Can LL seek compensation for unpaid rent if tenancy was ended over text message?

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    Can LL seek compensation for unpaid rent if tenancy was ended over text message?

    Sorry if this isn't the right place to post. Desperate for any input on the situation I'm in.

    I ended my tenancy early. On the 1st of April I sent my landlord a text message stating that I'd 'transfer [April's] rent' to him, and that it would be my last month spent in the room. I initially said I'd be moving out at the end of April, but was able to collect my things and leave the room in a good condition on the 5th. I transferred the rent and updated him on what I'd be doing for the next few days.

    On the 3rd I told him I'd be collecting on the 5th, he said 'that's fine' and didn't ask me to find another tenant or anything. Cleared out the room, he texted me to leave the keys on the bed and it'd be collected by an associate. I did this.

    My contract states in order to end the tenancy I must 'give the Association at least four weeks notice in writing when the tenant wishes to end the Tenancy'. I do not have this 4 weeks notice in a written letter form. I do however have it written in my text messages. I've been seeing mixed opinions on whether texts can be used as legal evidence.

    A Shelter advisor told me that ultimately it is all up to the Judge. I mainly want to know whether if he were to file compensation for due rent, if the text messages we exchanged would be enough to defend me. Essentially any correspondences we had during my time there was done over text message.

    After two months of him dodging my questions about when he'd return however much of the deposit I was due, I found out that he hadn't protected my deposit in a TDP scheme (I have an AST, despite him trying to call it a 'tenancy agreement which is a property licence'). Every advisor I've consulted has told me it's an AST.

    I wanted to dispute his claims that it cost my full deposit (£780) to fill two nail sized holes in the wall, remove the chain lock I installed and paint the door and two walls where I had placed 2 posters. Of course, no TDP used means my rights to an ADR were taken from me. I've asked a few decorators in the area for quotes after providing the details he gave me, it's all been in the £350 range, not really close to £780+.

    Appreciate any thoughts.

    TLDR: Can my ex-landlord claim compensation for unpaid rent if my notice to leave was sent over text message (with confirmation he received and replied to the text)?

    #2
    You can apply to your local county court if you think your landlord hasn't used a TDP scheme when they should have. Get legal advice before applying to court. If the court finds your landlord hasn't protected your deposit, it can order the person holding the deposit to repay it to you.

    The court may also order the landlord to pay you up to 3 times the deposit within 14 days of making the order.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by ash72 View Post
      You can apply to your local county court if you think your landlord hasn't used a TDP scheme when they should have. Get legal advice before applying to court. If the court finds your landlord hasn't protected your deposit, it can order the person holding the deposit to repay it to you.

      The court may also order the landlord to pay you up to 3 times the deposit within 14 days of making the order.
      Thanks for the reply. I'm 90% confident on going ahead with filing a claim for unprotected deposit. However I'm afraid that my text message won't suffice as a notice for terminating the tenancy (most people have told me it will hold up in court, but there were a few doubters).

      Comment


        #4
        Please copy & paste https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...om-new-posters
        Dates are important,

        Comment


          #5
          thanks for the heads up

          Q1 –
          Location: London England

          Q2 -
          Room only, I was liable for my rent only in a HMO

          Q3 – TA started 14/09/19

          Q4 – How long was initial fixed term? The TA had 6/12 month AST written on it, I ended up staying 8 months if you include April so I’d go with 12 month fixed term.

          Q5 – Does the TA state that rent is due weekly? Yes. However landlord collected per month at the start of each month. He reused a contract for a housing association with the association part crossed out.

          Q6 – Did the TA require a tenant damage deposit to be paid? No, but I was made to pay one anyways on 14/09/19

          Q8 – Does the landlord live in the same property as the tenant? No he didn’t.

          Comment


            #6
            If the tenancy was an AST and had an initial 12 month term, you are liable for 12 month's rent.
            Your notice would have been invalid however you sent it.

            If the tenancy was an AST and had an initial 6 month term, your notice was probably valid - which the landlord seems to have confirmed by accepting it.

            Your deposit should have been protected either way.

            If your deposit wasn't protected, there's no dispute mechanism available and I would use the small claims court to try and recover any money you feel you are owed.
            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks jpkeates, the only thing on the contract implying an initial 6 month is the ‘6/12 months AST’ written on the front of the contract. There’s no mention of how long the tenancy agreement I signed actually is for anywhere else in the contract (I was under the impression my tenancy would be reviewed at the 6 month mark but nothing happened). In your opinion would I be able to argue a 6 month initial term was part of the contract?

              Comment


                #8
                If there is really no end date on the agreement then I would think that a court is likely to allow the most favourable interpretation for you the tenant

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by youngnotgullible View Post
                  In your opinion would I be able to argue a 6 month initial term was part of the contract?
                  Yes.
                  Sounds like a complete shambles of an agreement.
                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    IMO No. A SPT period can be valid for upto 3 years

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Hey Mariner, sorry I tried searching up what that means but could you clarify what you mean if possible?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Without a specified Fixed Term, the SPT period (duration )can be valid for up to 3 years. Only a Judge can decde.
                        Ii is always best to serve valid NTQ by First Class post and obtain free Cert of Posting from PO Counter,
                        I never let a T serve an NTQ by SMS, (which some have tried)

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Sorry to drag this post up but just discovered the person I thought was my landlord was actually an agent. I really wasn't aware of this. I'm now trying to get the contact details of the actual landlord to discuss this with the correct person.

                          I've seen online that I cannot hold the agent responsible for not protecting my deposit, it's the landlord's responsibility. I feel that maybe the agent has been dishonest to the actual landlord regarding deposits...(based off personal experiences). Does this mean I absolutely cannot go after the agent in this situation?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            What you have seen online is not correct.
                            You can absolutely go after the agent for not protecting a tenancy deposit.

                            The section of the Housing Act 2004 relating to tenancy deposits is explicit about this "references to a landlord or landlords in relation to any shorthold tenancy or tenancies include references to a person or persons acting on his or their behalf in relation to the tenancy or tenancies".

                            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Thank you so much for the information jpkeates, my problem is with the agent I didn’t want to involve anyone else.

                              Comment

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