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Mutrie2001
22-04-2008, 13:32 PM
A tenant has left one of my properties without paying the final 2 months rent and as such my letting agent has forwarded me the tenants deposit. However, when they have done so they have taken their usual management fee % off, is this normal? Shouldn't the deposit come to me in full?

Any feedback greatly appreciated.

kayak
22-04-2008, 13:56 PM
I belive there is a similar thread on this.

I am almost certain that they are not allowed to do this as any deductions need to be agreed with the tenant.

However, if they have said to the relevant deposit scheme that the tenant has lost their deposit due to arrears and this had all been agreed then I would assume that this can then be treated as rent, and then they would take their management fees.

I'm not sure on the legalities of all of this but I am sure someone will have a more definite answer.

Kind regards,

John

agent46
22-04-2008, 14:25 PM
Leaving aside the TDP issues, and without sight of the contract between the LL and the agent, I think the agent may have been justified in deducting fees from the deposit because the deposit, in effect, became "rent."

attilathelandlord
22-04-2008, 14:31 PM
Unfortunately the deposit only becomes rent if the contract states that it is so. If the contract merely states that the deposit is for damage to the property only, then that is what should happen.

However, in practice the deposit would be used as rent and agents being what they are would (correctly) argue that their fee is due, whatever the tenants do or don't do, unless you have a clause in the agent's T&Cs which give a reduction if the T goes early.

If the deposit is in the government scheme, then previous threads lead me to believe that deposit is paid back to the tenant and then the landlord must sue for unpaid rent.

Or will the government scheme allow deductions from the deposit for unpaid rent as long as the AST allows for this? Can't be bothered to look it up this pm.

alderney
22-04-2008, 14:41 PM
I work for a media company and recently moved into a property that is owned by one of my superiors.
He provided me with a tenancy agreement a month after I moved in. I didn't sign the agreement because various things that had been agreed verbally didn't appear in black and white.
However, since then we have had a major dispute at work and he has decided to switch the goalposts completely.
He now says I must pay a deposit, having originally said he would waive it, and has decreased the length of the lease from six months to three.
I haven't signed anything yet and genuinely don't know what my next move should be. I don't have the money for the deposit lying around and, in truth, don't want to give it to him anyway.
My plan is to move out of the property at the first available opportunity. If that arises quickly, what will I have to pay, if anything, bearing in mind a contract hasn't been signed?

attilathelandlord
22-04-2008, 14:46 PM
If you don't have a signed agreement, then you will automatically have a 6 months oral fixed AST.

If there is no written contract demanding deposit and he allowed you to move in without a deposit then you don't have to pay a deposit.

Landlord can't reduce a statutory 6months AST to 3 months.

Likewise, you can't leave without penalty before the fixed term of 6 months is up.

Most he could make you pay is the amount of rent due from the day you move out till a) he either finds a new tenant or b) the end of the fixed term.

You'll probably find you'll be looking for a new job also.

agent46
22-04-2008, 15:08 PM
Unfortunately the deposit only becomes rent if the contract states that it is so. .

I've yet to see a tenancy under which the deposit is not held as security against breach of any obligations.

In any event, even if the deposit is not, strictly speaking, held in that manner, then if the tenant sued for the return of the deposit, the landlord would have a complete defence to the action by way of set-off in respect of the unpaid rent.

In the end, it all amounts to the same thing......

Again, that reasoning doesn't take TDP into the equation as no doubt the Johnnies who administer the Custodial Scheme would have their own overzealous ideas on what to do....

alderney
22-04-2008, 15:16 PM
If you don't have a signed agreement, then you will automatically have a 6 months oral fixed AST.

If there is no written contract demanding deposit and he allowed you to move in without a deposit then you don't have to pay a deposit.

Landlord can't reduce a statutory 6months AST to 3 months.

Likewise, you can't leave without penalty before the fixed term of 6 months is up.

Most he could make you pay is the amount of rent due from the day you move out till a) he either finds a new tenant or b) the end of the fixed term.

You'll probably find you'll be looking for a new job also.

Thanks very much for that. What would happen if I didn't sign a tenancy agreement and wanted to leave in a few weeks? Would I have to pay for six months or just cover the rent for the amount of time I've been there?

attilathelandlord
22-04-2008, 15:19 PM
I did actually cover that in my first reply.

If you haven't signed anything then BY LAW you have a oral 6 months fixed period AST and therefore cannot just walk away without penalty in the same way that your landlord can't vary the terms.

alderney
22-04-2008, 15:22 PM
I did actually cover that in my first reply.

If you haven't signed anything then BY LAW you have a oral 6 months fixed period AST and therefore cannot just walk away without penalty in the same way that your landlord can't vary the terms.

I see. Thanks for clearing that up. One more thing. We orally agreed I would pay £600 a month but again, nothing has been signed. Do I have to pay him £600 or do I have a right to re-negotiate?

attilathelandlord
22-04-2008, 15:27 PM
No, you agreed £600 a month but there's no reason why you can't try and negotiate but if the landlord doesn't agree a discount then there's little you can do. Fixed term means exactly that, none of the terms can be varied without agreement by both parties.