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Landlord keeping £200 of the deposit 'just in case' its needed..

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Hi everyone,


Hope I can get a little bit of advice again regarding my mother in laws tenancy, which has ended. She moved out of the house a few weeks ago and has complied with all the landlords wishes ie-cleaned the carpets etc. They have also charged her £70 for a fumigator to do the house because she had cats there, which was fine by her, but now, after struggling to get her deposit, they have told her she can have it back, but they are holding £200 of it in case there are any flea eggs left, to which she can have it back in six months time. The cats were always treated, so that shouldn't be a problem, but if they turn round and say she can't have the £200 back, can she ask for proof of what they are using the money for? Her bond is in a deposit scheme as far as I am aware, so could she go through them to make sure the landlord isn't keeping her money unnecessarily?


Many thanks for your invaluable help! Steve

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What does the contract say. If contract says it should be returned in 14 days then it should be returned. If not, I'm not sure. In absence of anything specific in the contract, and given that it is MinLaws money I would guess they are not entitled to keep it.


I would also point out to them that should flea eggs happen to be there after some time it would be hard for them to prove that they were a) from MinLaw's cats, and if they were it is the fumigator company that should be dealing with it.


Is the deposit protected?

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My comments only apply if the premises are entirely within England, and your relative was granted a shorthold tenancy (under which she had exclusive use of a separate dwelling, which was not shared with another tenant nor with the landlord), and she was over 18 years of age when the tenancy was granted, and the rent is less than £8,333 per month.


This posting is supplemental to the information in this forum's "sticky" threads and is NOT to be read in isolation.



Tenancy Deposit Scheme


The landlord or agent must pay the deposit into the custodial deposit protection scheme, or hold it in a separate account protected by a relevant insurance scheme.


The tenancy agreement must state which scheme is to be used, and the circumstances in which all or part of the deposit can be withheld at the end of the tenancy.



Alternative Dispute Resolution


If it is a shorthold tenancy, where there is a dispute concerning disrepair at the end of the tenancy the following matters apply.


If the deposit paid by the tenant is currently still protected within an authorised TDS Scheme, the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) - who administer all TDS Schemes - offer an alternative procedure for resolving disputes, to save you having to go to court.


They have issued a guide, explaining the disputes procedure they provide:


A Guide to Tenancy Deposit disputes and damages


Where a deposit is protected by being placed in the TDS scheme, if a dispute arises at the end of the tenancy (e.g. over alleged disrepair) the parties can choose to resolve it by this procedure instead of going to court (but must begin the procedure within a time limit).


Both the landlord and the tenant must agree to use the DPS disputes procedure. It cannot be initiated by only one of them. But it can be MUCH cheaper than a court case. The alternative is to sue in the County Court.



Further information: Deposit Protection Service (DPS) website



This is a self-help forum in which users share their experiences. Assistance is offered informally, without any assumption of liability. Use your own judgement; obtain advice from a qualified and insured professional if you have any doubts.


This posting gives general guidance only. It is not an authoritative statement of the law. Consult a Solicitor for specific advice before deciding on any course of action.



Further information:


Assured and Shorthold tenancies - A guide for tenants


Renting and Leasehold - Advice from Shelter



All posts are opinion only



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