DPS bond contested

by Readers Question

5 years ago

DPS bond contested

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DPS bond contested

I am a new Landlord and the first tenant has left after she couldn’t pay her rent. Her partner left the house a month before and the new tenancy agreement was signed in her name only. DPS bond contested

Some damage had been caused to the property, gas meter changed without consent and was in rent arrears so the bond was requested back via our letting agents.

The tenant contested us having the bond stating that she had to leave because of a violent relationship.

They have offered us £200 out of a £600 bond which doesn’t even cover the rent arrears.

We have been told that if we take it to the adjudication panel we will not win and will loose the full £600.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks

Christopher



Comments

Mark Alexander

5 years ago

Hi Christopher

Your answers to these questions will help me to suggest various options to you which may include Small Claims Court or the best way to be certain that DPS release the deposit back to you.

Who told you that you would lose and what were their reasons?

How much were the rent arrears?

What is the approximate value of the damage?

Did you have rent guarantee insurance or a guarantor?

Was a professional inventory completed at check in and check out and if so, which professional body did the inventory clerk belong to?

Sorry to hit you with so many questions but I can assure you they are all relevant in terms of helping you to decide how to move forwards with this.
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David Sweeney

5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "22/08/2013 - 08:19":

I am worried. You issued a new tenancy in her name? The deposit was held for the joint tenancy? "Ms X" and "Mr & Mrs X" are two totally different tenancies. If no inventory was conducted between the tenancies, how do you intend to prove that any specific damage was caused during any specific tenancy? Sue Ms X for a broken window, what do you tell the court when she says 'it was like that when the tenancy began'? Sue Mr & Mrs jointly, "it was fine when we left".

I can think of a way round that particular issue, but it is complex and would cost more than a broken window costs to fix.

I don't think the issue of leaving a violent partner when she had a sole tenancy will hold water, so for 'rent' you should have no problem with the deposit scheme, does she have funds? Would it be worth going after her for rent in lieu of notice? How long was the "Ms X" tenancy meant to be for?

Mark Alexander

5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dave Reaney" at "22/08/2013 - 09:41":

Hi Dave

The questions I posed were to establish whether a full claim is feasible or whether to claim the deposit based on rent arrears only.

I think there are too many unanswered questions for us to provide further guidance at this stage although I do concur with the points you have made, if indeed they are relevant to what exactly this landlord is actually looking to achieve.
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chris young

5 years ago

Basically they were living at the property together, they split up but she wanted to remain in the house so tenancy was changed to her. The inventory wouldn't have been done again as she was living there originally before it moved into her name. She informed me that she had no money to pay the rent as she was on benefits and informed the letting agent we could take it out of the bond. Her tenancy would have been up in Oct this year. The rent should have been £575. She left 2 weeks after giving her notice. Approx value of damage would have been £200. We don't have rent insurance or a guarantor. The letting agents do a photograpgic inventory before they moved in and when she left. The letting agents have been liasing with dps who stated that there is a risk we'll loose the full bond as they are favouring the tenant in this.situation. Many thanks

Mark Alexander

5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "chris young" at "22/08/2013 - 10:14":

On that basis Chris I suggest your claim on the deposit is for the rent arrears only. No need to mention the damage at this stage. Your claim for damages is flakey at best so why mention it?

Remember, you still have up to six years to make a claim against this tenant in the Small Claims Court for any losses which you have not recovered, 12 years if your tenancy was executed by way of deed. From what you have said though, you might find it difficult to prove losses based on damage as a new inventory was not done at the same time as the new tenancy being granted. Also, with the tenant being on benefits your chances of recovering money over and above the deposit are minimal at this stage.

Note that it may take up to six months for the DPS to make a ruling if your tenant doesn't respond. If she does respond I can't see that she has any defence for the rent arrears but she does have grounds to dispute retention of the deposit based on damages, hence my suggestion above.
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chris young

5 years ago

Thank you for your reply. She is disupting it saying she fled because of a violent relationship. Dps have offered us 200 out of the bond or we can take it to the panel but our letting agents have in a round about way been by them that they are.favouring the tenant and we will loose and then get nothing so we have to decide whether to take the 200 or risk loosing it all. Many thanks

Mark Alexander

5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "chris young" at "22/08/2013 - 10:39":

Oh I see, the claim has already gone in to the DPS then?

What was the basis of the claim?

it may well be in your interests to let the DPS know that you wish to exercise your right for your claim to be handled by the Small Claims courts now. If you do this, make your primary claim the arrears and a secondary claim for damage. If you win at Small Claims Court, and you should if you present your case properly, at least for the rent arrears, then DPS typically hold on to the deposit for another 30 days prior to releasing it, just in case the defendant makes an appeal.
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David Sweeney

5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "22/08/2013 - 10:31":

In my experience, the recovery of the deposit (if tenant does not respond) is more speedy. Keep your eye on things like the deadline the DPS give the tenant to respond, and as soon as that passes, ask the DPS to supply the paperwork for the "Single Claim Process". You will need that paperwork signed by a solicitor, but there is a fixed fee of £5 plus £2 for each additional shee

Mary Latham

5 years ago

Did the DPS offer the £200 to cover the damages or was this towards rent arrears? The DPS can only make a determination based on the evidence that you provide. If you did not provide evidence of the rent arrears you will not get the rent.

The interesting thing is that tenants say the DPS are on the landlords side and landlords say they are the tenants side. In reality they are on neither side and make decisions based on the evidence that they are given.

As hard as this may sound perhaps on this occasion you may have to take the hit and move on because I suspect that this tenant has no assets and apart from her deposit/bond there is no money to go after.

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Chris has not said whether a new tenancy was granted, the deposit re-protected and the prescribed information issued, or if not, the process by which the change was effected. It sounds as though the deposit might have been left with the DPS throughout. Pursuing a claim in the courts might open a can of worms if any of this had not been done properly. I cannot understand on what basis the DPS would have offered the reduced amount informally unless the tenant has told them that she accepts liability for this amount - it all sounds a bit fishy to me. If the letting agents have made errors in dealing with the tenancy and failing to produce a new inventory they may have a liability for Chris's losses.

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