Deposit Withheld

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    Deposit Withheld

    Hi all, new to the forum so apologies if it's something posted a million times and in the wrong place etc.. but am looking for some advice regarding a situation i'm in.

    Basically my ex-landlady is withholding £150 for unpaid utility bills, and subsequently now claiming her admin fees are included as well.

    We vacated the property on 18/09/11, two weeks early from the end of the contract, however i'd still paid the rent up until 08/10/11.

    When i left the house on the 18th i took photos of it in perfect condition and of the meter boxes after we'd finished cleaning.

    Last Wednesday i received a cheque for £850, as opposed to the £1420 i should have received. I went back to the LL and she claimed an innocent mistake but that she had deducted the £150 for bills.

    I spent 4 hours speaking to the water board, gas board and the council and the upshot was that i'd over paid by £1.21 to the council, £7.00 to the water board and the as i'd given actual readings on the gas/electricty, nothing was owed there.

    However, she is claiming that i'm liable for any usage of bills in the property, whilst i wasn't there, and up until the point the new tenants moved in on 02/10/11 which incidentally is a week before our tenancy officially ended.

    I'm on the verge of raising a dispute with the MyDesposits scheme, but am put off the idea of waiting for upto 60 days whereas i've offered her a polite and friendly route of resolution thus far and was hopeful she'd see sense.

    I've asked her to provide me with proof of bills incurred between the date i left and the date the new tenants moved in, but she is refusing.

    Hope you can offer some advice.



    What does your AST state about payment of utility bills? I would be surprised if the deposit is held in lieu of payment for anything other than your liabilities to Landlord. Not third parties.
    [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]


      Firstly, the amount she is deducting is plainly wrong (and that must be obvious to her). Even my 16 year old son can't use £150 worth of utilities in one week.

      By default, you will be liable for electricity used in the property until the end of the tenany. However, one has to assume that as the property was re-let only a week after you left that your landlady must have entered the property without your permission sometime during that week to carry out viewings.

      At that point, imho, the tenancy ended by operation of law. And you are liable for nothing after that point. Not even rent (although it's not reclaimable).

      The way surrender by operation of law works is that both parties must take actions that indicate the tenancy is over.

      In your case that is easy - you had already given notice and you had moved out your belongings.

      In her case, it is a tiny bit greyer, but she has entered the property. She would only be able to do that (if the tenancy was ongoing) by obtaining your express permission. She didn't, so we have to assume that she was working on the basis that the tenancy was over.

      Submit your objection to MyDeposits, but be aware that the landlady does not have to accept the deposit schemes arbitration scheme, so you may end up having to sue.


        @JohnnyB, I have a letter and several emails from her stating that she has held back £150 to cover utilities bills, i've got back to her with three emails detailing my investigations with the utility companies (inc. council) and she has now changed her story to include her admin costs.

        @Snorkerz, thanks very much for that, i'm glad someone can see my points of view.

        With regard to my tenancy termination, i sent an email in July stating that we ere "intending" to move out over the weekend of the 2nd of October, but i never actually confirmed in writing as she knew when we were going. So hands in the air from me on that one.

        The thing that bugs me about that, is that our tenancy was up until the 8th of October, my email stated "intending" and she moved new tenants in on the 2nd of October.

        I'd been speaking to the lettings agency on a daily basis who were leaning on me to get out early to assist them in finding her a tenant, to which i obliged by finding a new place sooner than expected.

        If she came to me and said, "£35 outstanding with British Gas", can you pay it please ? and i'd happily do so.



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