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Tenant making a claim for not protecting deposit

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Author Topic: Tenant making a claim for not protecting deposit  (Read 73 times)
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I like property

« on: May 10, 2022, 10:27:03 AM »

Hi folks,

A tenant from a house we used to rent privately has got a ‘no win, no fee’ solicitor involved and are seeking compensation. The settlement amount is £5000 which we aren’t in a position to pay.

I’ve done a lot of research but wanted some advice specific to our situation please.

The tenant was great when he moved in then stopped paying the rent. We managed to evict him and he still owes is £2800.

Questions I have are,

1) The ‘deposit’ wasn’t a deposit, it was a months rent in advance, which I believe means it doesn’t have to be protected? On the contract it states ‘deposit amount’ but that’s only because the agreement was drafted online via rocket lawyer or similar and I couldn’t change the  wording. Verbally the tenant was told it was a month in advance.

2) There was an issue with sub letting. On the first inspection a friend of tenant had moved into a bedroom. I challenged the tenant and said that his friend would have to leave or become joint tenant. The tenant said that his friend was there because he had no where else to stay and had lent the money for the advanced rental. If it wasn’t the tenants money in the first place, does he have a right to claim?

Tried to do everything by the book, this was our first rental and think it’ll be the last. Feel like I need to instruct a solicitor but any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2022, 12:25:26 PM »

You can't take money that's a Deposit in disguise.

There's even documents stating it was a Deposit... how is that going to stand-up against what you claim was a verbal agreement? It won't.

Any arrears, or sub-letting... or, indeed, anything else that doesn't pertain to the Deposit is going to be irrelevant to the situation. Your point 2 muddies the waters a lot, but it's just verbal stuff... you were paid money by him, ostensibly as this "month of rent in advance"... but doesn't everyone pay rent in advance anyway? Many Landlords, I suspect, have tried the "the deposit wasn't a deposit" approach to wriggle out of a penalty. I doubt it works.

You might need to think hard about this.

What was the £ value of the Deposit? How long was the tenancy, was it just one tenancy or were there renewals? Are there clues as to how the £5,000 suggested settlement figure was reached?
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2022, 01:59:58 PM »

If one took only  a months rent on say 1st.June,and nothing more until July could that count as a deposit?  Does the landlord have receipts or bank statement to prove no other payment was taken other than rent? 
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2022, 06:42:43 PM »

By "months rent in advance" I suspect this wasn't a rent being payable in advance as is normal, but tenant pay e.g. 2 months before tenancy start (X) then a month's rent in X+1 month, another month's rent in X+2 month. While not theoretically impossible, it almost certainly deposit in disguse in almost all cases. In any case, the written contract says deposit vs verbally being told it's rent in advance, guess which one a court will go with.

If the tenant owes you money (which you can prove), you need to either negotiate a settlement that take that into account (e.g. Landlord to pay ex-tenant £Y. Tenant agrees to release Landlord of all liabilities from deposit penalties. Landlord agrees to release Tenant of liabilites from the previously upaid rent etc.) If it goes to court, you would need to countersue for that amount, win that and then have it offset against whatever penalty the court award against you.

2. The tenant always have a right to claim. Whether anyone else does as an alternative would depends.

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