Problem: Three tenants - One deposit - Big bill

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    Problem: Three tenants - One deposit - Big bill

    I have a three-bedroom house that I let to three tenants (all names on the TA) in Feb 05 and I recently ended the tenancy to sell the house (advised that I'd not be renewing the TA when it ended).

    Two of the tenants had been there for the whole duration, but the third tenant left after a few months and was replaced with another who also lasted only six months, so when the tenancy ended, one tenant had been there for only eight months. As there was quite a lot of damage (quotes for repairs were £750 and £1300), it was clear that the deposit was not going to cover the bill. Nevertheless I felt it was unfair to take the full deposit from the tenant who'd only been there for a few months, so I divided the bill up proportionately to reflect the duration of the tenancies including an amount for the two previous tenants which I will bear. The two full term tenants' portion of the bill still exceeds their deposit so I have written to them explaining that I won't be returning the deposit. The third tenant has had nearly half of her £240 returned but still feels that it's unfair that my calculations don't take account of damage that was done before she arrived and that I should have done a full inventory at that time which would have shown this to be the case. Is she right? It sounds a reasonable argument, but having to do a full inventory when one tenant is replaced seems like a huge amount of hassle. I only did a full inventory at the start (signed by the three original tenants), so does this mean I should return her deposit in full or recalculate using a figure that doesn't include the damage done before she moved in? Whilst there are one or two items that I know are not her responsibility (other tenant admitted responsibility), there are several items that she's disputing that happened during her tenancy that nobody's admitting to and I feel it's only fair that she should contribute to this.

    As this is my first let, I can accept that there will be a learning curve and there are plenty of clear lessons here, but I'm already bearing the difference between the retained deposits and the bill plus the portion of the bill due to the two earlier tenants, so I'm reluctant to have to part with more cash.

    Does anybody know the correct way to avoid a situation like this? Any suggestions on how to resolve the matter would also be most welcome.
    Last edited by jpfinney; 14-05-2007, 17:59 PM. Reason: Error

    ok, all 3 original tenants named on the agreement was this TA ever changed or a new one re-granted each time a new tenant moved in?

    if not then its not down to you to re-do a new inventory - its up to the tenants to sort out between themselves. This is what happens when sharers are let properties. Did she pay her deposit to you direct or did she give her portion to the tenant she took over from?


      Thanks for the reply Poppy35.

      I did a new agreement each time the third tenant changed (didn't know there was an alternative) and her deposit was paid direct to me.

      So if I let like this again, I should go through the whole inventory again when a tenant changes?


        yes definately as you are granting a new lease a new inventory will required. This should then be signed by the new tenants (including the "old" ones as well). Any problems can be sorted out then whilst you still have the vacating tenants deposit monies.


          Thanks Poppy35. Wish I'd done this!

          As far as returning more of the third tenant's money, do you think I should recalculate the damage figure to exclude the items of damage that she says ocurred before her tenancy began and the item that one of the other tenants owned up to? Or do I have to return the deposit in full because I didn't do a new inventory?


            I'd appreciate some help with this.

            Should recalculate the damage figure to exclude the items of damage that she says ocurred before her tenancy began, or do I have to return the deposit in full because I didn't do a new inventory?


              morally you should the deposit in full as you did not do a new inventory and therefore if they wanted the money back and went via the courts to do this then a court no doubt would be in favour of the tenant.

              Have you tried talking to them first about what deductions you wish make? this may be an idea, inform of what your intentions are and see what their reaction is and go from there.

              you may have to bite the bullet and take it as a lesson learnt.


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