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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Dear JustAnswer Property Lawyer/Solicitor Team,I filed

Customer Question

Dear JustAnswer Property Lawyer/Solicitor Team,I filed deposit of my former tenants late by 10 months and gave them the Prescribed Info late by 10 months (FYI, I realized 10 months later that I did not file the deposit for them. I then immediately filed it and emailed them the Prescribed Info). They moved out after the initial fixed term of 1 year. They asked for substantial compensation on the basis of the law that the court must penalize the landlord for late filing an amount of up to 3x deposit. I did not pay any compensation, but returned their deposit in full (=> full deposit deducted the agreed costs s.a. cleaning, rubbish clearance etc). I asked them for losses and harshness caused by the late filing to compensate them. They quoted on Section 214 of the Housing Act 2004 and demanded the compensation. They took me to court to make me pay them the compensation for my late filing. The case is dealt with by the Small Claim Track Court.I would like to ask you if with the Deregulation Act which came out in March 2015, the Judge could have his discretionary power to decide that I don't have to pay any compensation since there is no losses caused by my late filing (best case) or pay an amount as the judge sees appropriate (and not ".. the court must order me to pay min 1x deposit and max 3x deposit..." as stated in the Section 214).Just FYI, I saw this post from JustAnswer
http://www.justanswer.com/uk-property-law/6v815-landlord-protected-deposit-late-tenants.html
Your lawyer Stuart J wrote ".... Provided you protected the deposit, albeit late, and provided it was done before they issued legal proceedings, then they cannot claim the statutory three times the deposit as compensation.
If, however, they issued proceedings and then you protected the deposit, you stand to lose three times the deposit...."I feel very positive for my case after having read this post. I tried to contact Stuart J at JustAnswer, but he is no longer with JustAnswer. Please could you - any specialist Property Lawyer on this site could help me with my questions.I look forward to hearing from you soonest.
Thank you and Best regards,
Quynh
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.To be clear did you protect the deposit before or after proceedings were issued?Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Alex,
Thank you for your message.
Yes, I filed it ways before the proceeding started. FYI, I filed it 10 late but during the Initial Term of one year contract with a statutory renewal. The tenants moved out upon the end of the Initial Term. Approx 4-5 weeks later/after they moved out, they asked for the compensation. They filed their claim in December. We will have court hearing in May at a Small Claim Track Court
Many thanks.
Best regards,
Quynh
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. You can be sued as it is a legal requirement to protect within 30 days.However a judge may be of the view better late than never. It used to be the case that if a deposit was protected before it went to court, that would be enough. But this is no longer the case.You will need to show the judge the deposit was protected before proceedings and as such may take the view it has been done.The judge has a discretion whether or not to order a penalty as compensation.Can I clairfy anything for you about this today please?Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dear Alex,
Thank you for your message.
When you say "it used to be", which period of time did you refer to, i.e. before which time?I would like to clarify my question to have a more precise answer:
- The Section 214 of Housing Act 2004 says that the Court MUST penalise the landlord for the late filing an amount of min 1x deposit and max 3x deposit. It says "MUST".
- Then it comes the Deregulation Act in May last year.=> 1) Does the Deregulation Act have an impact on the consequence of the Section 214? i.e. if the judge/court is still REQUIRED to penalise the landlord min 1x deposit and max 3x deposit or with the Deregulation Act he has his total discretion whether to penalise at all or if he does want to penalise the landlord, he can order any penalty amount (i.e. below 1x deposit or even more than 3x deposit) if he thinks that it is the appropriate penalty?Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you and Best regards,
Quynh
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
The Judge does have a discretion as to to penalty up to a maximum of x3The Judge may not impose one if they see fit.
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Can I clarify anything else for you Quynh?
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Sorry my last response didnt post.The Judge has a discretion in terms of penalty so range from nothing to x3.So its up to the Judge
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Does that clarify Quynh?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dear Alex,
It is all clear now to me. Thank you very much for your help.
Best regards,
Quynh
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Good luck Quynh
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
If this answers your question could I invite you rate my answer before you leave today.If you don't rate then the site does not pay me for the time I have spent answering your question.Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Alex
Best regards,
Quynh
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Thanks!