A claims firm operating on a no-win, no-fee basis is claiming an overwhelming success rate for tenants who successfully claim against agents and landlords over tenancy deposit rules.
Bournemouth-based Tenants Deposit Claimline was registered last December and says that 92% of tenants who have filed a claim through it have been successful.
The business does not focus not on whether tenants’ deposits have been correctly protected, but simply on whether the tenants have received the right paperwork in the form of Prescribed Information.
The firm’s website says: “You may be entitled to compensation. You could claim up to three times your deposit on a successful claim.”
The service has a free telephone line and offers a £50 referral fee for leads that convert into business.
It is the first time we have spotted a claims firm operating in this sector, although the firm may well not be the only one.
However, only last week, specialist lawyer Tessa Shepperson advised landlords: “I have heard rumours that tenants are now starting to trawl through the regulations to see if they can find any errors in the Prescribed Information forms so they can prevent evictions taking place, so it is worth taking a bit of trouble over the form.”
Critics say that the law and the way it was written (and then amended) is a pig’s ear – and that it is loaded in favour of tenants, and against the simple principle of common sense.
Case law shows that a number of landlords who acted within the spirit of the law have been caught out simply because of a problem with their paperwork – and sometimes, a problem they didn’t know, and couldn’t have known, existed.
For example, talks are still going on into the recent Superstrike case, and what the implications are for landlords who thought they were only doing what the tenancy deposit schemes told them to – and now find they may have broken the law.
The schemes have still to issue definitive advice to agents and landlords with tenancies that went from fixed to statutory periodic.
In another recent county court case, a possession order was overturned because the landlord’s name and address did not appear on the Prescribed Information. The agent supplied their own details, saying they had simply used the template provided by the TDS.
This particular case has puzzled some experts who wondered how the tenant might have spotted a possible loophole.
Tenants Deposit Claimline is here: