Landlord withholding deposit - not clear who is responsible

Hi,

I’m looking into this for a friend of mine and would appreciate some feedback.

There is a house with a lease that ended just now. The lease has five names on it. My friend came into the house early last year and the policy at the time was to give the deposit to the outgoing person.

This was done and she has a receipt from one of the named tenants on the lease. She since moved out again at the end of last year on good terms and the landlord told her that she would get her deposit back at the end of the lease term, which is now. I didn’t agree at the time but it was only a few weeks in the difference.

The other tenants who moved in December / January are now also trying to get the landlord to give back the money and he says to get it off the current tenants. I think there is only one person on the lease who is still around. The guy who moved into her room has not given any deposit and also his rent is lower than hers was previously. Now if I was him I certainly would not give her the deposit as she doesn’t even live in the house anymore and the existing lease has expired.

During this time she paid her rent to the original lease tenant and he paid the landlord so she also does not have any rent receipts. Wasn’t there something about being required by law to give receipts? Or because it was a group tenancy contract that there was no requirement for individual receipts?

My question is legally does she have a case against the landlord or the tenant to which she gave the money (who is also trying unsuccessfully to get his deposit back as well as he is leaving the house and is on good terms with my friend). Is it a case that she legally (how? small claims court?) has to follow her friendly ex-housemate for the money and then it’s up to him to follow the landlord?

A very murky situation. Lodge a complaint directly with the PRTB? How does that work when her name was never on the lease?

Note: I agree that in all cases I personally would only ever transfer money directly to the landlord, avoiding a lot of this problem.

Any opinions appreciated.

So the new people in the house won’t stump up their deposits, is that it?

If they won’t because they are nervous about giving it to someone who is not the landlord, then ask the landlord to write a letter stating that this is the arrangement in place - and that they should obtain receipts and check for damage against a checklist included with the letter. (attach letter to the fridge?)

From your post, I think Vicky Pollard would be the person to make sense of this situation rather than the PRTB or small claims court.

EDIT - Though it does sound like a game of pass the parcel. I suppose it just needs to be made clear who exactly your friend made an agreement with with regard her deposit, whether it was verbal or written, and if verbal, what evidence to prove it was made with that person who then will be liable (if brought down the legal route). The landlord only made an agreement with the people on the lease. They are responsible for damage and other terms regarding the deposit etc. Anyway, my brain hurts.