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Unprotected deposit

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447 views 1 replies latest reply: 08 August 2015
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Tenant

Hello everyone,

We woud like to know more about our rights regardind a moving out. Our landlord wants to keep £800 on our deposit for repairs he has to do in the house. He told us that even if we weren’t responsible for those damages, we were “liable”…

For instance, he wants us to pay £400 in order to change carpets (those carpets are 8 years old…) £100 for rusty ventitian blinds (those blinds are 8 years old and are rusty cause the window of the bathroom isn’t hermetic and the all room was super humid.. fact that I’ve told him a few time but he didn’t take any action)…

Moreover, a few facts : (a) we didn’t sign the contract (he never answered to our email asking him to come and sign the contract) (b) we didn’t do an inventory (ditto) (c) he didn’t secure our deposit.

Can you please tell me what can we do ? If he doesn’t make us a more reasonable proposition, can we put pressure on him regarding that un protected deposit ?

Many thanks for your help (I am not a native speaker and don’t know my rights in the UK, I can’t really defend myself face to face with him so I really need to know which are my rights)

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Administrator

Hi Maria

Normally, as the landlord has not protected your deposit you would be able to take him to court and claim the entire deposit back, plus compensation of 1-3 times the amount of the deposit. As you don’t have a signed tenancy I’m not 100% sure of the position (I’m not a lawyer). However, I know that there is a rule that a short term tenancy doesn’t always have to be evidenced in writing if the tenant has signed a tenancy agreement prepared by the landlord (or his agent) and goes into possession, even if the landlord hasn’t signed it. Plus, there’s the fact that the landlord is acting as if the tenancy exists, which is probably also in your favour.

In terms of what your landlord is trying to take from your deposit, the deposit is only for damage. Replacing carpets, decorating etc is not what the deposit is for UNLESS you have damaged those carpets (for example with a stain or a burn). Even then, the concept of ‘betterment’ means that the landlord cannot put themselves in a better position at the end of the tenancy than the start. So, if they started with 8 year old carpets, they can’t use your deposit to buy brand new ones. 

It sounds like your landlord is trying his luck. As I said, I’m not a lawyer but I would put something in writing, dated and signed that sets out that it is a legal requirement for landlords to protect a deposit at the start of the tenancy and to notify the tenant that this has been done within 30 days. As this has not happened, tell the landlord you will be seeking the return of the entire deposit via the courts, as well as the compensation you’re entitled to as it hasn’t been protected. Offer the landlord whatever contribution you feel is fair to any damage you have done as an alternative to taking court action. If the landlord doesn’t return your deposit then take them to court – this is how you do it.

Alex

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