The Dreaded Prescribed Information!

by Readers Question

13:00 PM, 1st July 2015
About 3 years ago

The Dreaded Prescribed Information!

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The Dreaded Prescribed Information!

I had a tenant in one of my properties, they moved in in 2011, I duly lodged the deposit with the DPS, printed out the certificate and prescribed information, took it personally to the tenant for signature and then duly gave her a copy.proof

They recently moved out leaving quite a lot of damage. I had verbally agreed to the daughter having a kitten, tenant then informed me that she had adopted a dog, I verbally agreed on the proviso that any damage caused by the animals be made good prior to them vacating the property. unknown to me they then adopted 2 more cats, all indoor cats. I felt a bit mean asking them to get rid of the animals as the daughter was very attached to them, so again tenant agreed to make good any damage and ensure that the carpets were cleaned.

The tenants moved out prior to the end of the tenancy agreement but still paid rent until the due date. The tenants did not turn up for the checkout inventory and posted the keys through the letter box.

Tenants duly applied for return of the deposit from the DPS, so they knew it had been lodged there, I refused as I wanted some payment towards the costs incurred in making good the property. I duly informed the tenant and included pictures of the damage, invoices etc. I heard nothing so sent all relevant photos etc to the DPS so we could use their ADR procedure.

I subsequently received one of those lovely letters from a ‘no win no fee’ solicitor stating that their initial investigations at the DPS suggested I had not supplied tenants with the prescribed information and demanded the deposit and compensation of 1 1/2 times the deposit. No problem I thought as I knew it had been done correctly, but I cannot find my copy of the signed certificate anywhere.

I have a few questions, if it goes to court will I loose and have to pay back the deposit and 3 times the amount plus their court costs? Should I employ legal representation?

Would I be better to pay up what they are asking now rather than 3 times the deposit if it goes to court?

I did ask my tenant find agent to re sign the tenant when I put up the rent but I failed to supply the prescribed information again.

If I loose the case can I take out a private claim against my tenant for damaged caused?

A solicitor I spoke to briefly suggested that I call their bluff as it is the tenants word against mine and the deposit had been correctly lodged with the DPS.

I am sure someone on here will have had a similar experience and I would be really grateful for any advice.

Many thanks

Kathy



Comments

Neil Patterson

13:04 PM, 1st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Kathy,

Most questions we get on this subject are clear cut eg. I forgot to protect the deposit in time.

It is interesting that the tenants knew where to request the deposit back from, but I am not sure what sort of proof for a defence this would be as there are not that many schemes.

14:17 PM, 1st July 2015
About 3 years ago

HI Kathy,
If the tenants make a claim for non-compliance with the deposit regulations, it is very unlikely that the judge will award the full 3 times the deposit.
it is usually decided on a sliding scale.
I would expect in this case, if you cant prove your served P.I that the judge would award 1 times the deposit, have a read of the most recent deposit protection case below. and how judges decide on punishment due.

Your claim through DPS has nothing to do with the tenants claim for compensation so you can still proceed with the claim for deductions.

http://nearlylegal.co.uk/blog/2015/06/how-late-it-was-how-late/

Monty Bodkin

17:38 PM, 1st July 2015
About 3 years ago

Do you have any free legal cover included in your buildings insurance?

It would be poetic justice if they lost at court and had to pay your insurers costs.

Recardo Knights

14:58 PM, 2nd July 2015
About 3 years ago

If you feel you did every thing correctly try and call their bluff. They have told you it was protected so they are in the know and trying to avoid any damages.

Say you delivered a copy to them on (hope you know the date) which they signed and once used as evidence their claim will be worthless.

They may well remember signing a copy so hope you have not told them your copy is lost.

I would advise In future scan all documents and save it on computer as a back up. Many times on disagreement I have said shall I print you a copy and send it to you.

Gilly

17:56 PM, 2nd July 2015
About 3 years ago

I don't quite understand this, mainly because I use mydeposits insurance based scheme and perhaps it is a little different.

There are three parts - the certificate itself, the prescribed information and the Information for tenants leaflet. The DPS should have a copy of the certificate, so that you have the exact date etc and proof that you registered it.

Are you saying you have lost all the documents - or that you forgot to register it a all? If you have registered, then the solicitor must be bluffing, as the DPS would only be able to confirm that you registered the deposit, not whether you had a signed copy in your possession.

They may have seen where to claim in the contract - it is mentioned in mine.

If they have introduced a solicitor into the proceedings then there is no point in continuing not to pay it back - however, what I would do, is to tell them that they can either have the deposit returned but you will then claim the maximum amount via the small claims court or they can settle for a gesture of goodwill and you only deduct X amount (which is less) i.e. a compromise. That normally works and they have been with you for four years after all.

Did you also remember to claim for de-infestation costs? Fleas can often turn up much later.

So next time, get them to sign a pet contract and treat the paperwork as precious. The law is quite harsh now for landlords who don't register the deposit - sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Alan Loughlin

8:08 AM, 4th July 2015
About 3 years ago

I repeat what I have said several times on here before, avoid all these problems, charge an admin fee up front instead of taking a deposit, saves a load of hassle, and money, and you have the money in the bank. simple.

Gilly

9:50 AM, 4th July 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Alan Loughlin" at "04/07/2015 - 08:08":

Hi Alan,
I have read what you say about charging a fee upfront and whilst it may be easier it doesn't seem right to me to charge tenants. I believe it is illegal in Scotland. It seems to me that you are just profiteering from good tenants who never cause any damage but with you they pay a fee for that, whereas with a deposit scheme they are entitled to have it back. You may have money in the bank but at their expense. Rents are at an all time high and still you want to charge more?

Alan Loughlin

9:59 AM, 4th July 2015
About 3 years ago

there is an element of truth in what you are saying, I just aggregate the fees and pay for any repairs from this, avoiding all the deposit issues, but if you analyse the deposit taking thing, we do all the work, take all the risk of penalties for what? nothing, just a load of hassle, is that fair?
strangely you say it is unfair on tenants, but they like the idea, not one has objected, most seem pleasantly surprised, they are told upfront, it is clearly shown on any ad. so they could walk away at any time, no-one is forced here. a free market.

Alan Loughlin

10:10 AM, 4th July 2015
About 3 years ago

I think the ban on fees in Scotland only applies to letting agents, does anyone know this?

Kathy Harrison

13:59 PM, 6th July 2015
About 3 years ago

I lodged the deposit WITHIN THE 30 DAYS, printed the P I, had it signed by tenant, gave tenant a copy but am now unable to find my copy. Tenant claims I did not give them a copy and that is the reason the solicitor wants to take me to court, i.e. for failing to supply P I. I think I will reply that I have proof the deposit was lodged, which I do, and take my chances.
I know the tenant is just 'trying it on' to avoid paying for damage, they were well aware of the deposit being lodged with the DPS as DPS send tenants a repayment ID when the deposit is lodged.

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