yes, YOU!!) for up to 3xdeposit. As penalty for your failing to ensure you complied with 10+ year old law.

    In your shoes I'd repay deposit to tenant today (yes I know you never got it..) to hopefully reduce any penalty & as a gesture of goodwill.

    Tough one!

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    Have you checked if your agent is registered for client money protection. If so then you need to claim from them. If not then you also need to check if it is a limited company and whether it is in fact still trading. If he contracted with you as a limited company then you cannot sue him as an individual. You need to look at the literature and the signed contract very carefully as this will be fatal to your claim.

    To answer your questions:

    1. When you ended the agreement and demanded the money.

    2. You probably have no specific right to interest. I would try from when you demanded the money back.

    3. No.

    4. No

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    David Smith
    Landlord & Tenant Solicitor
    Anthony Gold Solicitors

    Find me on LinkedIn: uk.linkedin.com/in/dsnsmith

    All opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my firm. No comment made should be taken as legal advice and you should consult a solicitor or other legal professional for advice on your specific situation.

    Many many thanks David.

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    Sorry David, as Columbo once said, just one more thing - We are suing the agent personally, because we never knew he was trading as a limited company, up until now (he never mentioned it on any literature or otherwise) - should we mention this on the short statement of claim? because I am sure he will try and argue that the company is liable, as he has already intimated that the company has limited funds?

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