Does Section 214(4) apply to a lodger?

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    Does Section 214(4) apply to a lodger?

    Hi folks. I had a couple living as lodgers in a spare room in my house for about 6 months. As usual, I didn't see much use in a contract for such a casual let, and we made a really simple verbal agreement. Just the monthly rent, a calendar month notice either way, and a deposit of one month rent. During their stay it became apparent that one of them had serious anger management issues, and was causing quite a lot of damage. In the end, that amounted to more than the deposit, so I didn't give them their deposit back. Eventually they brought a case to County Court, quoting Section 214(4) Housing Act 2004. I was horrified to find out that this allows the court to not only make me give them their deposit back, but up to 4 x the deposit!

    I've had a quick look on the internet, but I can't find out for sure whether this act is applicable to a lodger. Anybody know?

    Thanks for looking!

    #2
    I'm assuming that the case has not yet gone to court, but as it stands, they don't have a leg to stand on.

    You are right, that section of the act does not apply to lodgers and there is no requirement to secure the deposit in one of the official schemes.

    Comment


      #3
      It depends what they're claiming.

      If they're claiming that you had no right to keep their deposit, with the s214 issue as an "as well", they might still have a case, but have no ability to claim the penalty.

      If the lack of protection is all of their claim, it's pretty much a non-starter.
      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).

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        #4
        As long as you were living in the same property and sharing living accommodation continuously for the period of their tenure, then there was no requirement for you to protect their deposit in a scheme and provided you have good evidence of reasonable deductions from their deposit you have nothing to fear.

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          #5
          But next time, use a formal signed agreement, suggest shorter notice period. How on earth can you prove the verbal terms that you'd agreed??
          I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

          Comment


            #6
            You will need to prove they were lodgers by documenting the premises as your actual address where you lived possibly using council tax documents, utility bills, bank statements, DVLA docs etc. If you did not live there then that is a different matter.



            Freedom at the point of zero............

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              #7
              Thanks for all your replies and advice. My fingers are crossed!

              Comment

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