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westminster
28-10-2009, 14:49 PM
I received the following message in my private inbox. Am reprinting here so that everyone can view and comment:



I am an accidental landlord (a complete novice) and decided at the end of last month I didn't really enjoy being a landlord and that I wanted to sell up. I went to see my tenant and informed her of my plans, she was happy enough and said that she had guessed anyway.

Within a week she informed me that she had found somewhere else to live and that she needed the deposit back asap because she was moving out. I informed her that it was lodged with the DPS and that I would investigate how to get the money released as it was a completely new process to me also. I rang the DPS and explained the situation and they suggested to me that I request the money be returned to me and that I advise my tenant of the same. That way she wouldn't have to wait 2 weeks from the end of her tenancy to get her money. I rang my tenant and emphasised that it was her choice but that this is what had been advised to me over the phone. She told me that she was more than happy to do this as she would be leaving the property before the end of the lease and that she'd had to borrow the money of other people.

I haven't badgered her at all other than to say that I am expecting the house back in the condition that she took it over in according to the inventory.

She has already informed the council that she is no longer living there and passed on responsibility for the council tax to me - I have sorted this and now have the house listed as vacant and hence exempt from tax however, she also informed the water supply company and intended that I should pay for the bill - once again I have informed them that she does not intend to give me back the keys until Thursday of this week and they will be adjusting her bill accordingly.

She had now made an appointment with me to do the deposit inspection check and to give me back my keys on Thursday 29th Oct 2009 only if I give her cleared funds. I have no issue with returning her deposit in full on the condition that the house is in good order but more alarmingly have discovered this afternoon that she has not paid her water sewage bill on the property since she moved into the property on 29/10/08!! I have no idea about the other bills either.

What concerns me (and I'm worrying myself stupid because I think it will as she is not the most pleasant of people) is that I might have to pay her 3x the deposit because it is no longer in the DPS and all I was doing was trying to get the money released so that she could get it sooner if she left before the month was up.

Can you advise me on what to do to protect myself and a property that I'm trying to sell if she doesn't pay the bills and I give her back the deposit on Thursday?

westminster
28-10-2009, 15:02 PM
Firstly, don't worry about the utilities bills - they are T's responsibility. Just contact all the suppliers to make sure they have details of the T's name and the dates of the tenancy. Give them the T's forwarding address (and make sure you get this from T if you don't have it yet).

A few questions:
1. Did you provide T with the prescribed information re the deposit protection?
2. Did you sign an agreement with the T regarding the early surrender of the tenancy? (If not, prepare something for T and to sign tomorrow, saying you both agree to an early surrender).
3. Have you arranged an inventory check-out for tomorrow with you and T present? What are you planning to do if you discover any significant damage?

jta
28-10-2009, 15:04 PM
The deposit would only have been released from DPS with the consent of the tenant, so that's nothing to worry about. The utility companies should all be informed of when the tenant actually moves out. The most you can do is provide a forwarding address, It's their problem to chase up unpaid bills.

Only return the deposit if you are really happy that there are no issues outstanding that might need to be paid for out of it.

squaine1
28-10-2009, 15:45 PM
Hi

Yes, I did provide the T withthe prescribed information re the deposit protection scheme. I'm not sure what you mean by question 2? As for q3 yes, I have the original inventory that she signed which we will go through tomorrow. I don't know what to do re any damage - I'm so thrown by the whole cleared funds and the fact that the bills haven't been paid that this hasn't really concerned me. When I informed her that she would have to pay for the water until Thursday, she said that we'd have to sort out how much electricity and water I had used there in her absence. Yes, I have been there in her absence but with her knowledge but have not used any electricity or water - I wouldn't want someone to use my electricity/water without permission so didn't do it to her. I'm worried sick about this whole mess and only wish I could turn the clock back a year. I've always, always been as fair as I possilby could be with her and now feel that everything is backfiring on me.


Firstly, don't worry about the utilities bills - they are T's responsibility. Just contact all the suppliers to make sure they have details of the T's name and the dates of the tenancy. Give them the T's forwarding address (and make sure you get this from T if you don't have it yet).

A few questions:
1. Did you provide T with the prescribed information re the deposit protection?
2. Did you sign an agreement with the T regarding the early surrender of the tenancy? (If not, prepare something for T and to sign tomorrow, saying you both agree to an early surrender).
3. Have you arranged an inventory check-out for tomorrow with you and T present? What are you planning to do if you discover any significant damage?

westminster
28-10-2009, 16:21 PM
Hi
Yes, I did provide the T with the prescribed information re the deposit protection scheme.
I honestly don't think you have anything to worry about re the deposit. You fully complied with protection and released it early with the consent of the tenant.


I'm not sure what you mean by question 2?
Well, I read your original post as meaning that you had cut short the tenancy, i.e. agreed to end it before the fixed term had expired? and/or not given T the legal two month's notice required? Or did I read this wrong and in fact the T gave you notice to quit?


As for q3 yes, I have the original inventory that she signed which we will go through tomorrow. I don't know what to do re any damage - I'm so thrown by the whole cleared funds and the fact that the bills haven't been paid that this hasn't really concerned me.
As I said, you're not responsible for the utilities. If you discover any significant damage, then obviously you can't ascertain the exact cost of remedial work on the spot, so I would suggest withholding at least a portion of the deposit which you think will more than cover the damage, pending getting exact quotes.


When I informed her that she would have to pay for the water until Thursday, she said that we'd have to sort out how much electricity and water I had used there in her absence. Yes, I have been there in her absence but with her knowledge but have not used any electricity or water - I wouldn't want someone to use my electricity/water without permission so didn't do it to her.
Even if you had turned on a light bulb, we're talking in the region of pennies. :rolleyes: Don't get drawn in to an argument about it.


I'm worried sick about this whole mess and only wish I could turn the clock back a year. I've always, always been as fair as I possilby could be with her and now feel that everything is backfiring on me.
You are worrying too much.

If you are feeling very anxious about tomorrow, I would consider taking a friend along to help boost your confidence.

squaine1
28-10-2009, 23:10 PM
Many, many thanks for all of your advice.


I honestly don't think you have anything to worry about re the deposit. You fully complied with protection and released it early with the consent of the tenant.


Well, I read your original post as meaning that you had cut short the tenancy, i.e. agreed to end it before the fixed term had expired? and/or not given T the legal two month's notice required? Or did I read this wrong and in fact the T gave you notice to quit?


As I said, you're not responsible for the utilities. If you discover any significant damage, then obviously you can't ascertain the exact cost of remedial work on the spot, so I would suggest withholding at least a portion of the deposit which you think will more than cover the damage, pending getting exact quotes.


Even if you had turned on a light bulb, we're talking in the region of pennies. :rolleyes: Don't get drawn in to an argument about it.


You are worrying too much.

If you are feeling very anxious about tomorrow, I would consider taking a friend along to help boost your confidence.

squaine1
29-10-2009, 19:22 PM
Yippee!!!!! All done. Everything went smoothly.:)


Many, many thanks for all of your advice.