Small Claims Court Win

Hi all,

Just wanted to share my recent experience with a Landlord ( who was never in fact my Landlord! ) and his decision to illegally with hold £650 of my money for nine months.

I had a flat held for four days, over one weekend, baring in mind nobody had been seriously interested in the flat before or after me. I couldn’t move due to unforeseen personal circumstance. However, I had paid £650 as a security deposit. I hadn’t signed a contract. Like I say, it was only for days and nobody else was interested. After I backed out, the Landlord changed the flat in to a holiday air BnB and was fully booked.

I contacted the man and apologized, also said I was willing to forfeit an admin fee or even 50% of the deposit. The man flatly refused and threatened to sue me for the full six months rent, claiming I was legally responsible for this. I tried to ask for some of my money back and because of this he tried to frighten me out of it.

I did say I would go through the small claims court but I don’t think he believed me. When he got the letter from them, he kept defending everything and saying I was in the wrong and he had been as reasonble as possible.

Anyway, much to his fury, I won the case which was really stressful to have been put through, and I was awarded 500 of my 650 back. Security deposits are only applicable once the tenant has taken possession of the property. In this case, a holding deposit was applicable. By law this can only be equivalent to one week’s rent, so in my case, 150. So I lost that, but as I had said from the beginning, I did expect some penalty just not 650.

The man was an entitled bully and he still doesn’t think he did anything wrong! He was ordered to pay it back within 14 days and left it until the very last day out of spite. Still, at least I won and stood up to a bully. It really is worth going through the small claims court if you need to and fairly straightforward.



You should have sued him for a penalty for non-protection of the security deposit. You may have been awarded 3x the value of the deposit plus the original.

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Good for you. Landlords like that give the rest of us a bad name.


Hi David

For that I would have had to have actually been a tenant and my stance was that I never actually entered into a tenancy with the man

Thanks for your input though. I’m sure others facing rogue landlords who have made the mistake to actually move in will find that information useful :+1:

Cheers Emma

Thank you for your support Steve

Did you get legal opinion on that point, because I’m not sure that the Act precludes your situation. It defines a security deposit as “money intended to be held (by the landlord or otherwise) as security…”. The Tenant Fees Act later defines a tenant as including “a person who proposes to be a tenant under a tenancy”.

I’m not sure this would add up to a case and it might need a clever solicitor to make it stick, but its interesting to speculate. This isn’t intended as a criticism in any way as you’ve done well, just really idle musing on my part.

Well done Emma. Some of my previous tenants have told me of poor experiences like this but never had the oomph to do something about it. Very pleased that you did and won!

Thanks so much. It was really stressful to have had to take it to court but the man wouldn’t budge. It was so worth it to stand up to such unreasonable greed

Hmm maybe, I don’t know. I was just relieved to be awarded most of my own money back, which is all I wanted and clearly was entitled to. Speaking of entitlement, I don’t think the guy boxed very cleverly, and the judge certainly wasn’t impressed by his attitude throughout