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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25406
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Hello, I have left my flat on the 31st of February according

Resolved Question:

Hello,

I have left my flat on the 31st of February according to the end of my contract.
In between I've asked per email to extend the contract until the end of February.
Then it was verbally agreed that I will still leave at the end of January.
Now my former landlord is asking me the rent for the month of February.
I have never received any paper contract for it and I have never signed off
Shall I request the help of someone for this? the landlord will not pay my deposit back because of this

Thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Customer:

Thank you

Joshua :

May I clarify when you actually vacated the flat please - you mention in your first sentence that you left on 31 February but later on you refer to leaving end January. Could you kindly clarify the date you actually vacated?

Customer:

Oh sorry I left on the 31st of January

Joshua :

Thanks - no problem. That is what I assumed but want to be sure.

Customer:

yes sorry for that

Joshua :

From what you say your fixed term tenancy ended on 31 January. Is that correct? You had a written contract I presume

Customer:

Yes

Joshua :

Thanks. Finally the email you sent. Could you advise precisely what you asked (if it is easier to copy and paste the email you sent pleased fee free - removing any personal info). Did you receive any written response whatsoever?

Customer:
Dear Ming,


I’d like to extend the contract till the end of February 2014 for the room at 52 Thomas More Street instead of end of January.

Would it be possible to do so?


Kind Regards

Florence
Customer:

and the reply of the landlord:

Customer:

Ok, keep communicate with Krystian as he is going to find some one to take over your room. Please keep your room clean and tidy for viewings. Many thanks.

Customer:

Do you need the others saying that I have to pay February?

Joshua :

If you have them to hand - it may be helpful to see them

Customer:

Yes

Customer:

so this one is to ask me the rent:

Customer:

Dear Florence

With reference of your notice of termination of your tenancy, we have still not received your rent for February. It's severely overdue and admin charge apply for rent arrears. Please check with your bank and update us. During your notice period. Krystian will manage the viewing notice. We shall reimburse your rent if any one takes over your tenancy before your notice expired at the end of February.

Should we can be any of assistance please let us know.

Kind regards

Customer:

I have never replied to it

Customer:

As this Krystian told me on the phone not to do so (I should have actually)

Customer:

Then another one:


Dear Florence

Hope you are settled well in the new place. Krystian tried very hard to find someone to fill your room, unfortunately due to his busy time schedule he only get a new tenant in last weekend.

Anyhow following your tenancy expired at the end of February. We need to process your deposit refund. As you didn't pay your rent for February and did not reply to our email on 12 Feb demand for your notice month rent payment we have to deduct your rent plus admin fee from your deposit.

Our accountant will send you the final statement shortly. Please advise your bank details for deposit refund.


Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Kind regards

Customer:

And my answer:

Joshua :

Thanks. You mention that it was verbally agreed after the initial exchange of emails to extend that you would revert to leaving end January. Could you confirm what was said?

Customer:

Dear Ming,


 


Hope you are well.


My contract has ended at the end of January and not at the end of February.


I have never received a new contract for the month of February that’s why I have never paid anything more.


Moreover it was verbally agreed with Krystian and yourself that I will leave at the end of January 2014 – according to my former contract.


Without any new signed off contract I don’t wish to pay any month in more.


I’m a sorry to read that you couldn’t find any new tenant for the month of February but it was verbally agreed that I would be moving out at the end of January so should be paying anything further.


I would however request you to please refund the entire amount of my deposit.

Customer:

And her reply:

Customer:

Dear Florence

Please find attached your notice sent to us via email on 6 Jan (it was copied to Krystian as well) together with our replied agreement of your requested extension of tenancy until end of February.

This notice has been legally filed as your notice of termination at the end of February. We have arranged our admin work based on your notice required expire date. Though you checked out earlier than expected however you were still liable for rent of your notice period, i.e. February see our email on 12 Feb demand your rent payment.

There's no legal request for a new tenancy agreement as that falls automatically into periodical tenancy, which runs on monthly basis unless your rental payment was changed. Hope this helpful on clarify the issue you confused.

Krystian and I had tried our best to help you find someone to fill your room during your notice period so that might help on some of the rent, however due to his busy time schedule we did not succeed.

Anyhow thanks for your bank details. We have forwarded to our accounting admin who will be in touch with you shortly.

Customer:

The attachement was basically the first email as a pdf that I sent to request the extension of the contract

Customer:

And today I received an email from the account manager

Customer:

do you need it as well? it's all the charge that I have to pay in more ...

Joshua :

No thats fine - thank you.

Customer:

plus asking me to pay for cleaning that I've actually done before leaving the flat!

Customer:

oki thanks

Joshua :

What kind of accomodation was this - did the landlord live in the property with you? Did you have sole occupation of your room with a lock on the door?

Customer:

It was a house, now living room, shared with 4 other tenants - I had the sole occupation of my room with lock on the door inside the room

Customer:

no living room*

Customer:

sorry

Joshua :

Did the landlord live in?

Customer:

no

Customer:

but someone who was kinda house manager

Customer:

this Krystian mentionned in the emails

Joshua :

Thanks - sorry almost there. Were you supplied with any services as part of your tenancy e.g. cleaning or cooking or laundry for your clothes?

Customer:

No none of them

Customer:

all done by ourselves

Joshua :

Thanks. Final question was your deposit protected to your knowledge? You should have been confirmation of where your deposit was protected in a deposit protection scheme within 30 days of paying it?

Customer:

Hmmm no idea at all

Customer:

don't recall having such an information

Joshua :

OK. There are two components to this which go hand in hand. With your permission I will deal with each in turn.

Customer:

sure

Joshua :

From what you say this tenancy (whatever the document you signed called itself) would have been an assured shorthold tenancy. ASTs require among other things that the landlord protects your deposit in an approved protection scheme under the provisions of the Housing Act as amended by the Localism Act. The landlord must supply you with details of the protection scheme used within 30 days of your paying it.

Joshua :

If you are uncertain whether it is protected, you can check online with one of the four schemes that it could be registered with:
http://www.mydeposits.co.uk/tenants/get-started/check-your-deposit
https://www.depositprotection.com/is-my-deposit-protected
https://www.thedisputeservice.co.uk/is-my-deposit-registered.html
https://www.capita-tdp.co.uk/

Joshua :

If it has not been protected as you suspect then you can issue a claim in the county court for the return of your deposit and a claim for up to three times the amount in compensation (judge has discretion as to whether to award between 1 and 3 times compensation depending upon landlady's conduct) under the provisions of the Housing Act as amended by the Localism Act. The deposit must be returned to you in full without deduction if the landlord has not protected it and you must receive at least the amount of the deposit in compensation (up to three times at the judges discretion).

Joshua :

Accordingly this is an obvious place to start with regards XXXXX XXXXX deposit. If you find it has not been protected you can simply issue a claim for the return of your deposit and a request for 3 x compensation using www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. The claims should be made against the landlord named on your tenancy agreement.

Customer:

Ok so to who I should ask if it has been protected?

Customer:

the landlord?

Joshua :

You can ask the landlord but you can also use the above links to carry out a search. They all have online search facilities you can use to check - there are only four schemes so does not take long.

Joshua :

With regards XXXXX XXXXX tenancy. The starting point is that your tenancy term ends on the last date of your tenancy and providing you move out and return the keys before the end of that day then the tenancy automatically comes to an end. No notice is required to be given to the landlord. The tenancy only becomes a periodic tenancy if you remain in occupation beyond the final date of the tenancy. The question is did your email and the landlords reply constitute an agreement to extend the tenancy...

Customer:

Yes it's basically what I want to know

Customer:

because I know other tenants never got their deposit back

Customer:

so I don't want to "fight" if it's alreadylost

Joshua :

Your email states that you want to extend the tenancy until the end of February and asks if that is possible. The landlord replies "ok". There are two ways to argue this. You can argue that your email simply asked if this was possible, the landlord confirmed it was but you did not then confirm that you wished to take the landlord up on the offer and accordingly no binding agreement was made between you to extend the tenancy and no perioidic tenancy arose because you vacated the property before the end of your term.

Joshua :

The counter argument from the landlords perspective is that your email also specifically stated that you would like to extend the tenancy and the landlord replied to confirm your request.

Joshua :

My view is that there is a danger a judge could equally lend either interpretation to the email exchange however I think there is a reasonable basis for you to argue that because your email asked whether it was possible as opposed to "please confirm this is agreed" or words of this nature, your email was something known as an invitation to treat and the landlords reply was the offer (to extend) which you did not take up and in fact verbally confirmed that you would in fact be vacating before end Jan which you then did.

Joshua :

Whether the above would be worth litigating over on its own is for you to decide as the outcome is in my view only a little better than 50/50 in your favour if you can set out your arguments clearly as above. However in the event you find your deposit is not protected, then you have a straightforward claim for the return of your deposit and compensation as above and it would be for the landlord to make a counterclaim for any he believes he is owed which you could defend on the above basis.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer:

I think it's fine and makes sense

Joshua :

If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me

Customer:

so if for example she still refuses

Customer:

what shall I do next?

Customer:

if the deposit was protected..

Joshua :

I would start by checking the above links to see if your deposit is protected this evening. If it is not then as above you would appear to have a straightforward claim for the return of your deposit and compensation which means you will be better off irrespective of the rent outcome. If the deposit was protected then you have no claim for compensation and it would be for you to decide whether you would want to litigate on the rent issue alone. How much is the rent?

Customer:

the rent was 780£

Customer:

and deposit was 1020£

Joshua :

So it would cost you £60 to issue and a further £80 to go to a hearing so potentially £140 to test it in court. You can form an argument as above so if you feel £140 is money you can justify then you can consider issuing a claim. Hopefully you will find your deposit is not protected and therefore the position is straightforward

Joshua :

The above fees are recoverable if you are successful

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

Customer:

yes that's very usefull

Customer:

I have another question

Customer:

who should I ask the help if i want to go in court?

Customer:

your website?

Customer:

or any dedicated lawyer?

Joshua :

You don't need a lawyer to issue a claim for this amount. Any amount less than £10,000 is heard in the small claims track and it is designed to be used without any legal experience and judges expect to deal with memebers of the public not lawyers. However I would be very happy to assist with any questions you have about the process if you decide to issue a claim. If you use a lawyer you can but you cannot claim back fees so it will likely not be cost effective.

Joshua :

Is there anything else I can help you with?

Customer:

I think I'm ok for now

Customer:

I might come back to you if I decide to go into court :)

Joshua :

As above if you have any follow up questions, please do not hesitiate to revert to me.

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though.

Customer:

sure no problem I'll do it right now

Customer:

thanks for your time and your help

Joshua :

Many thanks - best of luck with any claim you make.

Customer:

thank you

Joshua :

Best wishes

Customer:

Bye bye

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