OpenRent Community

Deposit Rules even though no contract was signed

Hi everyone, was just reaching out for some advice.

So my situation was as follows; I moved into rented accommodation and paid one months deposit in cash to my landlady. Before moving my landlady mentioned several times about writing up a contract for me to sign. As time went on no contract was ever signed and I was busy whilst she was but in the end a contract was never even written up although I mentioned a few times. As time went on it became very stressful living at the property due to the fact that the landlady (live in landlady) would blame me for issues around the house; when most of the time I was working 12 hours a day). As things progressed it got to the point where she would leave dirty things outside my room and to the point that I mentioned that I do not want to live in a place with this going on as it was causing me to much stress. In the end I left the house without notice- but I believe I dont have to give notice as I never signed a contract. As I was leaving my landlady was all fine and I left everything as I found it in perfect condition.

Upon leaving the property my landlady stated that she would return my deposit and asked for me to text my bank details, saying she would send my deposit back once she has found another tenant to rent the room. I have now received messages saying that I should of gave notice by law and that she hasn’t found a tenant so she is a months rent down.

I would like some advice on what to do as I was under the impression that if I didn’t sign a contract I am legally entitled to my deposit even though I didn’t give notice, but even so I left due to the stress I was put under. Could it also be mentioned that she should of put my deposit as part of the governments protection scheme anyway, so she was breaking the law?

Any advice would be grateful

If she didn’t protect the deposit and give you the required notices, you may be able to claim compensation from her…

I would write to get and tell her that she broke the law by not protecting the deposit and ask that she return it to you in full to save her the cost of you taking her to court since she would be liable for your costs as well as compensation of up to three times the deposit.

Thanks for your reply. Was I not supposed to leave any sort of notice before leaving? I didnt sign anything and she was saying that she has now lost out on a months rent etc.

I am not a legal expert, but if she had protected your deposit, you would both have to put your case to the deposit protection scheme and they would adjudicate. The fact that she has not protected your deposit means that you do not have this protection. That had taken away your rights, so you should be eligible for compensation even if you were not eligible to get the deposit returned.

I guess the only question is, do you have anything in writing to prove that it was a deposit? If not, if it were me, would try and get her to put it in writing in some way that she is not returning your deposit, then she has acknowledged that a deposit was paid.

The penalty for not protecting the deposit is up to 3 times the deposit amount (compensation paid to you), plus she would be liable for your legal fees and probably the return of the deposit too. If she has failed to protect it and refuses to return it then I suspect that the penalty would be on the higher end of the scale. She would be stupid not to just return it in the circumstances.

Best bet would be to call Shelter (https://england.shelter.org.uk/get_help) or Citizens Advice (https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-privately/ending-your-tenancy/taking-your-landlord-to-court-if-they-havent-followed-the-deposit-rules/).

There are various no win no fee firms out there who claim to help, but be sceptical about them!!

thanks for your help! I have proof over message that I paid deposit before I came to drop it off to here, before moving in. Also I have just recently sent an email requesting my deposit back due to not having a contract/ notice requirements etc. Also I stated how she was in the wrong for not protecting my deposit.She has not responded in over a week so I am going to call citizens advice then.

You say you had a live-in landlady. So were you renting a room in her private house?

If so, protecting a deposit in a scheme does not apply.

From my understanding if this is your situation you would have to take her to court to get your deposit back.

ok thanks for your reply. its mainly that she is saying that she has lost out on a months rent, but i never had any required notices of leave which i should provide. Also no contract signed, and i left due to the stress she was putting me through.

If there was no contract then surely she no right to keep your deposit. No contract meant you never had the benefits of any rules so why should she. Write and tell her you will take her to the small claims court and maybe phone the CAB.

If you were a lodger, (licensee) then even without a contract, you are required to give reasonable notice, which is usually in line with the payment periods, so if monthly, one month. Given that your only option to reclaim your deposit would be to sue the landlady, I think it is likely that a judge would side with her if you gave no notice at all.

Previous tenants of ours refused to allow viewings in the last month of their AST as stated.

The DPS sided with them. The reason given was that we could not prove we would have found new tenants even if we had been given access as stipulated.

Phone CAB or Shelter shaquille9603.