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Lodger deposit dispute - who is in the right?

Started by BrightonBam, March 03, 2024, 02:04:40 PM

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I am in a bit of a difficult situation and I was hoping for some outside perspective. Sorry for the way it has been written - I am trying to be as neutral as possible! Here is the situation I am currently in:

Live in landlord gets a lodger. Landlord creates contract and both sign. Lodger sends deposit which is worth one months rent to the landlord via bank transfer. The contract states there is a fixed term and one months notice can only be given after 1 March. However, another part of the contract says one months notice can be given "at any time". This clause was included by mistake.

Lodger gives notice at beginning of February but landlord points out the contract is for a fixed term and that unless they can find a new lodger the contract sticks and notice can only be given after 1 March as per the fixed term. Lodger claims the "at any time" clause is a break clause which they are exercising. Lodger leaves on 1 March anyway without a replacement lodger and is demanding the deposit is returned. Landlord is withholding deposit to cover rent for the month of March. Lodger has sent a "letter before action" notice to the landlord.

Who do you think is in the right in this situation?

Thank you!


Quote from: BrightonBam on March 03, 2024, 02:04:40 PMWho do you think is in the right in this situation?

The lodger is right. The landlord is wrong.

The landlord should return the deposit and should ensure that they create non-contradictory contracts in future.


The lodger. The contract is supplied by the landlord and, if there is any conflict or uncertainty, it should be interpreted against the person who provided the contract.

Moreover, fixed term contracts aren't appropriate for a lodger agreement - they're informal arrangements. And it's a house share with the landlord, and the landlord wouldn't tolerate someone living there if they proved to be unsuitable / unacceptable to the landlord, regardless of the fixed term.


Thank you both. I appreciate you taking the time to reply!