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Tenants take landlord to court and win £15,000

The Guardian newspaper has given an aggrieved tenant the opportunity to explain how he and other renters took a landlord to court - and won.

Morgan Jones wrote that although he had worked around housing legislation for much of his professional life, he nonetheless worked with a renters’ union - Justice for Tenants - to help bring the case to court.

Justice For Tenants has provided training on enforcement powers to local authorities and sits on steering groups and multi-agency forums in the industry, alongside council licensing and enforcement teams, and sometimes Trading Standards. 

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In his article Jones says that the core of the dispute was over the landlord’s alleged failure to return some £700 of the total deposits paid by the tenants in the property, an HMO, when it was sold by the landlord in 2020.

Upon enquiring, the tenants discovered that the property was neither registered with the local licensing system nor was the deposit protected by being lodged with one of the mandatory protection schemes.

“For the proceedings, we provided various pieces of documentation relating to our tenancy, along with witness statements, and Justice for Tenants did the rest of the legal filings. Other organisations like Flat Justice, Acorn or your local renters’ union will also be able to help you with representation and advice if you think your landlord has been in breach of their obligations” Jones tells readers.

 

He continues: “It is helpful in cases like ours to keep records of a landlord’s bad behaviour – failing to fix appliances, damp, mould, not giving notice for inspections and so on – as these things, although not actionable in themselves, will strengthen the case by indicating the landlord was more broadly not fulfilling their responsibilities.”

He admits that Justice for Tenants operates a no-win no-fee system, effectively making law cases against landlords “straightforward” with the organisation instead taking a share of the fine payment made if the landlord loses.

In this instance the tenants each received £2,350 on an out of court settlement, with Justice for Tenants taking a similar amount.

You can read the article in full here

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    Justice for tenants! If there’s a buck to be made even if you have to scrape it off the bottom of your shoe these bazaar little enterprises appear out of nowhere. They just won’t be happy until we all pack our bags and there’s even less property to let.

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    It sounded like the Landlord had them all on one tenancy agreement with one deposit as they were sharing a house and was caught out on a technicality because there were five of them. The whole article reads like it might have been written by a gloating Nazi smugly reciting how he had used racist laws to rip off a Jewish business. Disgusting.

     
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    Some Landlord stitch-up how can they use words like Justice the don’t know the meaning of the word so this extortion racket is exactly why I don’t take Deposits which was taken away by Shelter in 2007. based on a pack of lies the main driver of the change when they alleged up to 45% of Deposits were withheld by LL’s, it later turned out that less than 2% went to Deposit dispute resolution, what an-unsafe law.
    What other business would be expected to give you back the Deposit plus 3 more Deposits you never had, some farce, so justice, some law.

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    Michael you are so right. You like me avoided the tenancy deposit scheme like the plague. It was so badly drafted yet landlords willingly signed up to it assisted by the NLA who incidentally made over £1 million profit out of the scheme in the first year. The NLA should have encouraged landlords to have boycotted the scheme and still should until the inequities such as being fined four times the deposit for being a day late in protecting the deposit are rectified.

    While we are at it let’s look at the draconian fines for failing to be licensed and rent repayment orders for simply not being licensed and civil penalties. Civil penalties just another word for robbery.

    Jim Haliburton
    The HMODaddy

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    Deposits are a poisoned chalice, so do not take them, increase the rent instead.
    This government will not be happy until all the private landlords are gone and homelessness reaches astronomic levels. No win no fee lawyers are doing a good job on behalf of the government, as are the various tenant support groups.

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    I agree the deposit protection scheme is very heavily skewed in favour of tenants, and that the fines for not complying in time are extortionate/disproportionate. I do still, however, take deposits. The main reason being, is it still does create a psychological belief in a good tenant, that they are expected to pay for their damages. In turn, they look after the property better.

    I know that irresponsible tenants will exploit the system and they know they won’t be held properly accountable - but I don’t let properties out to bad tenants (or at least they are referenced enough to minimise the risk). For the tenants I have, they like where they live and are to some extent house proud, and deposits act as a gentle reminder to look after the property, and clean it properly when they leave.

    As the government continues to strip away accountability for tenants and redress for landlords - the onus is increasingly on us to do good referencing and background checks, and also on the tenants to maintain the best possible profile so that when they are one of dozens of applicants trying to rent a place, they stand out as trustworthy and reliable. Bad tenants are going to find it increasingly tough to find anyone who will take the risk on them as landlords who don’t do proper due diligence will soon be a thing of the past.

  • michael davies

    I dont take a 'Deposit',i take a cash payment equal to 2 months rent and inspect bank statements then after 4weeks living there the tennant then pays 1months rent by DD for the following 4wks .they get a tennancy agreement .no mention of a deposit,take it or leave it!they get rent back in cash when they leave if all ok

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    Thats classed as a deposit and needs to be protected there was clear guidance that you couldnt get round deposit protection by doing this. I would get those deposits protected.

     
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    That would be a deposit then.
    This is why landlords keep getting caught, because they keep breaking the rules.

     
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    You're on thin ice there my friend. Careful otherwise you'll be the next one that we're reading about! That's a deposit in my book, and the max under law is 5 weeks. I suggest you you deal with it now.

     
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    Sounds like you have taken a deposit and in your own mind have justified it, probably why people like justice for tenants will win cases so easily as there are landlords trying to be clever. you are just falling into the trap. Its not that hard, follow the legislation, cross the i's and dot the t's . We take deposits for every property and every tenant.


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    There is no such thing as a Deposit it’s a scam. Why would you take a Deposit just to protect it. Why is this Service being offered to Tenants to mind their money for them for free, the Banks Charge for holding money.
    The idea of taking a Deposit was to protect the Property against Dilapidation’s and un fair wear & tear it not for that anymore. So it’s a scam by Rogue Regulators and Estate Agents who now takes the Deposits on behalf of landlords who is responsible but Landlords never get it. Then they have a Scheme where they puts the Deposit and benefit from it themselves.

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    First and foremost check them out very carefully, then take a deposit (for what use it is) then add a bit on the rent to cover later problems.

  • michael davies

    Your missing the point,the money taken is cash.no problems later!

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    This Landlord was an idiot and paid a heavy and unfair price for being so. If you haven't protected the deposit then don't make deductions for anything other than outstanding rent. Just give it back to them and don't quibble. If he had done that, especially given they had cooperated in moving out when he was selling, then none of that would have happened.

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    "He admits that Justice for Tenants operates a no-win no-fee system, effectively making law cases against landlords “straightforward” with the organisation instead taking a share of the fine payment made if the landlord loses."

    'Justice for Tenants' does not sound like the name of a law firm. Everything else about this smells like lawyers on the make.

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