what am I entitled to retain from the deposit

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    what am I entitled to retain from the deposit

    My tenant's 6 month ast fixed contract expired on 17 nov 2012. The week before it expired, I wrote to him and explained that if he left on 17 nov 2012 he did not need to give me notice to leave the property, but if he straddled over, he would be entering into a periodic agreement and he would require to give me a month notice in writing - this was clearly stated in the ast agreement but I thought it would be polite to highlight it to him. He left on 23 nov 2012 and left the keys with my sister (who lives 6 doors down from my property). He owed me £150 from the rent from 18/10/12 -17/11/12 - he had paid £1000 on 7/11/12 relating to that month only when I threatened legal action. He also owes me for the extra week that he stayed as well as cleaning costs ( the ast agreement expressly stated that the carpets,cooker and windows had to be professioanlly cleaned - which he has not done). There are also clearing and repair works to be added. He did not give me written notice of his intention to leave - should I be entitled to the rent to 17 dec 2012 in lieu of notice?

    #2
    Was the deposit protected? Have you begun marketing the property and been into the property to do any work or let to a new tenant yet?
    [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]

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      #3
      the deposit is protected through the dps. I got the keys on fri 23 in the evening and I went in on sat morning to ensure that everything was secured and everything was off. There was a lot of furniture left in the back and front garden so I came back on sunday 25th to take pictures of the condition of the hse and read gas, electricity and water meter. I phoned the gas and electricity people and he had closed the a/c with readings to his favour - the discrepancy was over 20 units in the gas and about the same in the electricity readings. I informed the council and they had not heard from him. I need to ring the water people. When I picked the keys he left a handwritten note saying I inform you I am vacating ....on 23/11/12- that was the first I knew about it -

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        #4
        You are entitled to rent in lieu of notice, but if you enter the property in that period, you may be accepting the tenants surrender by operation of law. Your notifying the utility company of meter readings would suggest to me that you have accepted his surrender.

        Get in there, get it tidied up so that you can have a decent 'rent paying' tenant in ASAP - leave it too long and Xmas will get in the way.

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          #5
          The tenant did a runner without giving me a forwarding address owing me money for last month and not paying this month's rent in advance as he should. He straddled to a periodic agreement and the only time I knew he had left is when I got a got a set of keys with a letter saying I have left. I did enter but it would have been irresponsible for me not to enter as he cfould have left something on in the house -I had served him a section 21 which was to expire on 27 December. The DPS only gives you two weeks to establish damage - so I read the gas and electricity to ascertain what liability he had left, the same with the council tax and water rates, I cannot do this without entering the property. He already had said HE had vacated it does not mean I accepted surrender.
          I haven't started marketing the property because I only knew it was empty on 23/11/12 - I haven't done any work on the property yet, just taken pictures of the damage. What is the point of putting a one month written notice if a tenant can hand keys, walk away and if I enter to ensure the property is secure and assess damage for the dps claim it is surrender

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            #6
            The return of the keys is an offer of surrender which you are free to accept or decline. If you accept then the tenancy ends and you move on. If you decline then the tenancy continues. Technically you probably can't go in to check he has left something on as you wouldn't do that normally during the tenancy i assume?
            Of course you are worried about your property and you wanted to check it is properly secured. Now you know it is you have to treat the tenancy as continuing if that is what you choose to do. I think it can be argued that you can readvertise it and even carry out some maintenance work as long as you treat the tenancy as continuing. You don't need to inform DPS if the tenancy is continuing so wait until the tenancy ends before contacting them

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              #7
              Alexis, I understand your fustration but if you expect answers to the questions you pose, you will have to ask a judge if the decisions go against you.

              No two situations like this are identical, we can only tell you what 'could' happen based on our experience and case law.

              The tenant can not "hand keys, walk away", he has to follow rules, like we do, and if you have done everything correctly and he hasn't, then you are in a position to put a claim on his deposit or through the courts.

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