Taking over the management from my agent

by Readers Question

14:04 PM, 12th June 2013
About 7 years ago

Taking over the management from my agent

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Taking over the management from my agent

Taking over the management from my agentHello all, Ive recently taken over the management of some of my houses from a letting agent.

I’ve received monies which are the tenants deposits with instruction from agent to put in a Deposit protection scheme.

Can I use these deposits as “rent in advance”.

Would I need to have new shorthold tenancy agreements?

Thanks for any help and advice

Gary Lycett


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Comments

Mark Alexander

21:26 PM, 13th June 2013
About 7 years ago

@James - I hate to be the bearer of bad news but a new AST (the signining of a new agreement/form) requires the deposit protected. The localisation act came in April 2012. From what you have said you will have created at least one if not two AST's since then. Each time you were required to re-protect the deposit within 30 days unless you had previously protected it with DPS which is a bit different to the insured schemes. Worst case scenario is that you are liable to fines of 3X rent for each renewal plus the deposit. Thank you lucky stars that you have found this out now and not in 10 years time!

I suggest you take some independent legal advice, make your tenant your best friend and prey that you can get your tenant to sign something which your legal adviser puts together which prevents your tenant from reporting you. I'm not even sure that's possible but your legal adviser will be able to guide you if you choose the right one. Tessa is obviously tone such ideal solicitor.

It may of course all come to nothing if your tenants are oblivious to their rights but the threat will exist for 6 years and for each and every such offence. Please, for your own sake, get this sorted.

James Noble

22:10 PM, 13th June 2013
About 7 years ago

Thank you, James. The comments made by you and Gareth have made me dig through my records. Fortunately, I keep everything (much to the despair of my wife.) I've just discovered a (forgotten) copy of a letter I sent in 1999 - the beginning of the tenancy - reminding the tenant that he had agreed to top-up any shortfall from Housing Benefit. Needless to add, there was a shortfall,and it was never topped-up. I ignored this, being content to accept what the Local Authority was willing to offer. But this shortfall must have amounted to the deposit every few years. In other words, it could be argued that by 2003, their original deposit would have been 'used'. From 2003, on the new AST agreements, the deposit amount has either been left blank or just 'paid'. Can I argue that there is now no deposit left to deposit? (The tenant and I look upon each other as old friends - we get on very well, and all repairs, gas certs. etc. are dealt with promptly.)

Mark Alexander

22:18 PM, 13th June 2013
About 7 years ago

James, I think you may well have had a lucky escape there. If at all possible try to get what you have said here in writing and counter signed by your tenant.

James Noble

22:33 PM, 13th June 2013
About 7 years ago

Thanks Mark (got the name correct this time). After all this advice I rather think I'll have to become a paid up member of 118. You've got yourself a new colleague.

Mark Alexander

22:37 PM, 13th June 2013
About 7 years ago

Thank you James and welcome 🙂

Puzzler

11:24 AM, 14th June 2013
About 7 years ago

This is a good example of not doing your homework and thinking you can save money by not using an agent, without the necessary knowledge.

My question is - why do you want to use the deposit as rent in advance?

3:44 AM, 16th June 2013
About 7 years ago

10 year tenant, Good friend? Why on earth go through all the hassle of registering a deposit? Don't ask for one in the first place, especially on next renewal of AST!!!. The tenant is obviously a "good tenant", No deposit == no deposit scheme, and you can still use the appropriate sections for repossession.???
Or am I over simplifying matters?

Puzzler

9:24 AM, 18th June 2013
About 7 years ago

I don't know if a deposit is a requirement if you don't want one. However then why not dispense with renewing the AST as well? If there's one already it will go to a statutory periodic one (notwithstanding recent posts about reprotection).

Tenant = good friend, etc. What happens if you fall out? Or they get into a relationship which breaks down unpleasantly? People's circumstances can change in ways you might not predict.

22:33 PM, 20th June 2013
About 7 years ago

Following a breakdown in relationship with an Estate Agent, I have had to take over the management of the property. The tenant was on a stat periodic tenancy and the original deposit was protected by the Estate Agent in a DPS. The tenant asked for the return of the deposit when informed by the Estate Agent of termination of services but the Estate Agent refused to return the deposit to the tenant. I am aware that the agent cannot pay the deposit to me as the landlord. I completed an AST with the tenant and noted on the agreement that the deposit had been paid to the Estate Agent. I assumed that the deposit remains protected within the DPS but it seems that perhaps I should be advising the tenant to insist on the return of the deposit as neither of us has the deposit protection certificate.
Linda

Philip Aston

13:19 PM, 10th July 2013
About 7 years ago

Hi
I believe the earlier comment about staying on good terms with the tenant is spot on.

About 3 years ago, I took on my own management from an agent who had messed up. The agent sent all deposits back to me, and I passed them straight onto a protection scheme. As I recall, they asked for details of my scheme registration, failing which they would have returned the deposits to the tenants.

I inspect regularly and carry out precautionary maintenence, amd, in some cases, upgrading where components are becoming grotty just through normal wear ant tear. We've had the odd bad'un - who doesn't? - but on the whole everyone wins. Reverting to the subject, I hope, although of course can't guarantee, that my tenants would think twice about using a legal device against me.

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