How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ash Your Own Question
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Type Your Property Law Question Here...
Ash is online now

I found a 1 bedroom flat on Gumtree in London with cheap rent.

This answer was rated:

I found a 1 bedroom flat on Gumtree in London with cheap rent. I took up a 6 month short term tenancy backed by an agreement governed by English Law. The rent was reduced by some 50% with an agreement that both parties could give 2 weeks notice as my landlord had the flat up for sale. My landlord lives in Spain but is a French National. The property is a council right to by. She now permanently resides in Spain. I have her £700 deposit and 1 months rent in advance which is also £700. Notice was served by me on the 30th March with an agreed termination and exit date of 10th April. I have settled all bills and cleaned the property better than the standard I took it over. Landlord did say to me over the phone that the process was that once I handed the keys back to the estate agent, I will get my deposit back in 2 weeks time. Further conversations resulted in her telling me that there was another tenant moving in on the 10th April and that the keys had to be returned to the estate agent by 5pm.
Having spoken to the agent, I have learnt that the property is under offer and moving to exchange of contracts. I am clearly nervous of the situation and have sent the landlord an email explaining that I have met all my obligations and that I will return the keys upon receipt of my deposit. There is nothing in the agreement that states the deposit will be returned 2 weeks post my exit. Also, I have asked for a Tenancy Deposit Certificate which has not been sent to me. All payments have been made by direct bank transfer.
I have not received any response from her though each time we have had a conversation on the phone, she has used aggressive and argumentative behaviour towards me which does lead me to think I will not get my deposit back.
I would like to know what I should do next. One thought is that can I put a second charge on the property before she sells it? Can I go to a small claims court given she is abroad? what is the best advice as she is not a reasonable person to have a conversation with and has not replied back to my email.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : For now please let me know whether the deposit was protected ?
Customer: Hello Alex, I have not received any deposit protection paperwork or any other deposit protection scheme.. Despite asking for this.
Alex Watts : On the tenancy agreement has a UK address been provided? Do you have the address in Spain?
Customer: The tenancy agreement has the rental property address but I have details of her address in Spain and also a French ID picture card of hers...
Alex Watts : Ok.
Alex Watts : You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.
Alex Watts : If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: or by completing form N1 and take it to your local County Court.
Alex Watts : The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.
Alex Watts : If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.
Alex Watts : Once you get judgment you can get a enforcement order in Europe to have it enforced in Spain.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Customer: Do you know the fees involved for a clam and an enforcement order by any chance...?
Alex Watts : Fees here
Alex Watts :
Alex Watts : Does that help?
Customer: Thanks for this information. Finally so you think it is ok to hang onto the keys until I get my deposit back or should I return them to the nominated estate agent as requested...?

Would you advise that I write in the letter that if I have not received payment of outstanding monies, then I shall commence legal proceedings against her at my local County Court..?

Alex Watts :

Yes hand on to the keys until you get it back.

Alex Watts :

You should just say that, you want the deposit back or you are going to issue a claim

Alex Watts :

Does that help?


Thank you very much. This has helped hugely.

Alex Watts :

Happy to help. If I could ask you to rate my answer before you go today please, the button should be at the bottom of the screen

Alex Watts :

If you need more help please click reply

Ash and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you