Deposit paid, but tenant not showed up.

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    Deposit paid, but tenant not showed up.

    A new tenant paid a holding deposit on the 16th August, to guarantee a room on the 1st September.

    I requested the tenant sign the contract with me on the 1st Sept, when they were due to move in.

    On the 31st August, the tenant rang to say they had gone home (another continent) due to very unfortunate family circumstance. (no contract signed).

    They do not know when/if they will return. I txt'd them earlier this week to advise I have to make a decision whether to re-let the room or not.

    Am I obliged to just advise the tenant the room is being re-let, as they have not taken up the tenancy on the agreed date. The room has effectively been blocked from other viewings for a month.

    Under the circumstances do I have to return their (holding) deposit? I have not been able to show the room and it has been empty for two weeks already.

    They would obviously be able to find alternate accomodation when/if they return, so I do not feel I'm letting them down.

    Many thanks.
    jxmac18

    #2
    • You do not need a signed contract to have a contract the simple process of taking rent and occupation creates a tenancy.
    • Since the proposed tenant has done neither of the above, you do not have a contract with him.
    • Depends on how you took the deposit (i.e. a holding deposit or a deposit for delapidations) you should be able to deduct lost rent and cost for re-advertising the property, keep records of these costs and return what is not used.

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      #3
      Everything depends on what was agreed when you took the deposit. For example, if it was agreed that this was a non-refundable deposit then it is non-refundable. If it was agreed that the deposit would be refunded if the tenant changed his mind then it should be refunded now the tenant has changed his mind. Sorry if this is confusing.
      Disclaimer: What I say is either right or wrong. It may be advisable to check what I say with a solicitor. If he says I am right then I am right, unless he is wrong in which case I am wrong; but if he says I am wrong then I am wrong, unless he is wrong in which case I am right

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        #4
        Thoughts on the above replies

        The three elements of any contract are offer, consideration and acceptance.

        Firstly Dazalock:

        You do not need a signed contract to have a contract the simple process of taking rent and occupation creates a tenancy. Okay but where is the taking up of residence, and the "tenant" has definitely not signed an AST so there is no "contract" for mainly the first reason?

        Since the proposed tenant has done neither of the above, you do not have a contract with him.I agree

        Depends on how you took the deposit (i.e. a holding deposit or a deposit for delapidations) When you take a deposit like this it would be an "offer of intent" but no more than that! you should be able to deduct lost rent and cost for re-advertising the property, keep records of these costs and return what is not used. Very debatable but the applicant is unlikely to pursue his deposit now is he?

        Lawstudent:

        Everything depends on what was agreed when you took the deposit. For example, if it was agreed that this was a non-refundable deposit then it is non-refundable. For the avoidance of doubt written proof would be needed by the landlord If it was agreed that the deposit would be refunded if the tenant changed his mind then it should be refunded now the tenant has changed his mind. Sorry if this is confusing. No it's not confusing, but again hearsay is usually useless as evidence!
        The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

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          #5
          Many thanks for the response! I advised the tenant this was a holding deposit to keep the room before they were due to move in, as well as non-refundable, and the tenant is not pursuing this.

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