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JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 7501
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I rented a property privately, have paid a deposit but didnt

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I rented a property privately, have paid a deposit but didnt get a tenancy agreement. The property owner has not repaid the deposit and is ignoring any contact. Is there anything I can do?
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: I have asked her several time when it will be repaid but as I didnt have a tenency agreement or a receipt of the deposit being paid. I wasnt sure if there was anything I could do. The only thing I have is the payments showing transferred from my bank account to hers
JA: Where is the property located?
Customer: Northan, North Devon
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: The property I was in is currently going through the process of being sold, which is why I had to move out

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I am a qualified lawyer happy to help you today.

The landlord should have protected the property if you rented as a tenant and had an assured shorthold tenancy.

A contract is desirable but even if you did not, the tenancy would be valid as you lived in the property. The landlord should have protected the deposit too in one of 3 schemes. If she did not, she has broken the law and you can sue for 3 times the deposit amount. You should have been given details of the deposit protection scheme.

I would recommend that you send the landlord a formal letter before action to demand payment within 14 days and say that if they do not pay you, you will issue county court proceedings against them. See attached template as an example of what to say. Please let me know if you cannot see the letter which I have uploaded. You will need to tailor this letter to your situation.

You may also want to threaten a report to the local council (who regulate landlords) for failing to return your deposit (and failed to protect it).

You will need to register at so that you are ready to issue the claim in the event they dispute the claim and do not pay you. The website is very user-friendly and you would not need a lawyer to use the money claim site. Claims with a value of under £10,000 are classed as a "small claim", so legal costs are not recoverable and the matter may be dealt with on paper by a Judge, not at a hearing. A hearing may be necessary if the court thinks that oral evidence is required to dispose of the case.

You would claim the sum for the loss, the court issue fee (details of the money claim fees are listed here at page 5: and court interest which is 8% calculated on a daily rate from the date of loss to date of court judgment. The site allows you to calculate the interest and add it to the claim.

If you are on a low income or have low savings (or in receipt of benefits), you can ask the court for a fee remission so you do not have to pay the court issue fee. If this applies, let me know as there is a form to fill in.

If you win then once you have the CCJ from the court the defendant has 14 days to pay in full. If they do not then it gets registered with the credit agencies after 30 days. You can also enforce the CCJ with the county court bailiffs or transfer the debt to the High Court for a small additional fee assuming the total amount owed is at least £600 and you can use the high court enforcement officers who have greater powers than county court bailiffs. The transfer fee is added on to the debt and payable by the defendant.

There are other enforcement methods which I can help with, including bank account freeze, charging order on their property (and then apply to force a sale), application to wind up the company, apply to summons them to court for questioning, all of which can ensure you are actually repaid the money.

You may find they just pay you after receiving the letter before action – hopefully they will want to avoid litigation. If you do not know her address, instruct a tracing agency such as to locate her and give you her full name and address - you can then issue a claim against her.

I hope this helps - if you can please accept the answer and give me a 5 star rating (there should be a button at the top of your screen to do this), I can answer follow up Q&A's at no extra charge and Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

Many thanks,


Customer: replied 4 months ago.
the property was rented directly from the owner and wasnt done through an agent or anything as it was advertised online locally
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
thank you... i shall process all the necessary information this evening ...

Thanks, it would still be an assured shorthold tenancy - doesn't matter whether it was via an agent. The landlord has to abide by the laws including protection of the deposit.

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