Deposit Return Help

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    Deposit Return Help


    We have been renting to tenants for three years. They were recommended by a friend, so we were kind of persuaded to let rather than sell the house.

    We took an initial deposit of £350 (1 months rent) but let them off the first months rent as they wanted to redecorate. (There was nothing wrong with the decoration - they didn't like the colour)

    They indicated to us after about as year that they would be interested in buying the house if they could save a deposit and we were interested in selling it.

    We decided that if they wanted to buy the house we would keep the rent low (about £150 less per month than if we rented through an agency) whilst they saved the deposit.

    About six months ago they informed us they were moving out in two months, gave notice to move out - they were buying another house.

    We were obviously disappointed by this and said we felt it was unfair A) to lead us on about buying the house (obviously we are a bit gullible!) and B) to finish their AST early. However we weren't going to make a big deal about it and said fine, but we were going to put the house up for sale. (Whilst this was all happening my dad died and mum just wasn't coping with it all - the house belongs to them).

    They changed there moving out date twice (over the phone) which we accepted but said that we had instructed the house to go up for sale after their original moving out date and we were not going to take it off the market. This was accepted.

    The moved out yesterday - their actual end of contract date- my mum and I went round to inspect the house and to handover keys.

    The house has been left in an extremely poor decorative state ( it wasn't like that when they moved in - I actually lived there and refurbished the whole property). Carpets have been pulled up, the bathroom is dirty, the blinds have been thrown away. Outside the shed and greenhouse glass has been broken.

    Throughout the tenancy we have paid for everything down to new carpets, even light switches that have been broken. Their supposed re decorating job (for which they got the free rent for) is terrible - it really looks a mess.

    We can see now, why no one is interested in buying it. Of course we are extremely disappointed in the state of the house and also the threatening behaviour of the tenant who said if we didn't give them the depost back they would keep the keys. However they did give us the keys yesterday after my mum and I went over.

    I'm sorry this post is so long but are we entitled to keep any of the deposit money to get the house back to a sellable standard. We wouldn't even rent it like it is and can see that we are going to drop the asking price again for anyone to take it on.

    I would appreciate any help or advice.

    Many thanks

    May I suggest you change the locks immediatley.


      T owns deposit. L can deduct from it only in respect of:
      a. unpaid rent; and
      b. cost of rectifying T's other breaches of the Tenancy Agreement (e.g. damage caused, failure to use in a proper tenant-like manner, etc.)

      T seems to have breached obligations. You can therefore retain cost of rectifying property. You cannot go back and argue that you want the foregone rent (reduction in expectation that T would purchase) unless there is a legal right to it- and I doubt that you and T entered into a parallel contract dealing with that reduction.
      JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
      1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
      2. Telephone advice: see
      3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
      4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).


        Thanks for the advice. We do not expect any money back for the low rent thats is our fault for believing the tenant.

        I will check over the tenancy agreement for the exact clauses as I feel we will have a battle should we want to hold any money back..

        Thanks again


          Originally posted by snufes View Post
          Thanks for the advice. We do not expect any money back for the low rent thats is our fault for believing the tenant.

          I will check over the tenancy agreement for the exact clauses as I feel we will have a battle should we want to hold any money back..

          Thanks again
          The usual comment in a case like this is, did you prepare a detailed inventory at the start of the tenancy, did both you and the tenant sign it, and do you have a copy of it. If you cannot answer yes to all three you could possibly have a problem if the tenant disputes your retention of the deposit and decides to go to court.

          You might also want to take a look at the tenancy agreement to ensure that it does include a statement that the property should be returned in the same condition as when the tenancy started apart from wear and tear. Yes, I know that's a real basic but it is always possible that that term got left out, so just to be sure, re-read your tenancy agreement with them to check. Sometimes there is a term stating that tenants may redecorate with the landlord's permission but that they should reinstate the property at the end of the tenancy to what it was in the beginning.

          As for selling, have you thought of getting a decorator in to 'tart the place up' if you don't have time or desire to do it yourself? You may well find that your asking price will not need to drop if the place at least looks clean and tidy and neutral, or at the very least you'll have more people bothering to come and take a look.


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