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LondonlawyerJ
LondonlawyerJ, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
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I am a landlord with a tenants deposit lodged with the deposit

Resolved Question:

I am a landlord with a tenants deposit lodged with the deposit protection service. The tenants left the property damaged and have not returned the keys. The tenants have refused to go through the Alternative Dispute resolution and therefore we need a court order to obtain the deposit to cover some of the repairs to the property.

How do we get a court order and how much will it cost
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.

LondonlawyerJ :

Hello I am a lawyer with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this. Which deposit protection scheme are you with?

Customer:

we are with the Deposit Protection Service

LondonlawyerJ :

Thank you. I will answer today. I hope that is OK.

Customer:

This is the first time I have used this service so can you tell me how it works from now please. Do I cease the chat now and wait for an email from you?

Customer:

Any reply to my reply timed at 10.50

LondonlawyerJ :

Yes. I will answer you today, and you will get an email when i reply.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I can't rate my answer until you have got back to me

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.

Ok so the money is held by DPS and the tenants are refusing to engage with the adjudication scheme. This answer assumes that if the tenant refuses to take part in the adjudication you need to go to court and that in the event of one party refusing/disappearing the other can not bring an unopposed claim to the adjudicator. It may be worth checking this with DPS unless you are sure.
You will need to go to the small claims court. This is part of the County Court and deals with money claims p to £10,000. It is designed to be used without solicitors being involved. Your can start your claim online. If you do then the issue fees will vary according to the value of the claim. Between £500-1,000 it is £60 for 1,000-1,500 it is £70 and for £1500-£3,000 it is £80.00.

Prior to issuing you should send a letter to the tenant setting out the basis of your claim and that you will issue proceedings if he doesn’t agree to you getting the deposit back or to go through the adjudication process within a fixed period (say 14 days). Also tell him you will be seeking to recoup your legal costs in the proceedings from him.
It is (or was until very recently) possible to go through the entire process including have a claim form on screen before paying the fee to issue proceedings. It is possible to print off a copy at that point and you could attach that (non-issued) claim form to your pre action letter for extra impact.
The DPS booklet on disputes contains information on evidence etc that willne relevant to your clam at court. You have already probably read this but here the link anyway. https://www.depositprotection.com/documents/guide-to-deposits-disputes-damages-2013.pdf
You can also claim interest, reasonable expenses and your issue fee for your old tenant. You will not be able to claim back any solicitor’s fees if any. If he doesn’t respond to the court proceedings then there are procedures for obtaining judgement in default of defence which you can then enforce as if it were a judgement after a hearing.
If he responds the court will have your claim and his defence in front of it and will set a date and time for a hearing of the issue and will come to a decision on whether you should succeed in your claim or not.
This link https://www.gov.uk/make-money-claim-online will take you to the site on which you can commence your small claim
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The deposit is £375, what would be the fee in the small claims court for this?

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
£35 if issued online and £50 if you submit a paper form.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for the info so far I have one final question which relates to the small claims court. When I read the "https://www.depositprotection.com/documents/guide-to-deposits-disputes-damages-2013.pdf" pdf I noticed it states that tenants cannot use the small claims procedure to claim against landlords. Does this apply the other way round? (ie Landlords claiming from tenants). Will judgment in our favour be sufficient for the DPS to release the funds to us?

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
I am at court this morning but I will check this when I get home later today.
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
I just tried to send you an answer but for some reason (I think to do with my internet connection) it does not seem to have gone to you. I am heading out for the evening now. Hopefully I will have time to answer you later this evening if not I am afraid it will need to be tomorrow.

I apologise for this.

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
Hello again.

My answer came with some assumptions, one was that you can not use the ADR process without the co-operation of the other side. It might well be a good idea to check this before doing anything else. If you can use it unilaterally then it maybe a good idea to do so. If you can't then you will need to go to the small claims court. The action would be against the tenant and the judgement would be against him personally. However the money in the DPS is his money so I don't see why enforcement of the judgement if necessary can't be against that money.

I can't find the content that you refer to you in your communication perhaps you could point me to the page number and paragraph.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am sorry I copied and pasted the wrong website reference in my previous reply. It should have been: https://www.gov.uk/make-money-claim-online in the subsection "What you cant claim for"

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
Yes that applies to tenants only as the money held in the scheme is still the tenant's money. I don't think this will have any effect on your ability to claim.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok thanks for your latest reply I think were done! I have checked with DPS and you are correct in that you cannot use the ADR process without the consent of both parties so will now go down the legal route to try to obtain redress.


 


Thanks for all your help

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
Good luck with it.
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