Here is a question to the blog clinic from Andrejs who is a tenant:
I am tenant and renting house from letting agency. Our contract with them is finished and my landlord was unhappy with agency’s work what they did, and she do not want to renew contract with them. But she would like to continue letting for us.
My question is – can we get deposit back while we are still in property? And is there any chance that agency can sue us or landlord an keep our deposit?
Whats the best option would be for us?
The deposit is your money, but you usually don’t get it back until the end of the tenancy, after the property has been inspected. The fact that the agency may no longer be managing the property does not really change this. So you are not entitled to claim the money back before the tenancy ends.
But your landlord is only entitled to keep your deposit if the property has been damaged or if you owe her rent.
I suspect that the agency will be holding the deposit money in a tenancy deposit scheme (although this does not always happen with managed properties). In which case, if the agency’s contract ends, they will either pass the deposit money over to the landlord, or will just carry on holding the deposit while the landlord does everything else.
I have to say however that not all agencies are good and honourable, and it is possible that this agency may not be very good if the landlord is unhappy with them. However even if the agency does not deal with the deposit money properly, if it is still protected, you should be able to make a claim for it direct to the tenancy deposit company.
Or alternatively if the deposit money has not been protected and the agency refuse to hand it over, you can bring a claim against the landlord. She will be responsible to you for the return of the deposit, even if the money was paid to the agents.
What a lot of tenants do though, if they suspect that there will be problems getting their deposit back, is to withhold the last months rent, and tell the landlord to use the deposit money against the rent. This is not something that tenants are supposed to do, but there is no doubt that it does mean that you are not out of pocket.