Letting agents - Deposit deductions unreasonable
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Rights guide: deposit deductions unreasonable
If you rent your home on an assured short hold tenancy, your letting agent/landlord must put your deposit in a registered tenancy deposit scheme (TDP). They should tell you which TDP they have used within 30 days of receiving your deposit. At the end of your tenancy your deposit should be returned to you within 10 days, minus any agreed deductions.
If the letting agent/landlord has made deductions from your deposit, they should give you a clear breakdown. They cannot deduct money to cover normal wear and tear on the property.
If you have a complaint about the deductions made from your deposit your first step should be to speak to the agent directly. Explain the situation and give them an opportunity to put things right. You may also want to contact your landlord directly and make them aware of your complaint.
Making a complaint
If you are not happy with their response, email the manager of the letting agent via resolver, including copies of relevant documents, correspondence and notes or recordings of any calls. Explain your issue and what you want them to do about it. You may also want to contact your landlord directly and make them aware of your complaint.
Request a copy of your letting agent’s complaints policy and code of conduct and ask for confirmation of who will be handling your complaint. Your agent should respond promptly.
How resolver will help
Resolver will record all your emails and phone calls automatically and for free. At each stage of the process it knows who to escalate your case to within the company and when to do this.
If you are not satisfied
If you are not satisfied with your agent’s response or they don’t resolve the issue within eight weeks your complaint can be sent to the relevant Ombudsman scheme. resolver will remind you when to escalate your case and tell you which scheme to contact.
Your case file will be sent over as a package including copies of all relevant correspondence, supporting documents that you have uploaded and phone calls you have made. You should ask the letting agent’s permission before you send recordings of phone calls.
Is there a deadline for contacting the Ombudsman?
All complaints must be referred to the Property Ombudsman or Property Redress Scheme within six months of receiving your letting agent’s final response. All complaints must be referred to the Ombudsman Service: Property within nine months of your first complaint.
If you do not pay your rent or other fees that are due your letting agent has a legal right to take you to court, even if you have referred your complaint to the Ombudsman. If the agent begins legal action against you the Ombudsman may not be able to continue to investigate your complaint.
Your final option
If the letting agent is a member of Propertymark it is bound by their codes of practice. After receiving a decision from the Ombudsman you can refer the agent to Propertymark who will investigate the agent’s professional conduct and could impose a fine. If the Agent is a member resolver will give you this option automatically.
You may need to fill in a copy of their consumer complaint form and send them a copy of your resolver case file. You should also include a copy of the Ombudsman’s findings and copies of supporting documents.
If you believe your letting agent has acted illegally you can seek legal advice or report them to your local Trading Standards Service.
Complaining about your landlord
If you rent your property directly from a private landlord or a housing association and have a complaint there are some steps you can take.
If you rent your property from your local council, you can report the issue via resolver. Search for your local council on the main menu.
Contact your landlord and make them aware of the problem. If you raise the issue by phone or face-to-face, you should follow this up with a letter or email.
If the problem is not resolved you can make a formal complaint to your landlord. Ask your landlord to provide a copy of their complaints policy if they have one. You should follow the steps set out in the complaints policy.
If your landlord doesn’t resolve the complaint, you can refer your complaint to a ‘designated person’. This could be your MP, a local councillor or a tenant panel. The Housing Ombudsman has information about finding a designated person. See http://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/directory/designated-persons/#.VFuuZL5DARk.
If your landlord doesn’t resolve your complaint within 8 weeks you can contact the Housing Ombudsman. You can report your complaint using the Ombudsman’s online form: http://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/complaint-form/. You can also get advice from the Ombudsman on 0300 111 3000.
The Ombudsman can only deal with complaints relating to members of the scheme. All housing associations are members of the Ombudsman and some private landlords are members.
If you need advice
If you need any assistance or guidance regarding your issue you can contact Citizens Advice on 08444 111 444 or Shelter www.shelter.org.uk.
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