Tenancy Deposit Claims
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Tenancy Deposit Claims Manchester
In theory, landlord deposits have always been a way for landlords to secure the income from their property against dishonest or careless tenants. If the property becomes damaged, they could take the repair costs out of the deposit. If bills went unpaid, or if the tenant missed a month’s rent, this too could be taken from the deposit, and the tenant would lose it forever.
Unfortunately, some landlords saw deposits – which are typically four weeks’ or two months’ rent – as a way of making extra money. All they would have to do is find some faults in the home, blame the tenant, and they could keep the cash unless the tenant took things through legal channels, which most would not.
That changed in 2007 with the introduction of deposit protection schemes, put in place by the government to protect tenants’ money and ensure landlords didn’t just spend or keep the deposit. The scheme requires landlords to put tenants’ assured shorthold tenancy deposits in one of three deposit protections schemes within 30 days of receiving it. The idea is that if there is a dispute then it is the scheme (not the landlord) that tenants would have to claim money from. Landlords can opt to insure the deposit instead, which is supposed to retain tenants’ protection.
At the start of your tenancy
There are legal obligations on the landlord when they receive a tenant’s deposit as set out in the Housing Act 2004. If any of the following breaches occur then a tenant is entitled claim compensation:
- Failing to protect the deposit within 30 days of receiving it, or simply not protecting the deposit at all.
- Failing to give you confirmation that your deposit has been protected within 30 days of receiving it.
- Failing to keep the deposit protected throughout the tenancy period.
At the end of your tenancy
When your tenancy ends, the landlord will inspect their property and they will be able to make any reasonable deductions for damage – badly soiled carpets, broken windows, damaged woodwork, dirty ovens and so on. They can also reduce your repayment to cover unpaid bills or rent.
However, they will not be allowed to reduce your deposit repayment because of general wear and tear and the effects of time, for example on paintwork, electrical wiring or carpet wear. You’ll probably be expected to leave the property clean to a reasonable standard, but you don’t need to pay for a professional cleaner.
Your tenancy agreement should cover exactly what you will be expected to pay for. Make sure you take photos on the day you move in, especially if you see something that’s damaged.
Even if you have received your deposit in full at the end of the tenancy you can still claim compensation if they failed to protect the deposit during the tenancy.
If the landlord withholds your deposit
Once the inspection is complete, the landlord can decide to pay you all, some or none of your deposit. If you feel like they are being unfair, and you have good grounds to challenge their opinion, you can take it up with the scheme they placed your deposit in.
This is another area where we can help. We have successfully challenged landlords who have attempted to withhold deposits on flimsy grounds. And because we work on a no win, no fee basis, you won’t have to pay a penny unless we successfully recover an agreed amount of deposit you think is due.
You have six years from when you paid your deposit to make your claim and you could be entitled to compensation from 1 to 3 times amount of your deposit.
There are a host of dates, cut-off points and specifications surrounding when the various aspects of the law came in, and what kind of tenancy you have. It can be quite complicated sorting out a claim, which is why it might be in your interest to seek legal advice on making one. We can use our legal expertise in all matters between tenants and landlords to ensure you get your deposit back, as well as any compensation that might be due.
If the case goes to court, we can often have our legal costs added to the landlord’s repayment order and/or compensation, which means you could get 100% or more of your deposit back. Feeling like you might have a case? Give us a call today.
To discuss how we can assist, call our specialist team on 0161 697 5959.