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I live in Greece and rented a flat in England from end of

I live in Greece and...
I live in Greece and rented a flat in England from end of January to end of April, 2011. The deposit was held by the estate agents. As there is now a dispute with the landlord about the return of my deposit, I should like to know a) whether the landlord had the right to ask the estateagents to hold the deposit instead of sending it to a state authority and b) what legal steps I should take so that the dispute is resolved.

Thank you,

Christina Vlahoutsikou.
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
6/11/2011
Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 7,626
Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Hi Christina

 

Thanks for your question.

 

If you occupied the property under an assured shorthold tenancy then the deposit should have been placed in a protected tenancy deposit scheme. If the agent is a member of the scheme then they will hold it. If they are not then it will have been transferred directly to the scheme provider to hold.

 

You should have received a deposit certificate with a reference number for it. If you do not have this then you need to ask them for details. If they have not placed it in a scheme then you may be able to sue for the return of the deposit and a fine payable by the landlord to you of three times the deposit amount.

 

If it has been placed then there will be a dispute resolution process for the scheme and you need to speak to the scheme about initiating it. You will submit your evidence and argument why the deduction should not be made, the landlord will be able to respond and then it will go to the scheme's independent arbitrator for determination.

 

If this has been useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. If you do not click accept your money stays with the site and I do not receive any credit for the time I have taken to answer your question.

 

I will answer your follow up questions you may have.


Kind regards,


Tom

Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
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Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Is there any further information you require?

If you do not click accept then I do not receive any credit for the time I have taken to answer your question.

Please click accept.

Tom
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Hello Tom,

 

"Many thanks for your answer which went a long way towards clarifying the situation. I have of course accepted it and have ordered for 20,00 pounds to be given to you as bonus.

Two more questions. 1) How can I establish whether the agents, Foxtons co. uk are members of the protected tenancy deposit scheme? I have not received a deposit certificate with a reference number.

2) You say that I need to speak to the scheme about initiating the dispute resolution process. So far the agents have let me understand that it is up to the landlord to initiate this. In fact I would much rather initiate it myself. What I don't know is how to get in touch with "the scheme".

As I have already said in my first communication with you, it is clear that the matter will have to go to arbitration. Having waited so long for the return of my deposit, I am now keen to proceed. Therefore I ask you kindly to reply to my follow up questions as soon as possible.
Many thanks
Christina

Hi Christina ,

 

Thanks for your accept.

 

You just need to ask Foxtons for the deposit certificate, they are a big firm and they will have registered it.

 

The deposit certificate will have details of the scheme and you can get in touch with them.


The process is that a landlord first confrims whether they propose to make deductions, it is then for you to decide whether to dispute this. If you do you should then get in touch with the scheme.


Kind regards,


Tom

Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
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Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Hello Tom,

 

Many thanks for your answer. Only I still don't know how to get in touch with "the scheme", which sounds like an abstract entity to me ! Website? Telephone numbers? Email address?

 

Foxton's informed me that my tenancy agreement is not an assured shorthold tenancy and explained this as follows

Short let tenancies are not Assured Shorthold Tenancies which is why the deposit
clause (17.1) is described as Stakeholder rather than being protected by the
government deposit protection scheme (TDSL).

 

i find this confusing. Foxton's write as though short let tenancies are automatically excluded from AST. On the other hand, In your replies to me you left open the possibility that my three month tenancy is classified as AST. So, my question is : can I challenge my exclusion from AST? And if so, how?

 

As I feel that you are spending a lot of time on my behalf, I would like to add to the bonus which I sent after accepting your first answer. So, when I accepted your second answer I added an 11 pouns bonus. However, I got the message that I have already paid for your services. Could you tell me how I can add what I feel I owe you for your second answer and for the one which I hope that I will receive from you in due course?

Hi Christina,

Don't worry about clicking accept or offering any bonuses. I am perfectly happy to answer your follow up questions free of charge.

ASTs can be granted for a term of less than 6 months, but there are statutory provisions which preclude the landlord from regaining possession earlier than 6 months in those cases.

Foxtons, is they are holding as stakeholder, should still have a dispute resolution processs which you should ask to intiate(by email, try and keep a documentary record of your dealings with them from now on).

If they do not have a dispute resolution process then you will be left at either negotiating with them to release an agreed amount of the deposit to you or issuing an application in Court for the return of the monies. You may also dispute the classificaiton of the tenancy as not being an AST in this claim.

You can issue a claim via www.moneyclaim.gov.uk but given that you are out of the country you may choose to negotiate informally now threatening an application but in the back of your mind perhaps admitting that it might be best to settle without the time/stress/adminstrative burden of issuing a claim.

Kind regards,

Tom
Thomas
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Experience: BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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