Tenancy Deposit Protection

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M
Mel Rose
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We used an agent to find tenants for a property in July 2012. Tenancy began on 20th July. Prior to this we completed a certificate that deposit would be held in Deposit Protection Service. Agent asked for my details of DPS account, which I gave, as I've placed deposits there before. I assumed that agent would protect deposit.
However, agent transferred 550 into my bank on 23rd July (rent 450 per month was used to pay commission). Statement sent by email on 6th August that deposit transferred to me as an attachment which I did not open. We continued to believe the bond was protected & that we were okay. Tenancy is due to end 19th January 2013. Tenants found cost of heating prohibitive in our house and so have already moved out and have moved into another property. Their new landlord supplied them with details of scheme and the date protected. Tenants had details of DPS from our agent from certificate of compliance regarding our property, but not date protected. Tenants emailed yesterday asking for details of deposit scheme and date protected of the deposit with our property. We then checked and found that the 550 deposit has been in our account since July.
It was an honest mistake, but now we are concerned about possible action against us. Is it best to immediately protect deposit even though tenants moved out? Or should we return the deposit in cash or cheque asap?
We are happy to release them from contract,return deposit and take over the heating of the property before the contract end date of 19 January 2013. Please advise us urgently and thank you in advance.
15/12/2012 00:00

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