Tenant won’t claim his deposit and wants to go to court!

by Readers Question

3 months ago

Tenant won’t claim his deposit and wants to go to court!

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Tenant won’t claim his deposit and wants to go to court!

My brother and I are joint landlords of a few properties. One of our tenants recently gave 30 days written notice to vacate his flat. His deposit had been protected through the DPS and was provided Information how the DPS scheme works etc within the 30 day period when the tenancy commenced around 2 years ago.

We met him at his flat on his day of departure and the flat was filthy. We reminded him that as per the tenancy agreement/inventory the flat should be in the same standard of cleanliness as when he moved in. He very reluctantly agreed to make a better job of cleaning the flat. He said he would do it later that day and we agreed to meet him the following day for a new hand over. He never showed up the following day for the new hand over and hadn’t made any further attempts at cleaning. The keys for the flat were never returned to us. We contacted him and told him as he didn’t clean the flat or handed in the keys we would be getting a cleaner in and changing the locks at his expense.

We logged a dispute for part of his deposit with the DPS. He said as we were looking at withholding part of his bond he would see us in court for the full amount. True to his word he logged a claim through the small claims court for the full amount of his deposit which is £400.

My brother and I have since decided to fully renovate the flat and could not be bothered with the time or inconvenience of a dispute with the DPS or small claims court.

We logged on to the DPS again and changed the status of claim for the deposit to be returned to the tenant in full. He has been notified by the DPS that his deposit is available to be reclaimed in full and all he need do his provide the bank account details he wants it sending to.

The tenant is ignoring the DPS and refusing to contact them to reclaim his deposit. He is pushing ahead with the small claims court. No court date has been set yet and the courts are advising both parties should try to mediate to try resolving the dispute without having to go to court.

He is flatly refusing this and it seems he wants to have his day in court. We do not want to end up in court or have any CCJ’s against us.

Can anyone advice how we can resolve this please?

Ronnie



Comments

Ross Tulloch

3 months ago

I dispair. Pathetic that there are people like this. However surely this would go no further, as it will be clear that there is no case to answer, and the decision would be for him to have to take the entire deposit.

trevor white

3 months ago

It is far from clear what the tenants claim is about. It appears that he is claiming a sum of money that is not in dispute and is not in the possession or control of the landlord.
The Tenant has vacated the property and is entitled to the return of his deposit which is not in dispute.
Tell the Court this is an abuse of process as there is no real dispute.

Paul Kaye

3 months ago

If this was me, I would counterclaim for all work needed to bring back the property
into the same condition as it was let.
I would withdraw my offer to give the deposit back,owing to his attitude.

Ross Tulloch

3 months ago

Paul Kaye has a very good way. Perhaps check that you are likely to win and if so, suggest to the tenant that if he withdraws his claim, fine, if not you will immediately counter claim. Set a time limit

AA

3 months ago

Rewind a bit. A. court is there to arbitrate. You only get a CCJ against you if you do not abide by the decision of the court. The point of the court is to bring clarity to the dispute. You don't get a mark against you because the decision went against you - and yes I would counter sue this a***.

budd

3 months ago

Be careful court decisions are always one sided. They will take the tenant's side. I don't think lanlords will have a chance.

David Dorset

3 months ago

The court shouldn't be something to fear. I have used the small claims court on several occasions. They respect people who are calm, organised, and reasonable.
Firstly i would agree to mediation as although the claimant has refused it will look positive on your part if you did agree.
Secondly the claimant will need to prove a case against you. If you have offered full deposit back then there is no financial dispute and therefore no claim. It is a shame you changed the DPS status as the court would have waited for their ruling and likely allowed the DPS stance to influence the court case outcome. Also logging a dispute with the DPS is a perfectly legal witholding of funds procedure and he could not have sued you on that basis.However you have now quite legally and reasonably changed the status to full refund. Part of your response paperwork will ask if you have agreed to pay the amount claimed. If you say yes then it will not go to court.
You can make this clear to the court as they will likely throw out the case before it goes to court if they can see it would be a waste of the courts time. Each case is looked at by a Judge before the court date is set. The court will also not discuss an individual case on the phone but will give you plenty of procedural advice. Additionally if you are not a limited company then you can also have the right for the case to be heard in your local court and not the court that the claimant requests (if their court is out of your area). If you want to be well prepared then looked up the Civil Procedure Rules for written procedural advice.
This all goes back to a thread sometime ago on 118 about the benefit (or not) of having deposits and the ridiculous DPS decisions that have been made in the past.
Several landlords put forward that they do not hold a deposit and instead charge a bit more on the rent and make regular visits to see their tenants. These landlords made a profit out of not having a deposit and also less stress with not having to deal with the DPS. For the rare occasion that a property is not left as it should be you have the extra rent to help cover the costs.
Don't worry about having a CCJ. It would never come to that I am sure.

acctsol

3 months ago

one important thing to consider is that even if you do indeed get a judgment against you, you always have 30 days to pay the judgement debt before a record of CCJ is registered against you. Therefore, whilst I am not a lawyer/solicitor, it is always worth putting in a defence and going to court. The worst case scenario is that you lose and have 30 days to pay the judgment debt

David Dorset

3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by acctsol at 22/05/2018 - 11:09
yes but you will still have a CCJ against you which will show as paid.

Annie Landlord

3 months ago

Has he officially left the flat? Is he going to try to say he's not claimed the deposit because he still lives there - and you shouldn't, therefore, have entered the flat? He didn't return the keys, so should you have gone through an abandonment process, even though he had given notice? He must have something up his sleeve.

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