Help with lodgers deposit required

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    Help with lodgers deposit required

    Hi,

    Hopefully somebody can help with a query I have. I took in a lodger approximately 2 years ago when I knew I was going to be working away from home quite a bit. I took a months rent as a deposit from them initially with a month rent payable in advance. I was probably a bit naive with my first foray as a landlord and didn't get the lodger to sign an agreement.

    Anyway to cut a long story short after 2 years of poor payment of rent, pawning my tv and general inconvenience I asked the lodger to leave giving him 2 months notice. When he left I deducted half his deposit due to the fact that his room was not clean, he had damaged the fridge and freezer, drilled holes in his wall and a list of other issues.

    Anyway now he is threatening to take me to small claims court for the remainder of his deposit (less than £200). Can anybody give me advice on whether I would be likely to win at SCC? If not and I lose at SCC what costs could I be liable for.

    Any advice would be appreciated

    Thanks

    #2
    Originally posted by smm View Post
    Hi,

    Hopefully somebody can help with a query I have. I took in a lodger approximately 2 years ago when I knew I was going to be working away from home quite a bit. I took a months rent as a deposit from them initially with a month rent payable in advance. I was probably a bit naive with my first foray as a landlord and didn't get the lodger to sign an agreement.
    On the contrary, I think you did rather well in taking a deposit and a month's rent in advance! (There are many who fail at this first hurdle). Lodger agreements do not have to be in writing, but obviously it helps in terms of establishing basic house rules, notice required etc.

    Anyway to cut a long story short after 2 years of poor payment of rent, pawning my tv and general inconvenience I asked the lodger to leave giving him 2 months notice. When he left I deducted half his deposit due to the fact that his room was not clean, he had damaged the fridge and freezer, drilled holes in his wall and a list of other issues.

    Anyway now he is threatening to take me to small claims court for the remainder of his deposit (less than £200). Can anybody give me advice on whether I would be likely to win at SCC? If not and I lose at SCC what costs could I be liable for.
    If he claims against you, you'll need to counterclaim for the damage and you'll need evidence of it (and the pawning of the telly if that caused you a financial loss). With a standard tenancy, evidence is often in the form of a check-in inventory/condition report, plus a similar one at check-out, but that is not the only valid evidence; e.g. witnesses can also give evidence. If you have no evidence, then you'll struggle unless the lodger's claim is so badly pleaded that it gets struck out, or he puts his foot in it in front of the judge (because all lodger has to prove is that he paid a deposit).

    If you lost you would have to pay the claimant's court fees. A claim + counterclaim of less than £200 would cost, overall, £100 or less in court fees. The loser might also have to pay some minor associated travel costs etc. So, the costs aren't massive, and you could even view it as a useful experience, to learn about small claims procedure. But, it is a long-winded process and if you have no evidence and don't want a lot of hassle, and you think the lodger is serious, then probably best just to pay up to get him out of your life.

    See http://www.lodgerlandlord.co.uk/ for lots of useful info on being a lodger landlord.
    And
    http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/H...eaflets_id=264

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