How Safe Is A Tenancy Deposit. Callaways Estate Agent And Letting Agent Brighton And Hove
By: Chris Johnson
How safe is your tenancy deposit?
News has just reached us that a London sales and letting agent has been expelled from the Property Ombudsman scheme, after a complaint about it on the rental side resulted in a £1,600 fine, which has not been paid. Included in this sum is an award of £200 for aggravation, distress and inconvenience experienced by the complainant.
The case concerned a 12 month-tenancy (start date October 2007); the agent had failed to ensure that the deposit was paid into a deposit scheme, thereby breaching obligations both under the Housing Act 2004 and the TPO Code of Practice.
The landlord agreed, in March 2008, to release the tenant on payment of six weeks’ rent. After the tenant moved out, the landlord claimed that the deposit would be forfeited. TPO accepted the landlord’s claim to the agreed six weeks’ rent (of which approximately £900 was still outstanding) but not the right to take the £2,300 deposit.
At the end of the tenancy, the agent, aware that the deposit would not be paid into a deposit protection scheme, released it in full to the landlord, advising that they no longer wished to retain the deposit but that they considered that the landlord was entitled to it.
It is illegal under the legislation to practise as an Estate Agent without being part of a recognised ombudsman scheme. If the deposit had been paid into a deposit scheme as it should have been, it would have resulted in the tenant recovering approximately £1,400 (deposit less agreed rent outstanding).
Callaways Estate & Lettings Agents are members of the ‘The Property Ombudsman’ scheme.
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About the Author
passionate about property along the south coast of the UK. Callaways is an independantly run estate agent and letting agent in Brighton and hove sussex.
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