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Remus2004, Barrister
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 71133
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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My son moved into a shared rented property and realised immediately

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My son moved into a shared rented property and realised immediately it would not work. He had transferred the £1200 deposit plus £800 rent for the first month to the landlord's bank account but did not sign a tenancy agreement. He told the landlord within 48 hours that it would not work and that he would pay the rent for the first week but move out on day 6. The landlord agrees to return his deposit by cheque but only if he will attend her property to sign a receipt for it and plans to withhold the £800 for the whole month's rent. is this legal?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Is there any reason you think it may not be?
This is an AST I presume?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm fairly certain that without any written contract or agreement the withholding of any money other than one week's rent is illegal
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I do not know what you mean by AST
Assured shorthold tenancy agreement.
I'm afraid whoever has told you that a landlord can only withhold week is giving advice that you should no longer listen to ever again.
If this is an AST then your son is bound for the entire period of the AST which is probably six months. If he leaves the starting point is that he is liable for six months unless the landlord can find a replacement.
He is certainly entitled to withhold for one month. There is no prospect of recovering that and he could well be liable for another month I'm afraid.
Take the landlord's offer. This close to Christmas the landlord would struggle to find a replacement and your son would probably be liable for two months.
Sorry but I can only give you truthful information.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There is no signed agreement - they did discuss the terms and a two month notice period was part of the agreement but as it was not signed by either of them do these terms still stand? Thanks.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The other thing is her insistence upon him attending her to sign a receipt for the cheque for his deposit. He has provided her with prepaid recorded delivery postage to return the cheque to him by post, she refuses to do this and insists on attendance at her property in person. He does not want to deal with her again, and having met her nor do I as she is bonkers. Can she be compelled to return the deposit by post or bank transfer?
It doesn't matter. He moved in and an agreement exists.
The very best you could hope for is that a court would say he is a periodic tenant and not on an AST which doesn't change his liabilty.
It is reasonable that she wants a receipt although a cheque would create a receipt of it's own.
Ultimately you can't force her to do it by post but I suppose you could sue for the money but then you could end up paying her costs as she was always offering to pay. It won't come to that though.
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