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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70282
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Tenant paid deposit and on leaving asked for it all to be returned

Resolved Question:

Tenant paid deposit and on leaving asked for it all to be returned as he needed it desperately for new house.
He also paid an extra month's rent.
I said I would repay deposit, but keep rent in case there were any issues that needed resolving.
Bathroom window is broken - tenant has bared the screw and also forced the window handle in the locked position and snapped the internal mechanism. This, in my opinion, is beyond the 'wear and tear' identified in contract. Window was in good order 8 months ago when the inventory was done.

Tenant asked if his friend could try and mend it (£100) but this hasn't worked. In my opinion a new window is ths only solution. I have obtained three quotes, ranging from £400 to £250.
Am I within my rights to ask the tenant to pay? Should I pay? Or should we go 50:50?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

On what basis is he threatening to contact the police please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


He said that he will call the police to report that I am withholding his money.


He has threatened me and said I have to pay back the money because it isn't mine and I have to return it to the legal owner.


I know this is a civil, not criminal matter and that therefore the police will not be needed.


I do need just to get it sorted - get the window sorted, any balance owing repaid and move on.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Ok. Thanks.

What type of contract was this and was the deposit protected?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Shorthold Agreed (?) Tenancy,


The deposit was in the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.


I reapid the deposit in full to the tenant, in good faith, as he needed it urgently for his new house.


He had also paid an extra month's rent, which we agreed I would keep hold of to cover any outstanding issues in the house... not thinking I'd need it. And then the issue of the window came to light!


Annette


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Ok.

But this extra month, was it paid at the time he moved in?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No at time he moved out.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

That is all I need to know. You properly protected the deposit so you are not liable to him and he has caused damage so he is liable to you.

The police will tell him this is a civil matter so you need have no concerns over that at all.

In terms of whether this is normal wear and tear, that is always very difficult. Clearly its not wilful damage and, in fairness, accidents do happen over the course of many months occupation. Overall, I think a court would say that it exceeds wear and tear and its a big expense for you to just write off as an accident. You are taking a risk but I think it would probably pay off.

In any event, if you refuse to pay then he would have to sue you and he would have the burden of proof over this.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Can I just double check please, so that I am VERY clear.


I repaid his deposit that was secured through the tenancy deposit scheme and the money I have is an extra month's rent.


So am I still not liable to him, even though this is not exactly the deposit?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
As long as you didn't take this amount when he moved its not a deposit.

In any event, you would be entitled to deduct from his deposit in these circumstances. The only issue is whether or not you protected it.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


This is where I remain confused.


 


I have returned the protected deposit.


 


If the money I now have is NOT a deposit, can I deduct from it to pay for the window?


 


In any case, I am at least happy to pay half as a gesture of good will.


I'm really sorry - I just need to be VERY clear that I am being fair to him.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Yes, its fairly common for sums owed to be deduced from other amounts in this way.

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