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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 12293
Experience:  30 years experience in property law.
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David from Glasgow. I rented out my Mum's Flat (87)

Customer Question

Hi... David from Glasgow.
I rented out my Mum's Flat (87) after she need to go into Care.
I'm a Professional Classical Musician and not very business minded.
Therefore, I decided the best way to keep myself right, was to use a Letting Agent to take care of all the 'business' stuff.
I used a company 'Better Homes' and the director is called Shaban.
I picked it at random, it was the nearest letting agent to my Mum's property.
He found a couple ..Jessica and Diego ..I think Diego was a mature student.
They stayed in the property from Sept 2014 til Dec 2015.
On the day they moved in, I was asked by Shaban to come meet the new Tenants.
I think I may have done the wrong thing straight away and gave Jessica my mobile number ..just out of kindness, in case she/they had any trouble..
Well, He (Shaban) must have taken a deposit from them of £700.
I knew nothing of this, as, like I said, I am paying him £50 a month to look after the business side of things..for example, if the Washing Machine went on the blink, they would phone the Better Homes office and not ME.
I transpires that Shaban and not given them the £700 deposit back.
He's claiming that because Diego was a mature Student, they were exempt from paying the Council Tax and is waiting to hear back from Glasgow City Council to make sure that the final letter has a ZERO balance before he will return their £700 deposit.
In the mean time, someone must have given Jessica my home address and they are taking ME to a Small Claims Court to recover the £700.
she wrote..
'Dear *****
OUTSTANDING £700 Deposit
I wanted to let you know out of courtesy that I will be submitting this Summons to the Sheriff Court in Glasgow next week.
Obviously I would rather settle this matter out of court but as I have received no payment following my letter dated 2nd March 2016 I have no choice but to raise a Small Claims action against you.
As mentioned previously as the Landlord you are responsible for ensuring that our deposit is returned to us'
It continues on another page of the Small Claim form.
1 The Defender resides in Glasgow and the property in Question is in Glasgow. Therefore this court has jurisdiction
2. The Defender owes the Pursuer a £700 deposit for her flat tenancy. The Pursuer rented the flat in Glasgow from 22nd September 2014 and paid the Landlord's Agent a £700 deposit
3 The Pursuer moved out on the 5th December 2015 and has been trying ever since to recoup the monies owed.
4 The Pursuer received a cheque for the full amount from the Agent on the 4th Feb 2016 but the cheque was returned by the Pursuer's bank as unpaid.The cheque will be produced if this action is defended.
5. The Pursuer sent a letter to the Defender on Wednesday 2 March 2016 giving the Defender 7 days to pay the monies owed into the Pursuer's bank account or by cheque or the matter would be taken to the Small Claims Court with expenses and interest at 8% added
6. The Defender has refused or delayed to make payment. Accordingly this action is necessary.
I just need to know where I stand please..
Surely in paying the Letting Agent £50 per month it is HIS responsibility to pay back their £700. He and Him alone is the one who holding back the £700 deposit.
In their defense, I don't understand why, he paid the £700 but then the cheque was cancelled. That's strange!
I feel like they have tried to get the money back from Shaban , and now trying to get it from me...
Can anyone help clarify what position I'm in re all this?
David Lyons
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Hi David, I am a solicitor in Scotalnd and will help you with this. The main difficulty here is that agent disclosed your personal details to the tenants. Under Scots law that gives you the status of disclosed principal and liable to the tenants. In future ensure that the agent doesn't release such details. However, the agent ought to have placed the deposit in a deposit scheme. He isn't allowed to retain the deposit in his own account. He has to pay it into a deposit scheme and they pay it back to the tenant at the end of the term. For that reason I fear you have a rogue agent acting for you. Another reason I think this is because the issue of council tax is nothing to do with you or the agent. That is a matter between the tenant and the local authority. All the landlord has to do is tell the local authority when the tenant moves in to the property and when the tenant moves out of the property and possibly show the lease to the local authority. There is no requirement to hold back a deposit pending the local authors issuing a NIL notice. What has happened here is that the agent has been dishonest, he has spent the deposit and refused to pay it back to the tenants and they can now sue you for it. You will have to pay the tenants their deposit back and you will have to try to reclaim the money from the agent. If you don't, the tenants could in fact sue you not just for the deposit but for damages of up to three time the amount of the deposit. That is a law contained in the Regulations that apply to a landlords failure to place the deposit into one of the national deposit schemes. They clearly don't know yet that they have such a remedy but you really don't want to run the risk of them finding out. You will have to pay them and then chase the landlord. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Let me know if I can help you further with this. Can you also remember to leave a positive feedback on the system so that the site credits me for my time. Thanks for using JustAnswer.