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Can't get rental deposit back from Landlord

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  • Can't get rental deposit back from Landlord

    So we need to move house after 2 years and 7 months in this property. We have just found out that our landlord's ex wife is moving in with us with their 8 year old child. She has a key and walked in and told me.

    We have been lead to believe that the place belongs to our landlord but instead actually belongs to his ex-wife. She has told us that she had paid 80% of the costs of the house (shared ownership) The place is a shared ownership property which we weren't aware of until a few months into our tenancy. We think our landlord tried to get around this by writing a contract for lodgers even though he wouldn't live with us (which he eventually did after a year). However he charged us 1200 pounds a month with bills Inc. Great for us at the time. Very tempting in London for sure. However we now realise the bills were included because maybe it was illegal to put the bills in our name as it's a shared ownership property. Does he not need to get permission from the mortgage company and housing association in order to sublet or acquire lodgers?

    The ex wife has told us since she's now been living with us for the past few days that her ex husband had simply put everything in his name. We are starting to believe our landlord has been very crafty.

    Anyway the main issue is that he does not return my email or
    *messages in trying to get the deposit back. There is some damage to the property such as a dog urine stain on the wood floor and the carpet, but these we are dealing with. He has told us that he needs to keep the 1200 pounds for the repairs, that he needs to replace the carpets entirely and also the whole downstairs which has wooden flooring. This seems outrageous to us as we can remove the stains ourselves or with professional help.

    We are currently looking for a new place to live and we could really do with this money. Can anyone give me some legal advice? Can I sue him? Take him to the small claims court? The deposit was not protected. What rights do I have if any?
    Is what my landlord was doing illegal because the property is a shared ownership and the money we were paying I assume is far more than the rent portion?

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    J
    *
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