Letting agent ignoring tenant enquiries about unprotected deposit

by Readers Question

10:35 AM, 7th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Letting agent ignoring tenant enquiries about unprotected deposit

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Letting agent ignoring tenant enquiries about unprotected deposit

Letting agent ignoring tenant enquiries about unprotected deposit

I have new tenants and am trying to help them recover their deposit from their previous tenancy.

The tenancy agreement clearly states that the deposit of £425 is to be paid in to the DPS.

The agent has not done this – the DPS have confirmed this.

I know that ultimately it is the landlord’s responsibility to lodge a deposit but it is also the agent’s legal responsibility to give the tenants the landlord’s address, they haven’t done this either!

The agent has ignored all communication from the tenants on this matter and so I have stepped in with their authority to help them as I have more knowledge on the subject than they do.

If the agent chooses to ignore me and does not come forward with the landlord’s address what should be the next step?

Thanks

John



Comments

Mark Alexander

10:44 AM, 7th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi John

I suppose it depends on how scary you want to be.

Technically a crime may have been committed by the agent, it's called "fraud by abuse of position". I suspect the landlord would like to know what his agent has been up to as it is the landlord who is likely to cop for the fine for the non-protection of the deposit in the long term. He will no doubt want recompense if this is the case too as he is as much a victim here as the tenant. The great thing about crime is that directors cannot hide behind limited liability status of companies and their personal assets can be seized to make recompense. I know this sounds a bit extreme for the sake of £425 but how many other landlords and tenants are being ripped off in the same way by this agent?

To find the landlord search HM Land Registry >>> https://www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry - it will cost you just a few pounds

To find out more about prosecuting the agent for fraud see >>> https://www.cotswoldbarristers.co.uk/police-failing-businesses-victims-fraud/
.

Mark Smith (Barrister-At-Law)

10:57 AM, 7th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Mark A is right. Where someone receives or holds money on behalf of someone else, and does not do what their obligations require them to do with that money, and refuses to account for the money or allow it to be pursued, then we always consider whether there is a crime being committed.

Advising the agent that this is the next step may produce the desired result. If it does not, then please get back to us.

Colin Belton

20:35 PM, 7th October 2014
About 4 years ago

As a former letting agent I can testify to what really counts is when the industry regulator becomes involved. As of 1st October every agent needs to be a member of a redress scheme. So find out if it is the Property Ombudsman (http://www.tpos.co.uk/) or another. If the agent is not a member of a redress scheme then there is an additional issue, and if he is a member of a redress scheme, definitely report the agent. You might find my blog informative on the rental business at https://www.rentaljoy.com/blog/

Hazel de Kloe

20:55 PM, 7th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi John

Unfortunately, this is relatively regular occurrence with rogue letting agents, thereby giving their industry a bad name.

Letting agents are required by law to sign up to a redress scheme, such as The Property Ombudsman, although I have a feeling that this particular one may fall foul of this ruling. Running a bit of due diligence on the agent wouldn't go amiss, just to see who you're dealing with. You could check to see whether the agency is registered with Companies House and check on the status of the business and its Directors quite easily there. Running a Google search on the company the people who run it may also produce interesting revelations too!

Once you have gathered the evidence and followed the above tips by Mark (as above), then you can present your findings to said agent and see what sort of response you get. If they at all conscious of their reputation (!), then, as Mark (above) suggests, this will hopefully stir them into action. Remember, the tenant will be entitled to claim three times the deposit amount AND the deposit itself for failure to register it correctly.

Good luck!

paul brown

16:14 PM, 8th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi all i have a question on the above , as a tenant and a landlord i follow all the regulations, now this time last year i took my old landlord (who also ran a letting agency, which he then folded leaving unpaid deposits / rent behind) to court for failing to secure my deposit , initially i was doing it myself but as the court was not very helpful i engaged a law firm on a no win no fee basis, they tidied up my original paperwork and took to court, the landlord never showed to contest (in fact he was contactable by phone and told us he had no intention of contesting or paying) we were awarded the full amount + fees , the problem is he has disappeared off the voters roll and we cannot find him, now he still has 3 properties that he now rents out via a letting agent in Glasgow, I noticed above that the letting agent has to by law to disclose the landlords address , can somebody point me in the right direction of that piece of legislation.
Thanks in advance

Mark Alexander

16:28 PM, 8th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "paul brown" at "08/10/2014 - 16:14":

Hi Paul

If you can't get any joy out of the letting agent try this no trace no fee service >>> http://www.property118.com/first-steps-in-recovery-of-outstanding-tenant-debt/40251/
.

paul brown

12:17 PM, 9th October 2014
About 4 years ago

Hi Mark thanks for the advice i have now placed a trace with the company above , now need to wait and see how we get on.

Industry Observer

10:32 AM, 13th October 2014
About 4 years ago

@ Paul Brown

If the Landlord was found 'guilty' then he is no longer a fit and proper person so you can get him removed from the register in Scotland.

@ Colin and Mark Smith (or anyone ales who knows the answer) this 'offence' occurred before the Oct 1st date so would complaints on actions happening before membership be considered by a Scheme? If so agents could really have some problems as disgruntled ex-clients can make claims against them.

On that basis I doubt retrospective complaints can be heard.

@John - just get the tenant to make a s213 claim against the agent. As it would be a Part 8 case (is that right Mark Smith?) costs would not be limited


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