In March 2019, Addie North’s son and his friends found a property they wanted to move into together through Leaders estate agents. The agent charged each of them a £405.60 deposit to secure the property. At the end of the tenancy, Leaders withheld £350 from the group for council tax and cleaning charges. This was contested with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). However, the TDS only awarded them £75 of the disputed deposit. At this point, Addie consulted Which?, and we identified that the initial deposit had not been registered within the required time.
Under s.213 of the Housing Act 2004, landlords are obligated to protect tenancy deposits with an authorised scheme within 30 days of receiving it. If a landlord fails to meet this, they would be liable to return the full deposit to the tenants and they may be liable for compensation.
We advised Addie to send a formal complaint to Leaders, referencing the late registration of the deposit and her son’s right to compensation. Addie’s son received an offer of £405.60, which he accepted. Michael Cook, group managing director at Leaders Romans Group, said: ‘We are aware of an isolated filing error ... which caused a delay to the deposit protection being processed. ‘We apologise for the inconvenience caused. We take protecting our tenants’ deposits very seriously and we have systems in place to prevent such an error from occurring again.