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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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there, I am a landlord and currently have a tenant who

Resolved Question:

Hi there,
I am a landlord and currently have a tenant who has vacated my property with no notice but owes rent and cleaning bills. I did not register the tenants deposit 4 years ago and have only just realised now. It was a human error at the time as I had just had a baby by caesarian section and was not well. The tenant was checked into the property on 31/03/11 by my brother as I was still on bed rest and suffering with post natal depression/trauma. I have over 70 depsoits registered with My Deposits and always register every tenant. BUT this one for the reasons explained just got missed and I have only found out today. The tenant now wants to take me to court to recover the full deposit fee of £600. I have already paid him £96.13 of that fee as that was the remainder after rent arears were deducted and £55 in cleaning bills. Please could you provide advice on what I should do. Thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

How long was the initial agreement please?

Customer:

Hi the agreement was 12 month AST from 31.03.11 and went onto a statutory periodic tenancy

Alex Watts :

Its bad news I am afraid.

Alex Watts :

You have 14 days to register and protect the deposit. If you did not then you can be sued for this under the Landlord and Tenant Act and the tenant can claim x3 the deposit.

Alex Watts :

Its not good enough sorry to say you are not well.

Alex Watts :

But you have a legal duty to protect the deposit.

Alex Watts :

You need to supply details within 14 days of request.

Alex Watts :

Sadly because you did not protect the deposit within the 30 days as required by law, you have left yourself open

Alex Watts :

If you do pursue the tenant then you could face a counter claim of x3 the deposit.

Alex Watts :

If you leave it as it is then the tenant may not pursue you.

Alex Watts :

If the deposit is worth less than the damage then you could pursue the tenant and risk a counter claim

Alex Watts :

But it is a commercial decision for you.

Alex Watts :

The problem is you did not protect the deposit and the law states the tenant can sue you even after the tenancy has ended

Alex Watts :

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

The deposit is £600 and he has said he will claim back the full amount. The rent owed is £448.87 and the cost of cleaning is £55. I know I should have registered the deposit.

Customer:

I have already tarnsferred £96.13 from the deposit to him as that is what was left over. He did not dispute this on any emails and provided his account details for the transfer

Customer:

What if I just pay him the full £600 deposit and then pursue him for the rent arrers...would he counter claim then as well?

Customer:

hi are you still there?

Customer:

HELLO?

Alex Watts :

Yes - but he is entitled to claim x3 the amount back.

Alex Watts :

If you can call it quits - I would because of what the law says.

Alex Watts :

Treat is as a commercial lesson

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Customer:

ok so I just pay him back the full deposit? Can he still pursue me for x 3 even if I pay back the full deposit?

Customer:

I know I have learnt my lesson!!!

Alex Watts :

That is correct.

Customer:

So if I pay £600 in full deposit back to him can he still pursue me for x3????

Alex Watts :

He can claim x3 the deposit in law because you failed to protect it

Alex Watts :

Yes he could

Alex Watts :

You need to offer the payment in FULL AND FINAL SETTLEMENT

Alex Watts :

IF the tenant takes it, that is the end of the matter

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

I think he will as he left so suddenly without any notice and with rent arears probably knowing that he would do this. But you are right it is worth returning the full deposit to see if he does.....

Alex Watts :

Indeed but remember in full and final settlement

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Customer:

It is no excuse but a valid reason that I had postnatal depression and I can justify this with medical records if it did go to court. It was an honest human error, would the judge choose to be so hard on me if I can provide evidence that every other tenant we have had has had their deposit registered?

Alex Watts :

I know, I am sorry. It makes no difference that others were protected, this one was not

Customer:

ok so I will pay the £600 and fingers crossed he will not pursue me. If he does pursue me I have nothing to lose from making a counter claim for loss of rent and cleaning. Can I do this?

Alex Watts :

Yes but say its in full and final settlement

Alex Watts :

If he does pursue you, you are correct you have nothing to lose

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

ok so I must say full and final settlement. He doesn;t seem to want to negotiate at all and will probably take me to court anyway as I think he is going to try and get x3 as he left so suddenly! So I can counterclaim even though the rental arears have nothing to do with the deposit?

Alex Watts :

You should ONLY counter claim if he pursues you for the deposit/compensation

Customer:

ok. so I will pay the deposit back and nothing else in the hope he does not take me to court for more....if he does what sort of evidence do I need to provide to the judge to show that this was human error and not because I am some dodgy landlord who has a habit of doing this!!

Alex Watts :

Indeed.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Customer:

yes what sort of evidence would I need to provide to show the judge that this was an error? This is if the tenant takes me to court?

Alex Watts :

It makes no difference.

Alex Watts :

You either protected the deposit or you did not

Alex Watts :

I am sorry

Customer:

ok thank you for your help, lesson learnt!

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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