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Return of Full Deposit Issue - very long (sorry!)

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Hi All,

 

Am new to the forum but pretty sure there wont have been a case identical to this one so far.

 

Starting at the beginning, my friend and her ex partner took at a one year lease on a basement flat and handed over a £595 deposit. They didn’t sign a full inventory but did sign a single sheet which stated:

“Condition of the property:

The flat has been newly decorated and a brand new carpet laid in the bedroom. The property has been professionally cleaned.

It is agreed by both parties that the flat will come back in similar condition at the end of the term. “

It was signed by her ex partner and the land lord.

4 months on they split, he moved out and she approached the landlord asking for a surrender. He agreed but said any “out of pocket expenses” would have to be covered. We have this in email from him.

 

He later emailed stating that he had found a tenant so no agency fees would be applicable. When can the tenant view the flat etc.

She moved out of her flat and into a new one. She gave it a good clean before she moved out but didn’t clean it professionally. It was, in her opinion, of an equal standard to when she moved in. The tenancy agreement states that the flat must be professionally cleaned at least once each year, but they only stayed in it for 6 months.

A week after moving out, having not heard from the LL, she emailed him asking about deposit. He said it would be returned “when he got chance” and he would be charging her £200 due to the state of the flat “and the time I have spent running around arranging a new tenant”.

 

I have been constructing emails for her to send on so to this end he believes all correspondence has come from her, though I am sure he suspects she is getting advice. The only other thing is that he emailed her and called her one afternoon when I was unavailable saying that if she didn’t accept then he would not return any of the money. She foolishly did accept via email, but followed it up shortly after (when I heard about it) with an email saying she would still require a breakdown of the £200 and copies of receipts for any work/cleaning carried out.

 

What I need to clarify is:

The entire flat is owned by him and he rents each floor out to different tenants. Each flat is self contained and there was no communal entrance to her flat. However, I am told that his Grandmother lives in one of the flats. Would this agreement qualify as an assured shorthold tenancy? The reason I ask is because we’re 99% he never protected the bond, so if it is an AST and he didn’t protect the bond then we could potentially have him over a barrel.

 

The second point is, does the “inventory” qualify and would it stand up in court as proving the state of the flat when she moved in. No photos have been taken either before or after she moved out so it is his word against hers.

 

Finally, does the email accepting the return of £395 (which was followed up with a SEPARATE email asking for receipts) indemnify him of any claims and could it be deemed as full and final acceptance?

 

Thanks for your help and sorry about the length!

 

Any other details you need please ask.

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Each flat is self-contained. No communal areas (such as kitchen or bathroom) are shared. It is an AST - and it should have said as much - does she have a copy? It should also contain a clause saying where the deposit was protected. The fact that his grandmother lives in one of the other flats is totally irrelevant. If LL tries to say this means it is not an AST, he is trying it on and has no idea about tenancy law.

 

My suggestion is that your friend writes to LL stating that the tenancy was an assured shorthold tenancy and as such, the deposit should have been protected in one of the government-approved schemes. State that unless the full balance of the deposit is returned within 7 days, she will pursue LL for the balance of the deposit, plus the 3xdeposit penalty for non-compliance with the deposit protection legislation. The main point here is that LL MUST BELIEVE YOU WILL DO THIS.You must convince him you are not bluffing - and you should be aware that if you do go down this route it may be expensive if you lose.


Kentish Lass

Information given is based on my knowledge and experience and is not to be considered as legal advice

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