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ReadyLaw, Lawyer
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Experience:  Bar Professional Training Course
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I have a question regarding the return of a deposit. My last

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Good afternoon. I have a question regarding the return of a deposit. My last landlord refuses to return the deposit to me based on the fact that "I have extended my contract by more than 2 weeks". This point is completely unfounded as at no point in the contract does it mention anything regarding an extension limit on the contract, let alone that my deposit may be lost should such an extension occur. It is worth mentioning that it wasn't the landlord herself that contacted me regarding this unfounded decision; her son only let me know about it when I contacted her reminding her to return the deposit. It is obvious that they are trying to scam me. I am due to have a call with her this evening. Given that they have no legal grounds on which they could refuse to return my deposit, my strategy is to listen to whatever they have to say, state that my deposit is currently withheld from me illegally, follow up by saying that I have contacted a lawyer based in the city I used to live in regarding this situation, and that I feel obliged to warn other potential tenants of the landlord's dishonesty. I am hoping that this will effectively scare them into returning my deposit, as given its relatively small value (£210), the costs associated with a potential trial in the small claims court are likely to exceed that amount (especially considering that I am certain they have not used a Deposit Protection Scheme) should they lose. Still, I am wondering whether it would really be financially worth taking the case to court should they still refuse to return my deposit. I need to clarify that I am yet to actually contact a lawyer in the city I lived in; however, I am planning to do so if the situation does not improve and, as such, I am not yet familiar with the associated costs, so could you please tell me a rough estimate of the costs associated with hiring a small claims lawyer and producing any legal documentation? Thank you for your help!
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: The situation took place in Norwich, Norfolk, UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I'm pretty sure that these messages are automated, so let's just say that the first paragraph has a full explanation of what has happened so far.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Only that I am currently a Master's student at Lancaster University, should it be of any help

This is Readylaw, welcome to Just Answer.

I have been a legal expert on the site for several years and my goal is to provide you with the best experience possible and answer any questions which you may have about your current situation. Your satisfaction is my top priority! Please note this site is for general information for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Communicating with an expert on this site does not establish an lawyer-client relationship and it is always in your best interest to retain legal counsel, if you have a current legal matter, that you need help with.

Please allow me a few moments to reply with my initial answer. I am here but need time to read what you shared above, type and respond to you. Feel free to ask any follow up questions as needed until you are satisfied.

I thank you for your enquiry and your patience.

1. I am unable to speak to what a Solicitor may charge is their fees, all Solicitors differ, so it would not be prudent of me to give you a fee. That being said however, bringing a claim in the smalls claims court is something you could do yourself. This would alleviate any solicitor's cost. The only cost that would eb incurred by you, would be the cost for bringing the claim, which is, £308.

If you are successful in bringing the claim, you may ask for this money to be returned to you.

I recommend instituting the claim online by following the below link:

2. you are required to send a letter before instituting proceedings. This letter is called a letter before action. In the letter you must state clearly that you intend to being a claim, your reasons for doing so, and the amount you intend to claim for. You are also required to give them 14 days to respond prior to commencing legal proceedings.

3. If the court finds your landlord has not protected your deposit, it can order them to repay it to you. The court may also order the landlord to pay you up to 3 times the deposit within 14 days of making the order.

It ma very much be worthwhile instituting the proceeding and ask for the landlord to be penalised for not having protected the deposit.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

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