Katie and Stephanie moved into a city centre apartment in summer 2014 on a 12 month contract through a small lettings agency. They paid a deposit of the equivalent of one-and-a-half month’s rent (£1350) to the landlord to be placed into a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme as part of their contract but when it came to checking out of the property a year later they were refused the return of the majority of their deposit.
Despite asking for a copy of the certificate or any form of proof that the deposit had been made the landlord refused to acknowledge and intentionally avoided responding to the two tenants. Both Katie and Stephanie became increasingly concerned that their money was not safe and that they had been scammed in the matter. After they both questioned their landlord and lettings agency further to get back in touch about the deposit they received a letter in their post from the lettings agency claiming that they had caused significant damage to the property and that this would be deducted from their initial deposit with only £200 being returned to them through the landlord. Knowing that they had taken very good care of the property during their tenancy and having never been issued an inventory when moving in they felt that they had left it in a better state than it was originally and only became more and more suspicious of their landlord’s activity.
Katie and Stephanie decided to take action against their landlord as they started to doubt their deposit was ever protected. After doing some research they became certain that it had not been placed into a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme, they believed that the landlord was acting maliciously and aggressively toward them for no reason whatsoever and decided to speak to a direct access barrister who advised to take the matter to the small claims court to recover the costs and seek compensation for the trouble caused as a result of not having their deposit returned.
With the help of the direct access barrister they managed to recover over £2700 for their trouble with the judge advising that the lettings agency and landlord should have known better and been aware of the law.
If you have been in a situation or are currently dealing with a similar matter with a rogue landlord you should consider getting the advice of a landlord and tenancy barrister to see what you can do. If your deposit has not been placed in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of it being paid you are entitled to up to three times the amount paid in compensation.
By speaking with a barrister you can ensure that you are properly advised about having a case against your landlord to take to the small claims court and can rest assured that if you do so it will be handled to the highest professional standard.
Should you find yourself in a position requiring the assistance of a barrister for a tenancy matter, contact ShenSmith Barristers on 0203 627 9580