Holiday/ short-term let - deposit unreasonably withheld

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    Holiday/ short-term let - deposit unreasonably withheld


    I recently rented a property for the weekend, and afterwards was told by the owner that I would not be getting any of my £1,000 security deposit back because of damages to the house. While I completely expected the actual cost of damages to be withheld, the invoice listing these was completely unreasonable: for example, they charged £400 to have a stain removed from the carpet, whereas I’ve gotten three quotes from specialists cleaners local to the property, the most expensive of which was for £60; also, they have claimed that a number of items were broken which I have no recollection of being damaged.

    I know there are certain protections available to residential tenants in respect of their deposits, but can anyone advise on whether there’s anything I can do to get at least some of the deposit back when it was just a holiday let? For instance, is the burden of proof on the owner to demonstrate the breakages were caused by our occupancy?

    Any thoughts or suggestions much appreciated!


    I don't know the legal situation, but I always thought the deposit you gave on holiday properties was to cover theft, loss of keys etc, and the owner would have suitable insurance for damage and cleaning. Did you have a terms and conditions form when you signed up for the let? What does it say about the deposit and how it can be used?


      The contract says:

      "Security/Damages Deposit

      Two weeks prior to arrival, the sum of £1,000 will be required from the Client, which will be put into a holding account as security against damages, loss, breakages, evidence of smoking within the property and any other costs incurred to us as a result of your occupancy. This will be refunded within 10 days of the property having been vacated by you, less any costs incurred."

      Thanks for your help.


        A holiday let deposit is to cover damages - normal insurance will not cover this. Ever had a stag party in your holiday let??!! However if unreasonably withheld send the owner a letter before action saying that you will take them to small claims if they do not return the deposit. The owner will have to prove that the deductions are fair. If you caused the damage - let it go. What kind of let was it - super luxury if the deposit was £1K for the weekend!
        Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me


          What did you break/damage if anything? Did you own up to this at the time? Its a while since we rented holiday accommodation (tend to camp now as its cheaper!), but we once broke a cup, and told them at the end of the week, offering to pay or buy a replacement, and they just told us to forget it!

          £1000 also seems lot for just the weekend. I don't think we paid that much for a week in the past, but as I said it was a few years ago now!

          I would ask the owner in writing to itemise what they are keeping the deposit for.

          Do they belong to any holiday letting organisation you could report them to? Are they accredited by the tourist board/AA etc?


            The occasion for the rental was my parents' 50th anniversary - the house slept 35 so that all the family could stay on site. (It was still a private house, though, and not a operational hotel.)

            The set up was that we put the keys through the door when we left, although we did leave a note about the carpet stain. I can completely believe/imagine that a few wine glasses were broken, but everything else on the invoice was so egregious, it's difficult to swallow (and a lot of money!).

            The invoice received was actually in response for a request for an itemisation of costs after hearing that the deposit would not be returned. The same request did everything but explicitly threaten small claims court, but that's absolutely an option I'm going to look into more seriously!

            The owners market the property as more of a "venue" than holiday let, which I suppose is understandable given the number of bedrooms, and if they're a member of any kind of association, it's certainly not advertised on their website.

            Thanks again for the input.


              A deposit of £1,000 is probably not unreasonable for a property that sleeps 35! Whilst the same legal principles apply whatever the property and however luxuriously appointed it may be, different considerations will apply at the top end of the market. If wine was spilled on a Persian carpet and a couple of cut glass decanters have been broken you may be well on your way to a £1,000. Even so, the owner still has to prove a loss and the usual rules about depreciation apply. If not satisfied that the owner's claim is genuine then put in claim to the County Court.


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