Landlord refusing to return overpaid rent

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    Landlord refusing to return overpaid rent

    Hi all,
    I’m looking for some advice as to where I stand legally. Morally is irrelevant as the landlord has no morals.

    I have been a tenant for 8.5 years. Private rent £1600, no benefits, never missed a payment. Each year in May I signed a new tenancy for 12 months. This year in March I told the landlord I wouldn’t be renewing the tenancy as I was buying house. Unfortunately this didn’t complete by May and the landlord insisted I sign a new 1 year tenancy but assured me he would release me from the tenancy if a new tenant was found.
    In September I gave notice and actually vacated the property early November. A tenant had been found and was due to move in early December. On 28th November, when the next month’s rent was due the landlord insisted I pay the full amount and said he would return the prorated rent to means so I paid it. The new tenant moved in yesterday, 6th December so I should only be paying for 8 days (28 Nov - 5 Dec). The landlord is now refusing to return the balance of the rent and saying he will make deductions from it. There is already £1600 held in a tenancy deposit scheme.
    I have repeatedly told him he is not to make deductions from the overpaid rent but is to return that in full and make deductions from the deposit. These are minimal. After 8.5 years the majority of issues are wear and tear - carpets need replacing, kitchen cupboards are peeling, etc. Prior to moving out he insisted that I redecorate the entire house. I had agreed to put back the rooms I had decorated but he also insisted on rooms I had not decorated so this was for wear and tear to the original paintwork. I did it as I just wanted to get out. This was at my own cost.

    There have been numerous nasty messages back and forth for the last 2 days. I am even considering going to the property and telling the new tenant that I also live there as I am paid up until the end of the month. I have not been advised of a check out nor invited to attend one.

    Can someone tell me legally where I stand. I am more than happy to pursue this through the court and claim back costs. In fact, I would look forward to it.

    He has told me that he has concerns about me being so “desperate” for the money. I know that he knows his claims will not stand up with the tenancy deposit scheme and so is wanting to keep my overpaid rent. I am a single parent who is now looking at financial hardship with over £1100 owing to me. So yes, I am desperate.

    #2
    At the point that you signed the new tenancy this year, which you didn't have to do, you shot yourself in the foot.

    I would find a solicitor and make the claim(s) you need to against the landlord for the overpaid rent and your deposit.
    It's going to be quite a complex claim because it will be determined by a legal decision about when the tenancy actually ended.

    I'm really sorry, but when you agreed to the new tenancy, the situation got a whole lot worse and a lot of what will need to be done now will be to fix the damage created at that point.
    You should get what you want in the long term, but you have made things much worse than they needed to be.

    Don't do anything with the new tenant or the property, that would make the situation considerably worse.
    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


      #3
      Greedy landlord is wanting Decembers rent for the property twice.

      He should not have let the new tenant in if he is wanting to keep your December rent.

      Either he accepts that you have left so don't owe anymore rent after December 6th so he can relet it, or it's yours until your rent runs out and he can't relet it until then.

      Do not contact the new tenant at all, this matter is between you and the landlord it's nothing to do with the new tenant.
      Contacting the new tenant will achieve nothing except to make things more complicated. (and acrimoniuos).

      Your problem is that it's all "assured me he would", "landlord insisted", "said he would".

      You need to either agree on when your tenancy actually ended or get a court judgement, then go from there.
      And the LL cannot insist that you still have the tenancy of the property after the 6th if he's let it to someone else.
      If he tried to argue that one in court it would not go well for him.

      Comment


        #4
        a) And you "decorated" someone else's property without consent I presume???
        b) Was this surrender agreement in writing? Normally rent is not refunded pro rata without a specific agreement/deed.
        c) Was the supposed advance agreement to release you from a 1 year tenancy agreement in writing together with the terms of that -- you seem to have avoided paying a lot of rent and are now complaining.

        There is no particular right to pay half a month of rent, and your termination of contract would have incurred costs - if I offered a surrender based on pro-rata part month of rent (which I do as it helps tenants), this would certainly be on condition that the tenant not dispute obvious required deposit deductions which are merited (if any) and these should be agreed before any unusual termination of tenancy is allowed to proceed.

        Overall I think you are being cheeky (and the landlord has not handled your termination at all well either, albeit having saved you money)

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
          a) And you "decorated" someone else's property without consent I presume???
          b) Was this surrender agreement in writing? Normally rent is not refunded pro rata without a specific agreement/deed.
          c) Was the supposed advance agreement to release you from a 1 year tenancy agreement in writing together with the terms of that -- you seem to have avoided paying a lot of rent and are now complaining.

          There is no particular right to pay half a month of rent, and your termination of contract would have incurred costs - if I offered a surrender based on pro-rata part month of rent (which I do as it helps tenants), this would certainly be on condition that the tenant not dispute obvious required deposit deductions which are merited (if any) and these should be agreed before any unusual termination of tenancy is allowed to proceed.

          Overall I think you are being cheeky (and the landlord has not handled your termination at all well either, albeit having saved you money)
          A) permission given to redecorate in the proviso that I return to original (magnolia walls) which I did.
          B) landlord agreed in writing that my tenancy ends the day before new tenants move in (December 5th)
          C) landlord agreed in writing that I would be released from tenancy when new tenants moved in. They have.

          How exactly is there no right to return my excess rent? He has received a full month from me and agreed that my tenancy ended when new tenants move in. They will have started paying rent from 6 December. He now has 2 lots of rent payments for Dec 6 - 28.
          He agreed, in writing, that he would return prorated rent from date new tenant moved in.
          I have no problem at all with deductions being made from the deposit - this is as it should be and take responsibility for any issues that are my fault (a cracked kitchen splashback for instance). However, I do not accept that he is threatening to charge me for the replacement carpets (out of my excess rent, not deposit) for a property in which I lived with my family for 8.5 years. This is wear and tear.

          How is it being cheeky to expect excess rent returned??

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by TenantOnTheEdge View Post
            How is it being cheeky to expect excess rent returned??
            Its not cheeky, it’s just that most tenancy agreements don’t allow for it and contain no mechanism for returning/rebating rent paid in advance.

            In your case, however…
            He agreed, in writing, that he would return prorated rent from date new tenant moved in.
            I think you’re right about the carpets as well.

            However the last 12 month agreement you signed really complicates things and you should get some expert advice.
            When you agree a fixed term, you’re bound by it, you can’t serve notice during it, and there’s an argument it affects notice previously served.
            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
              You are right that rent and deposit are separate.

              Having an agreement in writing RE: refund of rent pro-rata makes a difference. Assuming that this agreement is clear enough to stand up in court, I would send the LL a Letter Before Claim* indicating that you will be commencing legal proceedings in the County Court. Followed by MCOL claim after 14 days.

              * some of the wording is significant ; find a suitable template online
              There is a fine line between irony and stupidity. If I say something absurd please assume that I am being facetious.

              Comment


                #8
                If it was agreed in writing without any reservations such as linking to repairs and so on (lucky you to be able to break a long term tenancy at a random point mid month without any penalty) then surely it is straightforward. You take the matter to court and you will win and you will get you pro-rata rent back.

                Somehow I strongly suspect we are not hearing the full story here. Numerous nasty messages going back and forward for a month and so on..... What were these about? This does NOT sound like parties who have come to an amicable agreement to abruptly terminate an ongoing tenancy.

                Comment


                  #9
                  It sounds to me like parties who HAVE come to an amicable agreement to terminate a tenancy but then one of them has gone back on their word...
                  Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                    Its not cheeky, it’s just that most tenancy agreements don’t allow for it and contain no mechanism for returning/rebating rent paid in advance.

                    However the last 12 month agreement you signed really complicates things and you should get some expert advice.
                    When you agree a fixed term, you’re bound by it, you can’t serve notice during it, and there’s an argument it affects notice previously served.
                    Surely there was an offer to surrender which was accepted by the landlord?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Jon66 View Post

                      Surely there was an offer to surrender which was accepted by the landlord?
                      It would also have to be signed and executed as a deed. I'm not sure invalid agreements should be accepted by a court - the whole point of a deed is that contracts without consideration need extra special security (against fraud, falsification, and so on).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        If the landlord agreed in writing that the tenancy would end on a specific date and he has a new tenant in place, then he must return the overpaid rent and he has no right to make deductions from it. That's the legal position and you should write him a Letter Before Action to this effect and tell him that unless he returns the overpaid rent by a given deadline, you may take legal action without further recourse to him to recover the funds.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I agree, and terms agreed also over rent refund
                          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


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
                            Surely there was an offer to surrender which was accepted by the landlord?
                            There may have been, but that's not what the OP said happened.
                            Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                            It would also have to be signed and executed as a deed. I'm not sure invalid agreements should be accepted by a court - the whole point of a deed is that contracts without consideration need extra special security (against fraud, falsification, and so on).
                            A deed is useful, but it's not essential, you can have a surrender without one.

                            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
                              Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                              If it was agreed in writing without any reservations such as linking to repairs and so on (lucky you to be able to break a long term tenancy at a random point mid month without any penalty) then surely it is straightforward. You take the matter to court and you will win and you will get you pro-rata rent back.

                              Somehow I strongly suspect we are not hearing the full story here. Numerous nasty messages going back and forward for a month and so on..... What were these about? This does NOT sound like parties who have come to an amicable agreement to abruptly terminate an ongoing tenancy.
                              The numerous nasty messages were him telling me I have to redecorate the entire house - which I did at my own cost, even though the original agreement was that I would only have to make good the 2 bedrooms I had previously decorated (with permission). Him telling me I’m liable for the entire carpet replacement - which I don’t accept as I was there for 8.5 years and this is wear and tear, and him demanding I pay his agency fees for a year for the new tenant - which I refused but agreed to pay them until May when my tenancy would have ended.
                              He is also receiving £250pcm (£1850) more than I was paying.

                              Comment

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