Landlord refusing to pay back deposit :(

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    Landlord refusing to pay back deposit :(

    Hello everyone,
    I have an issue with my former landlord not paying back my Deposit.

    I signed an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement with my landlord for a period of 3.5 months from the 13-03-2012 – 01-07-2012. I paid a month’s rent+deposit of 680£ when I moved in to his property on 17-03-2012 and later found out that the room I was living in did not have a lock , so basically I could not lock my room and he or anyone can enter my room as they wish when I was not home. When I asked him to get a lock fixed, his reply was “It is against the law to have locks in houses” Anyway, due to a hectic schedule and late nights at work and the house being very far away, just a week later I gave him a month’s notice for leaving the house on 21-03-2012 stating my reasons. He agreed to let me go and I started scouting for other potential rooms to rent. On the 10-04-2012, he approached me and asked me to pay the extra weeks rent of £85. I paid up and also asked him If I would get my deposit back when I left to which he replied positively. So I was to leave the house a week earlier on the 15-04-2012 as agreed and get the deposit back as well. However When I asked him, he bluntly said he did not have it and would return it on the 21-04-2012. I suggested that I would return the house keys when I get back my deposit, to which him and his wife started hurling abuses at me saying I can’t make up my mind and I am playing games etc etc. So I gave him the keys and had a written agreement with him stating that he would return my deposit on 21-04-2012. On 21-04-2012, when I contacted him, he said he did not have the money and so again I had another written agreement with him stating he would pay me back on 29-04-2012. On 29-04-2012, he showed up with £80 (£5 less than what I paid him for the extra week I did not stay) and said a new tenant is moving in so you will get the rest of the deposit in a week’s time. I refused to take the money stating, that wasn’t the agreement and so again another agreement was written stating he would pay me back on 05-05-2012. At this time I threatened court action against him. Anyway when I contacted him on 05-05-2012, he bluntly said he still did not have the deposit and I could do whatever I wanted to and put the phone aside.

    Sorry for the long story, I am still missing a lot of details but my question to you guys is that according to the law, I was actually an excluded tenant living in the same property as my landlord, but he still falsely provided me with an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. Is there any way I can go to court with this. Also apparently, my deposit covered the previous tenants deposit and the next tenant’s deposit will cover my deposit. I find that unfair as I have already left the house and even if he did find a tenant, I wouldn’t know about it. He is an appalling man  hate him. All I wan’t is my deposit back and nothing more. I would appreciate if anyone could guide me in the right direction.

    #2
    This all boils down to what evidence you have.

    It is a fact that you were in breach of contract, so a court would (on that basis) accept that he was entitled to keep your deposit (and possibly claim more). What you need to be able to prove is that the landlord accepted your notice to quit and agreed to the return of your deposit.

    The landlords written statement that he will repay you £X on 5/5/12 should be enough evidence, unless the landlord feels he has a counterclaim against you.

    So, write him a formal letter telling him what you want, why, and by when. Tell him that if he does not comply you will commence legal action. Post it 1st class and get a free certificate of posting.

    If he hasn't paid by the deadline (say 7 days) then claim against him at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. There are fees, but presuming you win, they will be added onto the amount the landlord has to pay you. Some people can avoid fees - google ex160. If that applies to you, you need to apply on paper by completing form N1.

    Comment


      #3
      Surely though an AST is invalid if the LL is a live in LL? That puts the OP under Lodger not Tenant?

      Comment


        #4
        What the agreement describes itself as is largely irrelevant. You are right, as srinivas says he/she was an excluded occupier (lodger). The contract is valid, the law behind it is different.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
          What the agreement describes itself as is largely irrelevant. You are right, as srinivas says he/she was an excluded occupier (lodger). The contract is valid, the law behind it is different.
          So then, the agreement for the OP to of stayed in the property until July is still valid. So technically if the LL had not agreed to let the lodger leave early then the LL is within his every right to take the lodger to court for the rest of the rent in accordance with the signed agreement. So OP just needs the evidence that the LL agreed to terminate the contract early, and to pay the deposit back. If I was the LL I would of personally agreed expenses to be deducted from the deposit such as loss of rent between lodgers and cost of advertising to find a new one.

          Comment


            #6
            Hi,

            Thank you very much for the advice.
            I believe I have enough evidence.
            1. The false contract he has given me(AST) while I was a excluded tenant. Would that bear any weight?
            2. The letter from him stating the termination of the contract and deposit refund.
            3. Another letter changing the date of deposit refund twice.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Terry_Baker View Post
              So then, the agreement for the OP to of stayed in the property until July is still valid. So technically if the LL had not agreed to let the lodger leave early then the LL is within his every right to take the lodger to court for the rest of the rent in accordance with the signed agreement. So OP just needs the evidence that the LL agreed to terminate the contract early, and to pay the deposit back. If I was the LL I would of personally agreed expenses to be deducted from the deposit such as loss of rent between lodgers and cost of advertising to find a new one.
              Not quite.

              With a tenancy there is no doubt that if a tenant leaves mid-term, the landlord can treat the tenancy as continuing and therefore rent will continue to be due. Most landlords in the situation decide that it is not the best way forward, but they can do that and the court would have no problem with it.

              In this instance, it isn't a tenancy, therefore the 'worst' it is is breach of contract. In that case tha landlord can pursue for any financial loss that the breach has caused but unlike above, he has to minimise (mitigate) that loss. It is not an option to just sit back until the end of the contract, the landlord has to seek a replacement lodger ASAP.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by srinivas View Post
                1. The false contract he has given me(AST) while I was a excluded tenant. Would that bear any weight?
                2. The letter from him stating the termination of the contract and deposit refund.
                3. Another letter changing the date of deposit refund twice.
                2 & 3 = good
                1 = irrelevant

                Comment


                  #9
                  In the AST he has provided me, it states that.
                  Not to end the tenancy prior to the end of the fixed term without the written permission of the landlord, such permission will not be unreasonably withheld and to compensate the landlord all costs incurred with finding a replacement tenant. Where the tenant wishes to terminate the contract prior to the end of the fixed term and where the landlord has agreed in writing. The tenant must give at least 1 months notice in writing to the landlord.
                  I have just given him a verbal notice and not a written one, but would this be applicable in my case. The reason I ask is because the contract he has provided me with and my tenancy status is completely different and hence misleading to me as a tenant. Please let me know.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by srinivas View Post
                    In the AST he has provided me, it states that.
                    Not to end the tenancy prior to the end of the fixed term without the written permission of the landlord, such permission will not be unreasonably withheld and to compensate the landlord all costs incurred with finding a replacement tenant. Where the tenant wishes to terminate the contract prior to the end of the fixed term and where the landlord has agreed in writing. The tenant must give at least 1 months notice in writing to the landlord.
                    I have just given him a verbal notice and not a written one, but would this be applicable in my case. The reason I ask is because the contract he has provided me with and my tenancy status is completely different and hence misleading to me as a tenant. Please let me know.
                    Any terms that you have agreed to in the contract stand.

                    The fact it says 'Assured Shorthold Tenancy" on the top does not make it an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, but it is still a contract that you have agreed to.

                    If you took the lable off a tin of custard, and wrote 'beans' on the tin, that wouldn't make it a tin of beans!

                    I think it is important to clarify one important point - you are not a tenant - that is dicated by your status, not what it says on a piece of paper.

                    There is only one thing that could possibly change this. Does it state anywhere on your written ageement that you have exclusive use of any pert of the property? Also, can you clarify if any food was included? room cleaning? Bedding laundry?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Hi, thanks for getting back,
                      It says,
                      Agreement for letting furnished accommodation at xx street on the first page.
                      The second page states again that:
                      Property - xx street
                      Contents - The fixtures and fittings at the property together with any other items as listed in the inventory which isattached to this agreement.(There was no inventory carried out when I moved in)
                      Also on the third page it states that
                      The landlord agrees to let and the tenant agrees to take the property and contents for the term at the rent payable asstated on page 2 of this agreement.
                      The following are the things which are included/not included
                      Not included - Food, room cleaning,
                      Included - Bedding, table, closet
                      Basically the landlord lived on ground floor with his wife and 3 tenants lived on the top floor with exclusive use to a bathroom. All three of the tenants shared the kitchen with the landlord and his family.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Nothing there to suggest you had exclusive use of, so yes, as you originally stated, you were an excluded occupier.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          So would it be ok to threaten the guy with a formal letter and then go to court if he does not pay up. What are my chances of winning. I really don't want to lose more than what I already have especially to a dishonest man like him. I appreciate the the help. Thank you very much

                          Comment


                            #14
                            According to OP he only gave verbal, not written notice, contrary to contract, and LL only gave written confirmation that he would return deposit on a specific date, not that he accepted Ts Notice.
                            I despair when people want hotel accom from res LLs, and why LLs accept such Ts, unless they are running a hostel.
                            Both seem confused with diff between a T & lodger
                            OP was a lodger, with min rights, living in someone elses home, by agreement. Breaks this agreement (contract). LL is entitled to some comp for breach of Contract, but not properly negotiated, IMO

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I agree to have breached the contract, but only did so because he agreed to my verbal notice. The only reason I agreed to move out was because he agreed to return my deposit as well. Now what I have in hand is a letter which states the terminationof the contract and also a written statement of deposit return. The problem here is that I feel the landlord has deliberately done this and is nicking my deposit even after finding a new tenant of who I would have no clue about about because I don't live there anymore. So if I go to court could he just say he had an empty room for a while and counter-claim. The only thing I really have in my favour is the letters he gave me,but I dont know if I can win a case with that

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