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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45360
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I paid a holding deposit to a landlord (£245, half a

Customer Question

Hello, I paid a holding deposit to a landlord (£245, half a months rent) and signed a Holding Deposit Receipt that states it is non-refundable in the event that I change my mind prior to moving in. I was due to move in today and so I paid my security deposit and the first months rent, £1055 in total (minus the holding deposit already paid). I found out today that I didn't pass my probationary period at work so I had to cancel moving in. I haven't signed any tenancy agreements. The landlord is now saying he will keep £100 as the non refundable holding deposit and then charge a day rate (a whole months rent divided by the number of days in that month) until the room is re-let. Is this legally allowed?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What are you expecting to get back from the landlord?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
£810. Which is verything except the £245 holding deposit
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
So unless someone moves into the room within 8 days I will lose more than the holding deposit.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
The landlord also said that if someone wanted the room but couldn't move in right away I would need to pay until they moved in.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
The issue here is that even if you did not sign a tenancy agreement, a tenancy would still have been created. A contract can be forced through verbal negotiations or through the acts of the parties, as long as there was an offer, acceptance and consideration. I this case you and the landlord had offered and accepted to start a tenancy and you had paid the deposit and rent which is the consideration, so a legally binding agreement would have been in place even if nothing was signed. The length of individual tenancies may be agreed and reflected in the tenancy agreement. Where there is either no tenancy agreement or the time is not agreed, it will be deemed to last for a default period of six months. So in the circumstances you have effectively breached the verbal tenancy agreement by not moving in as promised and the landlord can seek damages as a result. As you can imagine, they had a secured tenant and would have likely rejected others to allow you to move in. Reneging on your agreement at such late notice would inevitably create difficulties for the landlord and they will lose out on rental income, which they would have received had you moved in or had they allowed someone else to move in instead of you. So they can recoup their losses by using the rent to cover the lost rental income until someone else moves in. They will have a duty to try and find a replacement as soon as possible to minimise their losses but if that is not possible then as long as they have made reasonable attempts they will not be in the wrong. So unfortunately as you have breached a verbal agreement you are unlikely to be able to claim the full rent less the deposit and the landlord will be able to cover for lost rent as a result of your breach, although as mentioned they should try and find a replacement as soon as possible. I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ok, So if I hadn't transferred my rent and security deposit prior to today, would they have only been able to keep the security deposit of £245? Or could they have forced me to then transfer money on top for day rate?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
He could have kept the deposit but if he wanted the rest then whilst he could have asked you for it, you could have refused. In that case he would have had to go to court to try and get it off you, which he may not have done. Hope his clarifies?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks for your answer it was very helpful. Just one more thing, the landlord is advertising a smaller room for less rent on the website. A smaller room is less likely to be rented as quickly and he is charging me the rent for the larger room. Surely this isn't right? Thanks.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
So you were supposed to rent a room only, the larger one? Is that being advertised?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I was supposed to rent a larger room at £490 a month. An existing tennant has now moved into that room. They are only advertising a smaller room at £450 a month rent. I am worried this may take longer to rent. Also can he still charge me at the higher rent rate?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
It may be difficult to argue that the smaller room will be more difficult to rent - there is a rental demand for any type of accommodation and it could be attractive to people as it has lower costs. However, if he is letting out the larger room now and getting the 490 and is now only losing 450 as the smaller room is not let out then his losses are actually 450 and that is what you would be liable for If your original question has been answered I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45360
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ok, thanks Ben.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 11 months ago.
You are welcome, all the best

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