Here is a blog clinic item from some international students in distress
My flatmates and I are international students and we rented a flat (with all the bills inclusive in the rent) from September 2010 and the tenancy was supposed to end in July 2011. Due to our landlord not paying gas and internet bills, we were evicted and has to vacate the property by the end of March as the property was to be taken away. The agent was our personal contact and she promised to return our deposit at the end of April. And now it’s already June, she still hasn’t return the deposit.
We tried contacting her but our calls were not returned /answered and text messages were rarely replied. She made a lot of excuses of being away and not being able to do the payment. This apparently has always been the case for the past few weeks. With a lot of effort in contacting her, we told her that we would report to the relevant authorities if she does not return our calls and deposit within that week. With that, we managed to get a reply from her saying that she had already made the payment at the very same day and it would take 4 working days for the payment to be deposited into our accounts. Now it has been one week and we still have not receive the deposit. We haven’t been able to get in contact with her ever since.
We didn’t know that there would be a scheme to protect our deposit as we are first year students and this is our first time coming to UK. At the beginning of our tenancy, we didn’t receive any form from the her since she also didn’t inform us about this scheme. All we have is the receipt of us transferring our deposit through internet banking in September last year.
Please advice on this matter. Will it be possible if we report it to the police? And are there any chances that we could get our deposit back?
I am sorry you have had such a bad experience in your first time in England. Your landlord should have placed this in a tenancy deposit scheme but clearly did not. Unfortunately the penalty which was supposed to apply is no longer available for people in your position but you can still sue the landlord and the agent for the money through the money claims online service in the County Court.
Although if your landlord and agent are in financial difficulties (which sounds likely from what you say) it may prove impossible to actually recover the money.
I agree that this is a very far from satisfactory situation and is something the tenancy deposit scheme was designed to protect. The Police I am afraid will be unlikely to help you. However you may be able to get some assistance from the Citizens Advice Bureau or Shelter.
My feeling however is that you are not going to see this money again. I am sorry.