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Monday, March 28, 2011

I’ve Lost My Deposit Dispute

Tip 37: I’ve Lost My Deposit Dispute. What Can I Do?
Let’s say you are a landlord. You have received your decision in the post and you did not win. You are out of pocket and annoyed. What options are open to you? Not much, if I’m honest...
We covered this last week. There are no appeals in the deposit protection dispute system.
Complain to the scheme
There is some mileage in this. If the scheme has genuinely made an error, and they can’t find any way to hide behind their carefully drafted terms and conditions, you might get one of three things:
  1. An apology. Always nice to have
  2. You might persuade the scheme to change their procedures in some way so other landlords don’t suffer the same fate. Definitely worthwhile.
  3. Under certain circumstances, some people have received money. The schemes don’t like to talk about it, but it does happen once in a while. This is not a likely outcome, however, and you will need to construct your argument very carefully.
If you choose to complain, do so in writing, email is best, and try to be polite and objective. The schemes all have a complaints procedure.
Take the tenant to court
Technically, there is nothing to stop you starting a money claim against the tenant after exhausting the deposit dispute process, but you had better have a good answer ready for when the judge asks you why you are not abiding by the adjudication decision. There are some very good reasons, which might include the adjudicator not having all the evidence, or the sum involved being larger than the value of the deposit.
Take the scheme to court
This is not at all advisable under normal circumstances. The schemes are large organisations with deep pockets and skilled legal departments, so you had better know what you are doing. That said, I imagine that that the schemes fulfil the definition of public bodies and so it is probably only a matter of time before someone takes them to judicial review...
Tom Derrett is the Principal of Deposit Claim, an experienced deposit protection adjudicator and an expert on the Deposit Protection Schemes. Tom helps landlords to claim money through the deposit protection schemes.

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Anonymous said...

Don't even bother going to adjudication!
From my experience adjudicators are bias towards tenants, appear to ignore legal documents and are happy to shaft landlords at every opportunity!
The whole system is corrupt and is definitely in need of a judicial review.

Gareth C Thomas said...

Unfortunately I've been through two separate disputes and actually won both of them. Well, I've won from a moral standpoint (I was TOTALLY in the right in both cases) and I've won from a monetary perspective (the whole amount in dispute was finally returned to me)...BUT, I've not won when you consider the time, effort and stress involved in responding to accusations levelled at me by previous tenants.

When they have a dispute and feel aggrieved, you wouldn't believe the dirty tactics they employ when describing the issues to the ADR service. I'm accused of negligence, poor management, lack of control of other tenants living in the property and apparently even pests such as rats, mice and cockroaches are all my fault. As for the damp and humid conditions of the property in which they had to live, that's my fault too (don't people open windows any more?)!

So I agree that a judicial review is long over due and I would also add that any landlord involved in a dispute with a tenant should add the tenant's details to the FREE TO JOIN and use "Landlord Referencing Service" database so as to warn future landlords about the tenant's attitude and litigious nature. No landlord wants to be deeply embroiled in such disputes, especially when they are unwarranted.

Anonymous said...

The scheme is highly biased against landlords -the panel simply ignores evidence and common sense using own procedural rules to block landlords getting fair compensation. The system is prejudicial and corrupt and does not allow appeals or questioning the competency of the staff making decisions. Come on landlord groups -campaign for change!

Anonymous said...

I dont bother taking a deposit now as everyone knows and agrees that this system is unfair towards landlords. I now take a non refundable admin fee so the probably defaulting tenant cant shaft me.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if any of you are old enough to remember the original Mr. Rachman, his alsation dogs and the Harold Wilson Labour government, but this is pure Labour mischief. I always wondered why they didn't just undo wholesale Mrs. Thatcher's Shorthold Tenancy system - which was itself a reaction to the abuses of Harold Wilson's anti-Rachman legislation - but I have discovered that they just undermined it like termites. We have just lost a year's rent and our furniture in what was my parents' house to a very cunning tenant and can we get our deposit back, can we ....

Anonymous said...

MyDeposits is an organisation using a lot of kids who are totally biased towards the tenant. We have won only 1 in 5 disputes and they just ignore vital facts. i am absolutely disgusted with them but of course there is effectively a duopoly for insurance based schemes so its very limited. One supervisor actually described themselves to me as "champions of the tenants"... tosser

Anonymous said...

I think they have changed their tune and now favour landlords. With evidence that the landlord entered the property in a way which broke the tenancy agreement, we moved out. We felt unnerved and scared by this entry. The landlord won our deposit as we moved out early. The reasons why and fact the landlord broke the tenancy agreement werent even mentioned in the adjudication. Such a blow after awful treatment.