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LondonlawyerJ
LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 800
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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I have a tenant who rented a room - not the whole property.

Resolved Question:

I have a tenant who rented a room - not the whole property. She gave me 6 weeks' deposit when she moved in 1 October. She paid rent every month. I had to give her notice by 1 February 2015 for personal reasons, which I sent to her on 13 December. On 15 December she sent me a text message that she was moving out for her own personal reasons on 18 December. I did not acknowledge her text message, as I did not think it was particularly important. I have told her now that I will pay her back half her deposit - £300. However, she now says she has taken legal advice and will take me to the county court for her full deposit, in spite of her not giving me notice. She claims that 48 hours notice was sufficient for her to get her full deposit back. There is no tenancy contract, but she paid the deposit into my bank account as well as her rent payments, so obviously she can prove that she paid rent. I am not sure of my position? Please advise me?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
LondonlawyerJ :

Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to help you with this.

LondonlawyerJ :

I take it she has moved out.

LondonlawyerJ :

What agreememtn if any did you have re

LondonlawyerJ :

notice period. Did you think of her as a tenant or a lodger?

Customer:

she rented a room .. she was a lodger ... but not sure of the difference. I told her verbally when she asked me prior to moving in that there was 4 weeks' notice either way, which a friend of mine, who was present, is happy to confirm

Customer:

she wrote to me on 15 December a text message - I am abroad - and I only saw her text message on 20 December - she knows I am abroad and did not write me an email as well, which would have been more reliable as a means of communication

Customer:

In her text message she said that for personal reasons she would be moving out on 18 December

Customer:

but I assumed that "my notice" was still valid as per 1 February as I had sent her my notice on 13 December

Customer:

She says she has now taken legal advice and that she is entitled to her full 6 weeks' deposit - £600 ... and that if I don't pay her right away, she will take me to the county court

Customer:

Her last rent was paid in early December 2014 and obviously she did not pay rent in January 2015

Customer:

We did not have a formal tenancy contract signed by both parties. We had a verbal agreement in front of a friend of mine that 4 weeks' notice would be given either way ... and I gave her 6 weeks' notice as I did not want to put her in a bad position as christmas and new year was coming up ... And she paid her monthly rent and the deposit to a bank account, so obviously she has confirmation of the payments having been made as indeed I have.

LondonlawyerJ :

OK, she can therefore give you 4 weeks notice any time she likes and if that expires before your notice then it is still valid. The purpose of the deposit is to protect against damage etc. and even though she gives it to you it is never your money you simply hold it on her behalf. However when she hands in her notice she has a duty to pay rent for the month after handing in her notice. Although the deposit is her money you can legitimately say if she fails to pay any of this that you are counterclaiming and setting off against her rent default and could legitimately keep 4 weeks worth of the deposit. Have you paid her any of the deposit back yet? If you have paid half back you can write to her explaining the above and if you do the maths it is likely that in fact she is coming out ahead (getting half her deposit back when if you had protected yourself against her default in full she would only have got 1/3 back). Tell her if she sues you will defend.

Customer:

Great .. thank you very much that is very useful ...I have not yet paid her --- but I will pay her of course the £300 - half her deposit, which I was told was "generous" by someone letting properties for a living. But I wanted to ensure that I was not on shaky ground legally ..

LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 800
Experience: Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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