Put it down to experience?

Put it down to experience?

13:26 PM, 4th July 2022, About a month ago 16

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A friend of mine, also a landlord, used a letting agency to find a tenant. She assumed the letting agency would also protect the deposit.

When the tenant came to leave, she found that the deposit had not been protected. She immediately refunded one month’s rent£2500.

Next, she received a solicitor’s letter asking for another month’s rent plus £600 in fees for legal costs, saying that if she went to court, they would claim three times the deposit.

Is this legal and correct?

Many thanks

Tom



Comments

Ian Narbeth View Profile

16:35 PM, 4th July 2022, About a month ago

Tom
As between landlord and tenant, yes and she is lucky the claim is only for £2500 not the maximum £7500.
If the letting agency were simply finding a tenant and not managing the property then they are not at fault.

You would need to review their terms of business but almost certainly they are not responsible. I am afraid your friend may have to "put it down to experience".

Graham Bowcock View Profile

17:19 PM, 4th July 2022, About a month ago

Assumption being the mother of most cock ups!

The agency should have made it clear that it needed doing if they weren't going to do it. It begs the question as to where it was if it wasn't protected!

Not necessarily the agency's fault.

David Smith

17:27 PM, 4th July 2022, About a month ago

The tenant can definitely claim 3 times the deposit if the deposit wasn’t registered with one of the approved schemes.

If the tenancy is a company let then you do not need to register the deposit.

Lyn

20:41 PM, 4th July 2022, About a month ago

So, where is the deposit?
If it wasn't paid to the landlord it must have been paid to the letting agent surely?
So I would be asking the agent where the deposit is.

We used a letting company recently for purpose of finding and referencing a new tenant. The deposit was paid to the letting agent who then put it in the DPS under my name.

David Smith

20:53 PM, 4th July 2022, About a month ago

I always hold the deposit using DPS in their insured scheme. At least I know where it is.

Simon M

20:53 PM, 4th July 2022, About a month ago

After the agent accepted the deposit, they couldn't both protect it and pass it over in full. The question doesn't say who held the deposit and if anything was said about it.

If the tenancy started from April 2007 and the agent aid the landlord the deposit in full well within the 30 days, then the landlord is liable.

If not, even if it wasn't in the letting terms, the agent were a competent party and knew they could not hold onto the deposit. If they retained it, she could reasonably complain to the agent for a share of the liability. They might settle, knowing the property ombudsman might take a different view. (Long shot, dependent on the facts.)

LordOf TheManor

23:09 PM, 4th July 2022, About a month ago

So what did happen to the deposit? Did the agent pay it to your landlord friend on their receipt of it - or did the agent keep it?

Is your friend refunding the tenant from the rent they paid to the landlord - and hoping this will end the matter?

Is the letting agent a member of ARLA? If so, a code of conduct applies. If not, does the agent post their credentials, ts &cs etc online? They surely have to say somewhere what they do for the money they're expecting to be paid for - or how else would your friend have chosen them?

None of this is clear from the original posting. More information is required.

Suresh Parikh

19:10 PM, 5th July 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 04/07/2022 - 16:35
Ian
I would not want to cross swords with you.
Your reply gave the impression that the Agent is off the hook.
Others have made some valid points, and I should be glad to have your authoritative reply.
It must be wrong for the Agent to keep the deposit.
If he was not going to protect it because of the terms of business, he should have informed the Tenant that he is not authorised to accept the deposit because of his terms of business with the Landlord.
Various adverse for the Agent consequences should follow depending on the circumstances and full facts.

Ian Narbeth View Profile

9:51 AM, 6th July 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Suresh Parikh at 05/07/2022 - 19:10
Suresh
As I said in my post, it depends on the terms of the engagement. Absent a review of the papers I cannot give an "authoritative" answer.

Suresh Parikh

10:51 AM, 6th July 2022, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 06/07/2022 - 09:51
Thank you, Ian.
I know you will be busy and there is no need to prolong this thread.
However, I do think that the Agent is in the wrong - even legally, if he accepts a Deposit and does not protect it or inform his Principal - IF the terms of business preclude him from accepting a Deposit in the first place.

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