How to solve deposit disputes with your landlord?
EMMA GREEN >
Consultant SolicitorWed 3 February 2021
Your deposit must be protected within a deposit protection scheme if your tenancy is an assured shorthold tenancy which started after 6th April 2007. Most tenancies in the UK now qualify for protection. As a tenant you have legal rights to challenge a landlord that has failed to protect your payment. In this article Emma Green, Consultant Solicitor guides you through checking your deposit with your landlord and the process of handling a dispute with your landlord.
Check whether your deposit has been protected
Landlords are under a duty to protect your deposit within 30 days of receiving it from you. They must also provide you with all necessary information regarding the scheme, including how to claim the deposit back at the end of the tenancy and what to do in the event of a dispute with the landlord. If your landlord doesn’t comply with the above, they may have to pay a penalty.
I’m not sure whether my deposit is protected. How can I check?
If you haven’t received the above information from your landlord you can easily find out whether your deposit has been protected. In England and Wales there are three schemes;
Each one has a free search engine on their website and you can use this to find out which scheme your deposit is with.
My deposit was not protected - what do I do now?
If your deposit was not protected or has not been protected for the full duration of your tenancy you may have a claim for compensation. To do so, you will need to issue court proceedings against your landlord.
Whilst issuing court proceedings can seem daunting any court hearing is likely to be short and relatively informal. Furthermore, if you are successful you can claim compensation for the inconvenience your landlord has caused, which can sometimes be as much as 3 times the amount of your original deposit.
You have 6 years from the date the landlord was supposed to protect your deposit to make a claim. However, if possible, it is advisable to wait until your tenancy has ended before you issue court proceedings.
Gather your evidence
It is really important that all correspondence between you and your landlord is put in writing throughout the duration of the tenancy. You can then use this as evidence in Court if necessary.
For a successful claim, you will need to prove that the deposit was not protected and be able to provide confirmation of the amount of the deposit paid, the date it was paid and where the money was sent to.
The court will also want to see a copy of the tenancy agreement along with evidence of the rent paid throughout the tenancy. This could be a copy of your bank statements showing the date of each payment.
Once you’ve gathered the relevant evidence (and assuming your landlord is unwilling to negotiate with you) the court papers should be sent off to the Court.
Once these papers have been served upon your landlord, they may agree to pay your deposit along with any compensation claimed. Alternatively, they may dispute your claim or bring a ‘counterclaim’ against you to recover any money they think they are entitled to. If this is the case with your landlord, your claim will run to a small claims hearing. At a court hearing a District Judge will decide how much of your deposit you should receive back, along with the amount of compensation to be paid.
Please contact Emma Green at our Peterborough Office on 01733 972944 or alternatively click the ‘contact us’ button to email her directly. Click here to read more about our Dispute Resolution Services.
TAKE A LOOK AT