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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 71038
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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In April 2015, myself and four other university students signed

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In April 2015, myself and four other university students signed a contract to rent a house in Manchester for 12 months (two month retainer and ten month full rent) for the forthcoming academic year. We paid in postdated cheques for the year of which two have been due and cashed (the deposit and rent for July, August and September).
However due to unforeseen circumstances (Changing University) I will now be unable to live at the house. Having spoken to the landlord he allowed me to find another tenant to take my place.
I took full responsibility for finding an alternative tenant. I advertised, communicated and conducted viewings. I then presented the details of prospective students to the landlord.
However when it was getting serious with one potential student, in the concluding stages off the process he phoned and said he was taking the deposit as an administration fee (for amending the contract and phone calls with myself and a potential tenant).
I expressed disbelief but my dependency on his sanctioning prevented me from further questioning his sudden proposition.
The landlord implied he had the authority to take the whole years rent and had the choice not to allow a replacement tenant.
Is it a legitimate reason having lost no rent that he can take my deposit? Should the deposit have been deposited into a third party scheme such as the DPS? What course of action should I take?
Thank you in advance
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
When was the AST due to begin?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo

Retainer level of rent over July and August with the full rent starting from September.

He can't keep the deposit as an admin fee. He is entitled to charge something for administration but it is nothing like the sum of the deposit.
If another tenant is available to replace you then he has suffered no loss in rent or really any costs in advertising the property again. If he chooses not to accept that tenant then he cannot charge you rent unless he has a really good reason for not accepting them - like their application is wholly unsuitable.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear Jo,

Thank you for your advice.

I paid for the advertising. The prospective tenants are paying for the length of their contract up front. He has amended an existing contract, sent a couple of emails and made a few calls.

What would be a suitable amount for him to charge for administration?

If he hasn't deposited the deposit in a DPS style scheme, how can I challenge his decision?

Thank you

It depends what the admin has cost him. Less than £50 certainly.
The only way to recover is to sue at the small claims court if the deposit is not already in a scheme.
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