We sometimes get asked about the apparent arbitrariness of judges when it comes to ordering the release of the deposit when making an order for possession based on rental arrears. Some judges make orders along the lines of “All or any deposit monies paid by the Defendant to the Claimant be credited to and set off against judgment debt together with any costs outstanding”. Others refuse to deal with the deposit at all and say that it is a matter for the relevant deposit protection scheme despite the landlord/landlord’s representatives making submissions requesting an order such as the above.
The fact that the judge does not make reference to the deposit in the order does not stop the landlord from claiming the deposit as payment towards any judgment for arrears, interest and legal costs obtained, however you will have to follow the prescribed process that is required under the rules for each scheme. For example, the DPS requires landlords to make a single claim and obtain a statutory declaration before they agree to the release of the money to the landlord. It is therefore important for agents to familiarise themselves with the rules of the scheme that they are registered with when advising landlords on how to proceed.
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