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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I have a rather complex case which involves not only failure

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Hi there!
My name is ***** ***** I have a rather complex case which involves not only failure to keep my deposit in a TDS but also renting rooms in an unlicensed HMO.
Let me start. On the 28th Sep. 2015 I have rented a room in a 5 bedroom house. I was the 6th person to live in the same house, I have paid my landlord £720 rent deposit for which I haven't received any information about where is kept and later (June 2016) I have received the proof that it was not kept in a TDS. My landlord does not (and nor he did) live in the house - he lives somewhere else.
From the 2nd week I have had lots of issues with the other tenants as they were bringing guests despite the house rules, they were very noisy and as I had to study i kept on calling the landlord and telling her that the tenants are refusing to comply to the rules, that it was not what we agreed when I decided to live in her property and so on. As a result, she then offered me to take over the house and be the landlord in her place.
The reason was that she was not able to cope with it, she had to take care of her boy and if I accepted then it would be better for me - she said I would only have to pay some utilities about £100 per month, which would be a huge cost reduction for my budget - and for her because all she has to do is to come by every Friday to collect the rent. All the utilities were to be changed on my name, I was the one on the council tax bill, she was out of the picture. And I have agreed.
As part of our deal, because every tenant paid her a deposit, I was responsible for all the deposits - so if a tenant decides to leave I was the one to refund his deposit. And in the agreement - the tenancy agreement between me and her - we wrote that I shall receive £2400 as my deposit when the tenancy ends. So, in other words, she took all the deposits, I have paid everyone's deposit from my own pocket and I shall be refunded £2400 in the end, for what I have paid to the tenants who left. Also, the £2400 includes my £720 deposit.
And everything went well for her but not for me as I had to pay from my own pocket when a room was not rented. And while Christmas holidays everyone tends to spend time with their family...so I had to pay the empty rooms, it didn't matter that the rooms were empty, which is a normal thing if you ask me.
Now, in June 2016, she served me a 1 month notice. Because I had a tenant who failed to pay rent 8 weeks and he was refusing to leave I went to the Woking Borough Council to seek advice for taking the tenant to the County Court. The Woking Borough Council asked me some questions, and all the sudden it became a big case. It turns out the property i was renting and subletting (in our written agreement the subletting paragraph was completely deleted at my request even though she avoided and she wanted to keep it) it was brought to their attention as being an unlicensed HMO but they didn't had the manpower to come by and verify. I told them everything, I gave them all the names and all the written agreements I have and have had with the tenants, their ID's - everything. Obviously, I showed them the 1 month notice I was served by my landlor and they advised me to ask my landlord where is my £2400 deposit kept and they told me that what I did / me and my landlord was a criminal offence and unless one of us applies for HMO license we could be prosecutted. I had no idea what I was in, I had no idea the house I was renting should have had hmo license. In the end, they decided not to proceede against me as I cooperated with them, gave them even the agreement I have with my landlord.
Anyway, I went back to my landlord, I told him I went to WBC and that she needs to write on my notice where my deposit is kept. At that point things started to go wrong between us, she told me that I should not have went to WBC, that bad things are going to happend and everything will be on me because I disclosed them information (she even told the WBC that she was not aware of my subletting and the reason for noticing me was exactly because she was told I was subletting - which is a lie). She gave me, then, a second notice containing some details about my deposit, but when I tried to verify if my deposit was really there, it came back with nothing. From November 2015 until June 2016 the website shows no deposit was kept there under my name. So, I went back to my landlord and told her I am not leaving the property until i am given a proper notice and that I am going to take her to the small claims court because of the deposits not being kept in a deposit scheme.
My questions are:
1. Is she liable for not keeping my £720 deposit in a deposit scheme?
2. Even though I did not paid her directly the £2400 (which represents all the tenants deposits including mine £720 deposit) but I paid the tenants when they left, wasn't she supposed to keep the money in a deposit scheme?
3.Can I claim my rent back for the first 2 months-unlicensedHMO
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 10 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

What would you like to know about this today please?
Alex

Expert:  Ash replied 10 months ago.

Why did you issue three claims, why was it not one claim?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I have issued 3 claims because I thought there are 3 different cases - first claim for the £720 deposit I paid directly to my landlord, second claim for the £2400 which I did not paid directly to my landlord but to his tenants - and this amount of £2400 contains my deposit as a tenant as well, and the 3rd and last claim is for the 9 weeks of paying rent while the landlord did not had the right of renting it to me as it was already an HMO with no license
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
BTW, I can't call you right now but I would like to talk to you soon regarding my case, even if I have to pay 30-40 quid more
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I would like to know if I really need to pay a solicitor to represent me or if I can carry out the "job" of going to court and representing my self - without a solicitor
Expert:  Ash replied 10 months ago.

Thank you Christian. I will answer your questions below:

1. Is she liable for not keeping my £720 deposit in a deposit scheme?

Yes, because she is the Landlord and therefore are liable.
2. Even though I did not paid her directly the £2400 (which represents all the tenants deposits including mine £720 deposit) but I paid the tenants when they left, wasn't she supposed to keep the money in a deposit scheme?

That does not matter. She was the Landlord at the time
3.Can I claim my rent back for the first 2 months-unlicensedHMO

You can try, but just because it was not licenced does not mean you did not stay there. It would be for the Council to prosecute the Landlord, but I think it may be hard claiming your money back, because there was a contract.

if I really need to pay a solicitor to represent me or if I can carry out the "job" of going to court and representing my self - without a solicitor

If your claim is for £10,000 then it will be a small claim and you dont need representation.

If its a small claim and you pay for a Solicitor, you cant claim these costs back from the other side.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Alex

Expert:  Ash replied 10 months ago.

If this answers your question could I invite you rate my answer 3, 4 or 5 starts before you leave today.

I am only paid for my work on this question if you rate my answer, using the star system at the top of the screen. Please do not forget! Thank you.

Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi Alex! Yes, of course I ll rate you, no problem at all! Just that on my last question I wasn't really interested if I can claim my expenses with the barristers / solicitors but I was interested to know if it is likely or unlikely to win these cases just going to the Court and representing myself without having a barrister or paying for legal advice a solicitor? Thank you
Expert:  Ash replied 10 months ago.

If you can present your arguments and points in a concise matter then yes. Alex

Ash, Solicitor
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Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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