Jakob came to Citizens Advice Watford for help because a Letting Agency had failed to return his rental deposit.
Jakob had paid a deposit of over £1,000 for a rental property, which was protected by the Deposit Protection Service. When Jakob came to leave the property, the agent did an inspection, said he was happy with the condition Jakob had left the flat in, and that he would be in touch soon to arrange the return of the deposit. After not hearing from the agent, Jakob called him and was told that if he signed the form on his on-line tenancy account, the deposit would be repaid. The agent was aware that Jakob’s understanding of written English was not good.
Jakob did not receive the repayment. He called the Deposit Protection Service who told Jakob that by signing the form he had in fact given his agreement to the full deposit being given to the landlord. Jakob unsuccessfully tried to call the agent, who then emailed saying that the deposit had been retained because Jakob had left the garden in a mess and additional furniture in the flat. Jakob had video evidence taken at the start and end of the tenancy which contradicted this claim.
We obtained the Letting Agency’s complaints procedure and helped Jakob to write to them setting out his complaint in detail. We referred to their complaints procedure, their failure to follow the Property Ombudsman’s Code of Practice for Residential Letting Agents, and also the advantage taken of Jakob’s vulnerability. The Agency was asked to return the full deposit.
At first the Letting Agency declined to agree to the request, but they then reversed their decision and repaid Jakob the full deposit.
Names have been changed