Worried Landlord now no win no fee solicitor is involved

by Readers Question

11:45 AM, 24th April 2017
About 2 years ago

Worried Landlord now no win no fee solicitor is involved

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Worried Landlord now no win no fee solicitor is involved

I am a landlord with an existing tenancy having come to an end. Since the tenant moved out, we have received letters from a no win no fee solicitor acting on behalf of our ex tenant asking us for compensation for not giving her the correct DPS prescribed information.

Whilst we did outline in our tenancy agreement the contact details of the DPS unfortunately in the prescribed information we have errors and refer to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme not the DPS. Can anyone advise best way of approaching this?

Many thanks
A worried landlord!



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:48 AM, 24th April 2017
About 2 years ago

Unfortunately once the error has been made there is not a lot you can do about it.

However, the maximum a Judge can award is three times the deposit plus the deposit. As you tried to comply and just made a paperwork error it would be a very anti-landlord judge that awarded that sort of amount I would have thought.

Adrian Jones

12:21 PM, 24th April 2017
About 2 years ago

If it is a genuine clerical error and the money has been deposited with the DPS and presumably refunded I can't imagine you would have any problem.

Out of interest could you show the text of the letter you received?

Ian Narbeth

12:39 PM, 24th April 2017
About 2 years ago

"If it is a genuine clerical error and the money has been deposited with the DPS and presumably refunded I can’t imagine you would have any problem."

Sorry Adrian, but wishful thinking is not the law. Where the requirements of section 213(3) (protecting in a scheme) or 213(6) (giving the correct Prescribed Information within 30 days) have not been complied with, Section 214(4) of the Housing Act 2004 says: "The court MUST (emphasis mine) order the landlord to pay to the applicant a sum of money not less than the amount of the deposit and not more than three times the amount of the deposit"

There is no discretion. Even if all the paperwork were in perfect order but served on the 31st day the court must order a penalty of at least the amount of the deposit. The judge has less discretion over the fine than if the landlord were to mug his tenant in the street.

Adrian Jones

12:47 PM, 24th April 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Narbeth" at "24/04/2017 - 12:39":

So do you think referring to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme rather than the DPS would be grounds for a court to issue a penalty?

Ian Narbeth

12:59 PM, 24th April 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Adrian Jones" at "24/04/2017 - 12:47":

Yes, if there is anything wrong (except possibly a trivial typo) the court will hold that the Prescribed Information has not been given. Referring to the wrong scheme is material and will mean that the PI is treated as not having been served.

The legislation is draconian. The court has more discretion over the penalty for something minor like burglary than for the incredibly important crime of a landlord's paperwork not being in order.

David Price

13:04 PM, 24th April 2017
About 2 years ago

For the sake of your health and well-being please stop taking deposits, good tenants don't need them and bad tenants take you for a ride regardless. I stopped taking deposits when the protection scheme came in and have no worries or headaches with these evil lawyers or section 21. I have seen a colleague taken to the cleaners, £30,000 claimed for allegedly omitting one sheet of the deposit protection information, but come out squeaky clean. Nevertheless it cost him nearly £10k in legal fees and although he was awarded costs he has not seen a penny.
When all is settled please register your tenant on http://www.landlordreferencing.co.uk to try to ensure that no other landlord will offer accommodation.

Gary Nock

13:45 PM, 24th April 2017
About 2 years ago

Mmm. I would contact the ex tenant and ask if they were aware of the claim being made to ensure you were not being scammed. And I would ask said solicitors for evidence they have been instructed and that tenant has authorised disclosure of any information you have about the tenant under Data Protection Act.

Brian Jackson

15:56 PM, 24th April 2017
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Price" at "24/04/2017 - 13:04":

I agree with David Price,
I dont take deposits now and have no problems
Problems arise when deposits are taken.
15 years ago I did take deposits and had lots of bother (this was before all these schemes came in). tenants wanting there deposit back before the end of tenancy (to pay a deposit elsewhere). ugly scenes,threatening behaviour.
Its easier to find a tenant, them not having to find extra funds.
I get more rent because I offer NO deposit.
I also dont have agents anymore (from experience)
If problems arise ( I dont have any) attachment of earnings is there.

I am one very happy landlord.

Gary Nock

16:21 PM, 24th April 2017
About 2 years ago

Not taking deposits works for some and not others. As both a landlord and an agent I take them. It works for my landlords and myself. I have never had a problem in 15 years over 10 of our own properties and 40 managed ones. And if you have rent insurance guarantee, most policies have a condition that you take at least a months rent and a deposit before the signing of the tenancy agreement - otherwise the rent insurance is invalidated.

AA

8:51 AM, 26th April 2017
About 2 years ago

Can I get some clarity here - the tenancy agreement mentioned the deposit protection scheme (which it does not need to) the PI mentions the tenancy deposit scheme. But there is a tenant information pack ( can be as few as 2 pages) which has all the information a tenant needs which is issued along with the PI and of course the certificate. Now if all 3 have been issued there can be no issue as to the error. The certificate would show who it is lodged with, the tenant pack outlines the process and contact details a tenant needs, and the PI is the details of the landlord / when deposit received and lodged/ grounds for deductions. Or am I missing something ?

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