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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I'm living as a lodger in a couples house together with a second

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I'm living as a lodger in a couples house together with a second lodger. Landlords were away for six months abroad. During that period the boiler and dishwasher have broken down due to a built in the drain system that has stopped the water supply. Repair has cost a few hundred pounds apparently. Now I'm in the process of moving out and the landlords don't want to return my deposit of £600 because they believe I have caused the damage. They don't want to involve the other lodger in the costings because they believe she has a different 'cooking style' and they have known her for longer. They also believe I should have not used the dishwasher because it is not economical to use it only once a week and leaving dirty dishes in there for a week could cause food to dry up and later lead to blockage (I have always rinsed the dishes thoroughly before putting it into the dishwasher to avoid that). There is no evidence what exactly has cause the built up in the drain and I'm 100% confident not to have behaved negligent by using any appliances in the kitchen. I also don't have any particular 'cooking style' to cause damage. My question is if I'm entitled to get my deposit back. Or if the landlord would be entitled to claim damages should he not split it between two lodgers? Can the landlords argue that they 'believe' that I'm solely responsible for the damages based on their personal opinion but without evidence?
Alex Watts :

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

Alex Watts :

You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.

If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: or by completing form N1 and take it to your local County Court.

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.

If the matter is defended it will be set down for a trial. If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim and you will not need representation.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: Hi Alex.
Alex Watts :


Customer: That's very helpful, thanks. Before going down the court route I would just like to know if I have a chance of getting my deposit back. The landlords will clearly argue that they have the right to keep my deposit because I have caused damage to their property and maybe even argue that I have not looked after the house appropriately.
Alex Watts :

Yes I think you have. The Landlord would have to prove you caused the damage and indeed it went beyond fair wear and tear.

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer: If it went beyond fair wear and tear doesn't that rather speak against me?
Alex Watts :

No, but the Landlord would have to show you personally caused the damage.

Alex Watts :

It broke down etc, thats not your fault.

Alex Watts :

Unless the Landlord gave instructions on the dishwasher, how to cook etc, its fair wear and tear

Customer: Yes that's what I told them. They will argue that some soil like whatever stuff was found in the drain when repairing it and that they believe it was caused by me but they don't have evidence. They will argue that putting things down the drain is negligent. In regards ***** ***** dishwasher it says in the lodgers agreement that it is uneconomical for just one lodger to use it and this would not be acceptable.
Alex Watts : Indeed. It's not your fault, it was the landlords choice
Customer: Ok. So my route of action would be to write a letter to them pointing out my line of arguments and to request my deposit back. If they refuse I will threaten with court action. If they still don't pay I will apply to court. Is that correct? Can you just clarify the time line for this?
Alex Watts : You write and give 14 trays then issue peoceedings
Customer: Brilliant, thanks.
Ash and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi. Alex.
This is in reply to your previous advice. I have followed your advice and asked my landlords in written to return my deposit within 14 days. They replied in written that they want to get a report from their plumber by 25/01/15. Now I was looking to make an application to court as you have advised and have to find out that this doesn't apply to tenancy deposits and that I have to follow a different process!