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Why Norwich tenant is powerless to get deposit back despite being owed £830 by landlord

PUBLISHED: 11:50 11 October 2017 | UPDATED: 20:10 11 October 2017

Tom Hall and his girlfriend Cassie Heasley never recieved their deposit of £830 back from renting a flat in Norwich after signing a licence to occupy agreement rather than a shorthold tenancy agreement. Photo: Tom Hall

Tom Hall and his girlfriend Cassie Heasley never recieved their deposit of £830 back from renting a flat in Norwich after signing a licence to occupy agreement rather than a shorthold tenancy agreement. Photo: Tom Hall

Tom Hall

A Norwich tenant is hundreds of pounds out of pocket and is still waiting to get his deposit back almost a year after leaving his flat.

60 St Faith's Lane in Norwich. Photo: Archant 60 St Faith's Lane in Norwich. Photo: Archant

But he is powerless to take any action against his landlord because of the type of agreement he signed.

University of East Anglia student Tom Hall, 23, has not heard from his landlord - Max Estates - since he moved out of his serviced apartment on St Faith’s Lane in the city centre in December 2016.

And he has little chance of getting the £831.50 back through the courts.

Rather than signing a shorthold tenancy agreement, which would mean the landlord had to protect the deposit, he signed something called a licence to occupy which gives tenants fewer rights.

Mr Hall and his girlfriend Cassie Heasley moved into 60 St Faith’s Lane off Prince of Wales Road in mid June 2016.

When they moved out six months later, they were told by Max Estates their deposit would be used for their last month’s rent - but they had already paid their last month’s rent and wanted the deposit back.

He emailed them to get his deposit back for several weeks after leaving, but the last time he heard from Max Estates was December 2016.

“I tried to contact them twice a week for about a month,” the film student said. “They’ve ignored emails since. We just felt completely powerless.”

Tom and Cassie’s story featured on BBC One’s Rip Off Britain on Tuesday which heard from another tenant in Berkshire who had the same problems with Max Estates.

In a thread on website Money Saving Expert other tenants also complained about not getting their deposits back from Max Estates in apartments across the country, including several living in apartments at 60 Faiths Lane.

Max Estates is registered to an office in London but is listed as a dormant company on Companies House.

Its director is London property developer Nicholas Sutton who owns the company with his wife, Ayse Sutton. Mr Sutton is listed as a director of 39 other companies.

The registered owner of 60 St Faith’s Lane is another of Mr Sutton’s companies called Faiths Lane Apartments Ltd.

Max Estates has been contacted for comment.

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