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Terri
31-03-2009, 13:39 PM
I am due to move out of a room I have been renting in my landlady's home this weekend. I have had exclusive occupation of the room, with a requirement for the landlady to provide 72 hours written notice if she wishes to inspect the room, have had the right to refuse entry without this notice or to reschedule the inspection to a day and time which suits me and must be present at any inspection (all laid out in the contract), but I must allow inspections to occur provided the above is fulfilled (this also applies to viewings for re-letting). My contract is a mish-mash of an AST agreement and the landlady's own clauses. As such, I am not sure if I am a lodger or an excluded occupier (not sure if this affects my issue below).

I have two issues :

1. I gave a month's written notice of my intention to end the contract, given on 09.03.09, so the last day of my occupation is 09.04.09. I informed my landlady that I would move out on 04.04.09 and 05.04.09 but would pay the rent up to 09.04.09. My rent is due (pro rata) on 01.04.09 but my landlady has now informed me that someone will be moving into my room on 06.04.09. I was hoping to keep the room for an extra few days in case there were problems with moving out (I am relying on friends for transport). As she has effectively broken the contract by renting my room out before I have surrendered it can I still be held responsible for the rent for those days or am I only liable for rent up until 06.04.09? (I know it is only a few days but I have had numerous problems with this woman and dislike the idea of her having more of my money than she has the right to).


2. When I moved in no inventory was carried out. There were a few problems with the room (like torn wallpaper, a few small stains on the carpet, a decorative piece almost broken off the bed - this fell off completely within a week of me moving in etc...) which I mentioned to the landlady but she has a tendency to acknowledge something then later deny it. I have issued stain remover on the carpet and reduced the size of the stain but cannot get it all off, and will be gluing the decoration back to the bed. These issues were not my fault and were there at the start of my occupation, but I think she will dispute this. As there is no inventory neither of us can prove either way, so am I right in telling her that she should return my full deposit?


Sorry for the length of this post, and thanks for any help you can give.

Poppy
31-03-2009, 14:49 PM
Why did you complicate things by giving notice until 9th and then telling your landlady that you would move out by the 5th? If you kept quiet, this problem would not have arisen.

You need to communicate with your landlady. Discuss paying rent up to the 5th which is presumably intended to be your last day. Hopefully this would suit both of you.

Also find out what, if any, issues your landlady wants you to rectify before you vacate. Do this sooner, rather than later.

Bel
31-03-2009, 15:58 PM
You are an excluded tenant.

You should try to negotiate that she returns the 3 days rent or lets you store your things in the room until the end of the notice.

Do not TELL her that she must return all the deposit until you have discussed it amicably. I suggest you ask her now before you leave about the carpet and bed etc. It will be harder for her to take advantage of you face to face. Say you have taken advice on this and think you are not being unreasonable.

Otherwise you can sue her through the courts for the return of the deposit after you have gone, if it's worth it.

But maybe you will come to an understanding that you leave 3 days early and get a full deposit refund as a 'compromise', and no rent refund.

Terri
31-03-2009, 16:17 PM
With regards to complicating things, the weekend is easier to move out on as I have more time, but I did say to her that I would be surrendering the tenancy on the 9th. I did re-read the letter of notice I gave her, just to chech it was clear, and as far as I am concerned it is completely clear. She informed me that the check-out would be on the Sunday, whereas I was expecting it to be on the 9th and she has told me I need to return the keys for the new lodger to move in on the Monday. So, maybe I am being awkward here but she's the one who is basically forcing me to surrender the tenancy earlier than I agreed. The only reason I told her I would be moving my possessions on the weekend was because I will be having people help me and I saw it as common courtesy to let her know that others would be in the house.

She has told me that she will be cleaning the room on the Monday before the new lodger arrives, but I told her that I saw that as my responsibility and I would be returning the room to the state I was given it. She said this was fine, but then sent a letter saying she would have someone inspect it on the Sunday before she can decide whether to return my deposit. I spoke to her and asked what issues she thought there might be, apart from cleaning, as I had not damaged anything and she was aware of previous damage, to which she replied that she is certain I have broken something.

I know you are only getting one side of the story here, but I have great references from other landlords and have even been offered an extension on a tenancy at below market value rates because the landlord was so happy with me. I haven't caused any issues in this property, and there have been many (such as not being given hot water or heating for a month in February, having all my food thrown out of cupboards, my room being entered without permission and things taken, being woken up at in the early morning by my landlady banging on my door and screaming at me.... and those are the minor issues). My doctor has reported that I am suffering from stress because of my living conditions and her erratic behaviour and I have constantly spoken to her and a family member of hers, trying to sort these issues out, and it doesn't work.

She originally agreed to refund some money I had spent on improving her house (fixing a washing machine, fixing a shower, having the internet installed, purchasing airing facilities, contributing to the cost of new flooring in a communal area as she couldn't afford it on her own and it needed to get sorted - and then claiming the area was not communal and I had no right to use it), and then changed her mind and said all my costs were of my own choosing and she would not give the money back. As I had nothing in writing, I chose not to persue those costs, although if it goes to court I may well do so. As a result, petty as it may, I do not want her to have another penny out of me that I do not have to give her. I have tried being civil and working this out and she either will not give me an answer or gives me one and then tells her family member something different, and will not provide anything in writing "on legal advice".


Sorry, I'm rambling here, I'm just fuming at the way I have let myself be treated! Basically, from the sound of it, I have tried all the standard ways, compromising and discussions etc... and nothing is working, so I may possibly have to pay the full rent, wait to see if she gives me my deposit back, and if not take legal action (luckily I have a lawyer lined up for free already).

Thanks