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Joy Nicholas
Joy Nicholas, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 668
Experience:  Lawyer
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I rented a flat that I needed to vacate early due to job

Customer Question

I rented a flat that I needed to vacate early due to job relocation. The landlord didn't place any objections but when trying to get my deposit back, objected and wanted me to continue paying an additional two months rent, which was the entirety of my deposit. I disagreed with this as new tenants took over the apartment the second I left. I know, because I handed them the key. This was Aug 4th. Aug 5th when I contacted the electricity company to close out my account, I was told the new tenants had taken over the account. When the amount of my deposit when to dispute resolution, the landlord is claiming tenants didn't move in until Sept 1st so he's being awarded a month's rent. I have to prove in writing that this is obviously wrong because new tenants started moving in the day I gave them the keys, and obviously they took over the utilities. I contacted power NI who provides the service and despite them having told verbally, that the new tenants had taken over on Aug 5th,they refuse to provide any written proof to this effect. Any way I can get proof of the utilities under new tenants Aug 5th, to dispute landlords lies that the apartment sat empty until Sept 1st? Because after all, why would new tenants take over utilities for a month they weren't living at or responsible for a property
Assistant: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: I rented in northern ireland, in town called hillsborough
Assistant: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?
Customer: The apartment was handed over in pristine condition. The contract was til Sept 26th,but I had told the landlord in May that I woukd unfortunately need to leave in July because my job situation changed and I had to move away, and because I'm foreign and here on a visa that needs to be supported by my job, I had no choice but to move away. He didn't object. And even in an email he agreed to let me pay and stay up until Aug 1st when my apartment in scotland where I moved to wasn't ready. When I left and I asked about getting my deposit back, that was the very first time ever he objected.
Assistant: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I have gone through the dispute resolution process with tds who held the deposit. They emailed me today saying the adjucator is siding with the landlord keeping a month's worth of rent on my deposit because he's claiming tenants didn't take over until Sept 1st,so they think he's suffered loss for the month of August. Again, new tenants got keya and had sole access in Aug, from the moment I left and put utilities under their name Aug 5th,so they're saying I need to provide proof in writing but the utilities doesn't want to provide me with written proof of what they verbally told me.
Submitted: 14 days ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Joy Nicholas replied 14 days ago.
Hi, thank you for your message. Can I confirm do you still have access to your online account for the Bill's if you had one originally?
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
No i dont have access. My bills were set on automatic withdrawals to my bank, and I received paper copies of everything. I just called them to close the account with the final meter readings. But I did nothing online
Expert:  Joy Nicholas replied 13 days ago.

Hi, thank you for your message. The next stage for you will be to take legal action.

1) write your landlord a letter before claim. Setting out your claim and what you agreed. Attach any evidence you may have. At the end of the letter state that if you do not hear back in 14 days you will take legal action.

2) If you would like to instruct a solicitor to write the letter for you I would recommend that you contact a solicitor using the law society find a solicitor function here : https://solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk/ You will be able to search by specialism and also town or postcode to find one near you.

3) You can also contact your local citizens advice bureau who may be able to help you draft a letter. Contact your local citizens advice bureau using this link: www.citizensadvice.org.uk

4) You might be able to find a pro bono lawyer by attending a LawWorks Clinic. The LawWorks Clinics Network is a network of free legal advice sessions that LawWorks (the Solicitors Pro Bono Group) supports. For more information and to find a network near you please visit the following website: https://www.lawworks.org.uk/legal-advice-individuals/find-legal-advice-clinic-near-you

You could also visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau ( For more information please visit: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/) or Personal Support Unit for advice about a legal problem (For more information please visit: https://www.thepsu.org/)

5) write a letter to NI asking for a written confirmation that your account has been closed and the date that the account was switched over. At the end of the letter state that if you do not hear back in 14 days you will complain to an ombudsman. You can find an ombudsman for your claim here:https://www.ombudsmanassociation.org/find-an-ombudsman.php

The ombudsman will investigate the matter and seek to make things right.

I hope this helps if you can please accept my answer, there will be a box to do so and give me a five star rating for answering your question top right corner of your screen and just answer will then credit me for helping you today.

 

 

Expert:  Joy Nicholas replied 12 days ago.

I hope all is well! I would appreciate if you can please accept my answer, there will be a box to do so and give me a five star rating for answering your question top right corner of your screen otherwise I receive no credit for helping you.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Thank you for you're response. I'm wondering if you can also help me with an additional question. I'm canadian, and where I am from and in all the countries I've lived, if you are responsible for rent, then I would have kept sole access to the property. In this case I'm being made to essentially pay rent for a time where new tenants took over and had sole access to the apartment with the sole key i had asked to be turned over to them. Is there no legal statue somewhere in writing that outlines that if I'm to be responsible for rent that I then should have kept access to the apartment in question?
Expert:  Joy Nicholas replied 11 days ago.

I hope all is well! I would appreciate if you can please accept my answer to your original question there will be a box to do so and give me a five star rating for answering your question top right corner of your screen otherwise I receive no credit for helping you.