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Refunding a pet payment

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Newbie
Posts: 2

I like property

« on: September 09, 2021, 02:18:07 PM »

The AST agreement started December 2016. It was for a Fixed term of 6 months and then became rolling periodic tenancy to date.

Tenant has been served notice and is leaving this week.

 We allowed her a pet and took a non refundable payment of £200. Wording of the clause in the agreement was that the payment was in respect of cleaning carpets at end of tenancy. We simply banked the money. We also took a deposit in addition, held in a TDS scheme.

Tenant has not paid her full rent this month, as she says she has been advised that the pet Ďdeposití is illegal and we should have repaid it, so has deducted it from her rent,

Iíd appreciate peopleís thoughts on this. Iíve been round the houses with internet research and still unsure of what position to adopt.

Would the pet payment be classed as a prohibited payment under the Tenant Fees Act because it relates to end of tenancy cleaning and such terms are now unenforceable? Or, would it be classed as a deposit and as the agreement dates back to 2016, the TFA doesnít apply.

Many thanks

Accidental Landlord
Jr. Member
Posts: 90

Just trying my best

« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2021, 03:31:18 PM »

I think the change of rule for not charging for a pet clause came in fairly recently, after your AST began and so don't know if your Tenant is right to apply it retrospectively. Currently the rent itself is allowed to be slightly higher by agreement if a pet or pets allowed. You might find info on it in the government's Right To Rent page somewhere on gov.uk if you haven't already checked
Global Moderator
Hero Member
Posts: 4236

Abuse Officer

« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2021, 08:32:31 PM »

To me this sounds like a Tenant who's ready for a scrap.

For £200 I would roll over and move on. You could end up with more angst over this than you currently bargain for. It's a shame the Tenant is acting like this as you both acted in good faith when the agreement was made. It'll make you more wary the next time a Tenant pops up with a pet request and you'll probably do all you can to wriggle out of it... not your fault... once-bitted-twice-shy... this pet-owning Tenant doesn't realise she is likely making it that little bit harder for other pet-owning Tenants.

Rise above it... let her spend the £200 on extra special treats. Don't waste your hours finding a position you feel comfortable with and the finding it gets blown out of the water... if the Tenant is digging heels in to this point (and she has the control - as you don't hold the money you want, she does) then it'll be like getting blood from a stone. You did the right thing - and the fair thing. Looks like you got burned by a pretty terrible Human Being.
Newbie
Posts: 2

I like property

« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2021, 02:20:29 PM »

Thanks for your replies. Yes, the tenant has become pretty hostile generally and I donít think itís worth the scrap over £200 as much as Iíd like to take the point. Itís been frustrating not to be able to find a clear answer.
Hero Member
Posts: 640

I like property

« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2021, 02:35:34 PM »

It's not a prohibited payment. It was a payment required and made before the Tenants Fee Act came in. If as you said, it was paid to be non-refundable, then it's not a deposit (you better hope not, since non protection penalty etc.). It may had been intended to be used at the end of the tenancy, but in reality, it was simply a payment required by the landlord to agree the tenant to have pet.

It would be a prohibited payment if the tenancy agreement requires them at the end of the tenancy now to pay for a pet clean. That clause would had been void made "non-binding" by the TFA, but this payment was required and paid before so it's fine.
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