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Monday, November 08, 2010

Tips On Tenancy Deposit Disputes 19: Deadlines

Tip 19: Deadlines
A typical dispute can be divided into several stages. At each stage of the process either you or the tenant has to communicate with the deposit protection scheme, usually to return a form, send in evidence or give some kind of consent in writing. At each stage where you are required to act, you will be given a deadline by which you must respond.
In truth, some deadlines do have a degree of flexibility to them, and if you have a genuine reason for needing an extension it is worth asking your scheme if they are prepared to grant you one. Some deadlines, however, are set by government legislation and the schemes have no power to vary them at all. If you are told this is the case, failure to meet the deadline will usually result in your claim failing.
When you are asked for evidence to support your claim, make sure you send it all in. Your scheme may give you an itemised receipt for your evidence. It is definitely worth checking that all the evidence you think you sent appears on the receipt. If something is missing, or you discover some extra evidence, send it in straight away. If your evidence gets to your file before the decision is made, it will probably [but not necessarily] be accepted by the adjudicator. Evidence that arrives late is not likely to be considered.
Tom Derrett is the Principal of Deposit Claim, an ex-adjudicator and an expert on the Deposit Protection Schemes.

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Jo King said...

Helpful info. However, I have just been helping a young couple negotiate some of their deposit back from the Landlord as they were unfairly being asked to pay for a brand new carpet due to one slight stain when they left a property after 3 years, the carpet already being stained and used (as noted on the Inventory) when they moved in. They offered to contribute to the cost but this was refused by Landlord's agent so they raised the dispute as soon as the Agent submitted their claim to the TDS. The Agent failed to submit their evidence within the following 2wks and so the TDS awarded the full amount disputed to the Tenants - as per the rules. However, a few days after being advised by the TDS that the money was being paid to them, the Agent sent an email to the Tenants saying they were taking them to Small Claims Court! This seems wholley unfair and it almost seems a deliberate attempt by the Agent to avoid using the TDS.

Tom Derrett said...

Hi Jo.

On the face of it, that does seem unreasonable of the agent and I will be very surprised if the court is prepared to hear the issue. The matter is essentially one of contract, and both parties have contracted to be bound by the TDS dispute process. If you look up the TDS rules, 7.4 states:

"If the parties do agree that the dispute should be resolved by the ICE, they must accept his decision as final and binding."

Unless the damage ran to costs well in excess of the deposit, I think a district judge would be pretty unlikely to look at a matter that has already been resolved by an accepted process.

I would be fascinated to know how the tenants get on. Please stay in touch.