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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Great - thank you! Assistant: Where are you located? It

Resolved Question:

Great - thank you!
Assistant: Where are you located? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: In England. I saw Joshua had answered a similar question hence wanting to contact him.
Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No
Assistant: Anything else you want the solicitor to know before I connect you?
Customer: We purchased a village shop and Post Office in Nov 2012. There were 2 tenants in flats above the Post Office and Shop which we inherited. Our Solicitor did not share the ASTs or agencies holding the deposits with us on purchase. I had to fight to get one back from the agent (whose name was only found out by asking the tenant) and the other deposit was given back by the agency to the tenant and she re-issued it to us. Neither did they advise it has to be put in a DPS.We are now being sued as I received the deposit from the tenant who re-issued it to us was not protected in the deposit protection scheme within 30 days for either the Nov 2012 or May 2013 AST. They are claiming 6xdeposit as there were 2 breaches of the deposit not being put in a scheme. Please note that I only received the deposit once from the tenant.I am not a professional landlady, this was not intentional. I did not realise it had to be protected within 30 days and kept it aside in a savings account so it was safe. Neither did she ever raise this with me as a complaint.We sold the business in Jan 2016. I had the money in the DPS from 2015 at this time and transferred it correctly to the incoming Landlord. The tenant has now received her deposit back in full, but is suing me for 6 times her deposit.Is this correct? Who can act for me Thank you for your help
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

For the avoidance of doubt, do you still own the property in question? I note you say you sold the business in 2016

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
No, we don't own the property anymore - we sold the business and transferred the tenancy as part of the sale. I transferred the tenant's deposit through the DPS to the new landlord.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
The Tenant's deposit was returned in full to her.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Since the sale to the new Landlord.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Is there any response? I have to respond to the claim by Wednesday 20th Sept at 4pm.
Thanks
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Thank you. I am sorry for the delay in reverting to you - I have been stuck on a series of long phone calls this morning. From what you say the claim the tenant has made against you was made after you sold the property. I am almost certain this is the case from what you say but can you confirm for the avoidance of any doubt?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thanks for coming back to me. Yes - the claim has been made after we sold the property. We sold the property in January 2016 and the claim against us was issued in August 2017.It is a retrospective claim from Nov 2012 when we purchased the property. Our solicitor failed to give us the correct legal advice regarding the tenancies and the transfer of deposits - in fact he gave us no information including the existing ASTs, the Agent for each of the flats and neither did I receive notification of who held the deposit for each tenant, the amount of the deposit, which scheme it was in and how it was to be transferred to me. I believe they were negligent in the advice given to me.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Thank you. Final question - do you know when that tenant moved out or is she still in the property as a tenant?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
She has moved out of the property and has got her deposit back in full.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Do you know when she moved out - even roughly?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
It would have been after April 2017. I could probably find out if needed?
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Thats fine thank you. The tenants claim is misconceived. Her claim, if she has one will be as against your buyer who took over as landlord not you. s214 Housing Act provides among other things to provisions (emphasis added):

The court must, as it thinks fit, either—

214 3(a)order the person who appears to the court to be holding the deposit to repay it to the applicant

214 (3A)The court must 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

From what you say you are not the landlord of the property as you have sold it. You are a former landlord of the property, and may or may not have been the landlord at the time of the alleged breach, but the court only has power to make "the landlord" pay the compensation. There is no power for the court to make a former landlord of the property to pay compensation. The court can order the person that holds the deposit to pay it back which could be someone other than the current landlord but this doesn't apply here as she has had the deposit returned.

Accordingly you can consider entering a defence that the claim discloses no merit or ground for a claim against youas you are not the landlord of the property and s214(3A) does not apply to you. If she has a claim it should be directed to the landlord of the property.

Does the above answer all your questions? If it does, I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating for my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Oh wow!!! Thank you so much. Is it possible for me to pay you to draft a letter to the claim from Johnson and Boon to get rid of them which states this or do you know someone who can?
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

If you could kindly confirm your email I will drop you a line.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Thank you. I will drop you an email in the next few minutes. If you have no further questions for now on the above I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click a rating to rate my service to you today. I am very grateful to receive any feedback.

Joshua and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thank you very much. 5 stars!
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 months ago.

Many thanks