Deposit, non-housing act tenancy

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    Deposit, non-housing act tenancy

    I wondered if someone might be able to give me some advice here?

    I let my family home to a local school who used it for staff. I had an agent find the tenants and draw up the agreement and provide an inventory but I managed the let myself.

    I've checked the property over following their departure and there are quite a few things I'm not happy with - cleaning, gardening, a few broken/missing items, etc.

    I've written to the school telling them that I want to deduct around £800 for the various bits (this total is based on quotes I have received).

    They've responded saying the costs are excessive and they've offered half to settle. I don't want to be out of pocket (I want to re-let it and these things need to be done before I can).

    I got some advice from my agent but all they've really said is that I can take what I want from the deposit as it's not protected and doesn't need to be as it's not a housing act tenancy.

    Is this right?

    #2
    The agent is right that the deposit does not need protecting, but not that that means you can take what you like from it. Any deductions have to be justifiable or agreed. The deposit is the HA's money and they are entitled to its return subject only to the terms on which it is held.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks.

      So if we cannot reach agreement, then what?

      I think my costs are justified and the inventory supports my findings. I've not charged for a lot of the smaller items (missing crockery, etc.) but the other items are direct quotes from tradesmen.

      I'm not really willing to accept any less than what it will cost to get the property back to the way it was and I doubt they are going to agree to the whole cost.

      Is the onus on them to pursue me for the costs if they think they have case or the other way around? I have the money so if I were to refund the balance and tell them to take me to court would I be in the wrong?

      Comment


        #4
        You have choices.
        Return the deposit, and sue them (small claims route) for your loss.
        Return the deposit, less the "agreed" amount, and sue them (small claims route) for your outstanding loss.
        Return the deposit, less the amount you are confident you can justify, and see if they sue you (probably small claims route) for the disputed amount.

        It might be worth going to see them face to face and argue the toss first.
        If your estimates and costs are in order, they're hard to argue with.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

        Comment


          #5
          Who holds the deposit?

          Comment


            #6
            I do. The agent paid it to me when they moved in. I have it in a separate account.

            I think I'll go with option 3 and let them take me to court if they feel they have a case. The inventory shows the good condition at the start and I have photos for how it is now as well as the quotes for the work.

            Comment


              #7
              It is important to remember that holding a deposit is in a bit of a category of its own because you are holding the tenant's money. Declining to repay a deposit is not the same as, for example, declining to pay someone for work done if you consider they have not done the job properly. You are a custodian of the deposit and it is your duty to ensure that it is applied strictly in accordance with the terms on which it is held. You are claiming £800 and whilst you may genuinely believe that that is what you are owed it may not be what a court would award. The onus is on you to satisfy yourself that what you retain is what a court would award. In this regard I respectfully point out that many landlords have what prove to be unreasonable expectations of what a court will award. Even if all your evidence is good, the damages you are entitled to may be less than the quotes you have received. If they have offered to meet you half way I would be inclined to go for it. £400 in the bank is £400 in the bank you know you have got.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by alas View Post
                Is the onus on them to pursue me for the costs if they think they have case or the other way around? I have the money so if I were to refund the balance and tell them to take me to court would I be in the wrong?
                Yes, they would have to take court action against you but the burden of proof is on yourself to prove you are entitled to those deductions.

                I dont think it reflects badly on you necessarily to refuse to compromise if your costings are reasonable.

                But

                Originally posted by alas View Post

                I've checked the property over following their departure and there are quite a few things I'm not happy with - cleaning, gardening, a few broken/missing items, etc.

                I've written to the school telling them that I want to deduct around £800 for the various bits (this total is based on quotes I have received).
                To me £800 for cleaning and gardening only seems reasonable if we are talking about some sort of country estate. What broken and missing items are we talking about? Be aware that you are only entitled to the amount of the life they have deprived you of. If they were tenants for a few years and damaged a drawer, you are not entitled to the full cost of a new unit.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks for the advice guys, very helpful.

                  The house is a 5 bedroom detached property which needs thorough cleaning and the (large) garden giving a good going over. The bulk of the cost is these two items.

                  The other items include a Roman blind which has had something (coffee?) chucked over it (new when they moved in 2 years ago), all of the freezer drawers being cracked/handles snapped (new when the kitchen was fitted 5 years ago), items not removed from the shed and badly touched up paint marks on most of the walls (although the house was newly decorated before they moved in I proposed a minimal charge as compensation which I'll probably agree to waive).

                  I think my costs are justified so I'll probably write to them stating why I think so and then return the balance. I suppose worst case I can see if they are prepared to take me to court and then either choose to reconsider my position or let the court make the decision.

                  Thanks again.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    What obligations does the tenancy agreement impose upon the tenant with regard to what the inventory records?

                    Comment

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