How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ash Your Own Question
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Type Your Property Law Question Here...
Ash is online now

I need urgent legal advice with regard to a lodger that is

Customer Question

I need urgent legal advice with regard to a lodger that is under an excluded lodger agreement i.e. is renting a room in my property. She has today vacated the property and previously I arranged to meet with her at 4pm today to carry out a room check, receive the keys and provide her with a cheque for the deposit. I was unable to do this as I had an urgent meeting so arranged for my mother to attend on my behalf and provide her with a cheque. She is disputing this and saying that she will not meet my mother, only me and will not accept a cheque. Please see today's correspondence by email with her as follows. I need to know 1. What my rights are i.e. am I within my rights to appoint my mum to do this and provide her with a cheque 2. Now that I will need to change the locks as she is refusing to meet my mum and receive a cheque, can I deduct this from her deposit? 3. Does she have any legal recourse as she has threatened to go down the legal route despite the fact that my mum has texted her today and also offered a bank transfer. What next steps would you advise and what would you advise I respond to her with?
Email correspondence today:
From: natalie [mailto:*****@******.***]
Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2015 2:05 PM
To: ***** *****; Gillard, Katie
Subject: Re: URGENT: Deposit return, arrangement required
I am only obliged to provide a forwarding address should I have some level of responsibility for the final payment of utilities in arrears for the property during my occupation. As the lodgers agreement states all utilities are paid in full within the cost of the rent this negates the need to provide you with my address. And in accordance with my previous email a cheque is not an acceptable means by which to return my deposit; the reasons please refer back to that correspondence. I might add you have failed to explain why a cheque is the only method of repayment you are prepared to provide and your inflexibility on this.
As for your mother's involvement I have received contact from her via txt message and must advise you that you are not at liberty to share my contact details with whom you see fit. Please therefore instruct her to not contact me again. The agreement is between you and I only and you now owe me £501.64. Your keys are returned to you as demonstrated in this attachment and therefore implore you to perform an instant bank transfer of the outstanding debt to be account specified in my original email.
It is Tuesday 5-5-15 at 2pm and should I not have received payment in full via instant bank transfer by end of day Thursday I will have no choice but to proceed in legal terms to recover debt owed to me. Should you want a receipt of returned deposit then you shall have to request that via a prompt to tell me you have returned the money. Only then will you get your receipt for your audit trail.
On 5 May 2015, at 11:39, Gillard, Katie wrote:
I wrote you an email on the 27th of April as per the attached asking if you preferred a cheque or bank transfer for your deposit, you didn’t respond. As such this is the arrangement I have made for a cheque to be given to by my mother as my appointed agent and as I cannot attend due to work commitments. A landlord is not contractually bound to return the deposit in a particular format, unless agreed at the start, and as I said previously, it’s perfectly acceptable that I can’t attend and my mother is attending to provide you with a cheque.
I have allowed you to stay 5 additional days over and above the original request for you to vacate on 30th April per your request so that you can move into your new place, and was clear that today was your last day of occupancy and to vacate my property and hand over of your keys. I advised you yesterday that unfortunately, due to work demands I was unable to be at the property to meet you, however my mother Gill Bull would be there to inspect the room and provide you with a cheque for your full deposit amount.
The arrangement remains that my mum Gill Bull will be at the house at 4.30pm to inspect the room, receive the keys and give you your deposit.
Unfortunately, if you are not there at this time, I will have no option but to change the locks and forward the cheque to an address you can supply. I will do this immediately and am well within my legal rights to do this.
If you are not there at 4.30, I will assume that this is the case and wait to hear from you with a forwarding address so that I can send a cheque on.
Best regards
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Was it ever agreed you would pay the deposit in cash?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, there was no agreement for how the deposit would be returned.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Unless it was agreed otherwise then a cheque is fine. The tenant says they will 'recover the debt'. I can't see how they can because even if they issue proceedings the cheque will be cashed and the claim will end!
As for your mother that is fine to do the exit and give a cheque back. She is appointed by you so its not as if it is a stranger off the street!
There is NOTHING legally your tenant can do. Imagine if it goes to Court a Judge will say the tenant is just being stupid.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you. Please can you clarify;

Do I need to take a log of all calls texts to her? i.e. where my parents text her to offer bank transfer and cheque?

Can I deduct locks changed from her deposit as she has refused to turn up for room check and return of deposit?

What do I respond back to her with? Important to know what to say.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
No you don;t need to take a log. There is no need for that. No you can't charge for change of locks as you would have done that anyway as a change in tenant.
You just say that you do not accept the claim and that you will provide a cheque and that if any proceedings are issued you will seek costs against the tenant.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** asked everything I need to.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
If this answers your question might I ask you to rate my answer before you go today please, the button should be at the bottom of the screen.
If you need more help please click reply.
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.

I am just following up to see if there is anything else I can help with?

If this answers your question might I ask you to rate my answer before you go today please, the button should be at the bottom of the screen.

If you need more help please click reply.