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No contract.. no deposit?

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344 views 1 replies latest reply: 23 July 2015
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Tenant

Hello,
 
I am looking for assistance/guidance regarding my agent. I moved in a room in a two bed house on May 30th, and will be moving out July 27th. As I do not have a contract, and there are serious health and legal issues with the house, I believe I should get my entire deposit back. 
 
– I moved in May 30th, paying the deposit (600) and month of June upfront.
– Since then I have made several attempts to arrange the contract with the agent, all of which were not responded.
– My housemate and I have tried getting in touch with the agent about things needed for the house. All of our attempts were in vain. Some of the concerns we raised were: broken chest of drawers, lack of freezer, lack of microwave, moldy smell in living room, visible mold in the bathroom and garbage bins left outside for months. The last three items are extremely worrying safety and health hazards, and should be taken care of immediately. 
– There is no gas certificate for this house, which is a breech of building regulations.
– My housemate and I have received notes from Richburns stating that gas and electricity bills have been due since January and that they will send someone to force entry and install a meter or take property in the value of what is owed. This is extremely worrying as my housemate and I have never been contacted to have the bills taken care of, and I now feel extremely unsafe living here and leaving my things in the house.
– The fact that this property is on a personal mortgage agreement, but is being rented out.
– I notified the agent of my moving out on July 17th, and considering I don’t have a contract or a formal notice period, I would like my entire deposit back asap.
 
Could you please assist me in what sort of rights I have based on the information above? How could I go about receiving my deposit in full? What next steps should I take?
 
Regards,
Viviana.

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Administrator

Hi Vivi

If you don’t have a written tenancy then it makes everything rather unclear but you do still have a tenancy simply by virtue of paying your rent. Your rights and obligations are those set out by law.

Normally the tenancy would state whether or not gas and electricity are included as part of the rent. They usually aren’t which would make them your responsibility to pay if there was a written tenancy. However, (I’m not a lawyer), as far as I know there is no statutory obligation on a tenant to pay for gas and electricity so that responsibility would stay with the landlord.I would contact the debt collectors and make sure they know the debt is the landlord’s – give them his or her personal contact details and address.

In terms of the deposit, if there’s no contract then there’s no right for the landlord to make deductions from your deposit. That money belongs to you and the only way the landlord could make a deduction is if it was authorised by the tenancy agreement. As there’s no agreement, there’s no right to make deductions. If the landlord refuses to return it then you can make a claim against them for the return of the money and you will most likely succeed. The landlord would also have to explain to the court why there isn’t a tenancy agreement – courts don’t like landlords who do this. Perhaps start by sending a letter to the landlord (keeping a copy) setting out that you expect the deposit back in full within seven days or you will start proceedings against them. The Citizens Advice should be able to advise you on how to make a claim.

Alex

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