The great deposit rip-off

by Suw on October 23, 2003

Although my mind was on other things, yesterday I got my court papers filed against my ex-landlord. I'm claiming back my desposit and court fees, totalling almost ?800. Hopefully I'll get a positive judgement on this, as I really don't think it's fair for a landlord to retain a deposit just because they think you haven't cleaned thoroughly enough. And I actually did clean thoroughly – it's just a difference of opinion, not a case of any actual damage to the property.

Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureau have launched a campaign to end this kind of rip-off (press release). According to them, ?790 million is held as rent deposits by landlords and one in five private tenants belives that the deposit was kept without good reason at the end of the tenancy, and they are “calling for a national tenancy deposit scheme to protect tenants money to be included in the forthcoming Housing Bill”.

I'm not one for public calls to arms, but I do think it's scandalous that landlords should be able to get away with stealing hundreds of pounds from tenants like me, with little or no recourse. Ok, so you can go to the courts, as I've done, but that's no guarantee of anything. Even if the courts find in my favour, my landlord can simply refuse to pay, forcing me to take further legal action at my own expense to recover the funds. Ultimately, I still might not get my money back and there would be nothing I could do about it.

There simply must be legal protection for deposits which defines exactly what landlord can and can't do with the money, and it's disgraceful that this isn't part of the upcoming Housing Bill already.

So, take a moment to email to your local MP and demand that the government include statutory regulation in the forthcoming bill.

UPDATE: Shelter fixed the link, so there's no excuse -it's just a little form to fill in, and the web site does the rest. Won't even take you a minute, so give your support now!

A visitor October 23, 2003 at 8:29 pm

Remember the New York City strategy for next time: when you pay your last month's rent, subtract the deposit.


A visitor October 23, 2003 at 8:32 pm

Oh, and always take a batch of colour photos of the flat just before you leave.


Suw October 25, 2003 at 11:00 pm

Not a bad tactic, Atlantic, and one I've used in the past. This time circumstances didn't allow, which is about bleedin' typical really.

A visitor December 25, 2003 at 6:22 pm

Maybe you want to organize a tenant association?

I added a link to a nice concise guide I found.

Tenant Association

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