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View Full Version : Taking money from deposit after tenant pulls out



Smithy100
30-03-2010, 10:09 AM
Hi there,
I have a house to let and was advertised last thursday. I had a few enquiries and arranged viewings. The first lady that came wanted the property straight away and said she would be paying 6 months upfront. She didnt want to move in till the 12th April, so i said inorder to hold the house i would need a deposit. So on saturday we met her again and she gave £400 deposit.
In the meantime i had rang another couple to say the house had gone.
The lady then rang me sunday stating her ex husband told her she must take the 2 dogs and a cat with her.
It clearly stated on the advert that pets were not allowed.
So we said we could not let her the house.
I met her last night to give her the deposit back but thought it only fair to hold £50 back to re-advertise the property.
She said i could not do this as she hadnt signed a contract, but surely verbal contract is suffice??
I thought £50 was very reasonable seen as she has lost me a tenant and i have to pay for re-advertising.
She is speaking to a solicitor.
Have i done the right thing??
Many thanks
Nicole

Snorkerz
30-03-2010, 10:30 AM
Unfortunately, unless the deposit receipt specified that any element of it was non-returnable then it will all be returnable.

mjbfire
30-03-2010, 11:25 AM
What you say, to me does some reasonable, but legally as snoker says unless you receipt say unreturnable you need to return it.

But I would also say I think you have had a lucky escape, due to how quick they got lawyers, envolved as CAB can give this advise for free.

There are some valid reasons why people want to pay three/six months ahead, but it never for the LL benefit and I think it more hussle. But LL see the £ sign and think their in a more secure position, but ony if they cover all the bases below and maybe more.

1) Money laundering reasons.
2) You always have to chase cheques.
3) If you don't do Id, referance checks and Credit checks you don't know who they are(Fake/Stolen Cheque).
4) Accounting is bit more of a pain.
5) If you don't do the paper work just right, they could claim that you have taken 5+ months depoist and therefore sue you not protecting the 5+ months.
whether this agruement would stand up in court is another matter, but would you like to fight with 15(5 months * 3) months rent at stake.

When you give her the money back, give her own cheque back or cash back if possible.
If you already banked it, don't give her any money back until her cheque is cleared.

Interlaken
30-03-2010, 11:59 AM
I wonder if there always was another angle? - if she had mentioned the animals at the outset you would not have seen her but introducing them after you had her money may have made you more likely to carry on and sign an AST.

fletchj
30-03-2010, 12:21 PM
Whilst the above is undoubtedly legally correct I think the practical answer may be simpler. It seems to me you can go one of three ways.

1) Give her back the 400 because its only 50 quid and life is too short.

2) Show her a cheque for 350 and say you can have this now if you sign this piece of paper that says this is in full and final settlement and if she refuses to sign you will see her in court and will defend the action on the basis the deposit was non returnable, you will probably lose but she may well decide that 350 quid in the hand is worth more than 400 in the bush.

3) Return 350 quid to her and invite her to sue you for the outstanding 50 knowing that it will cost her almost that to sue you via small claims, certainly in hassle and in practice she probably won't bother.

mjbfire
30-03-2010, 12:36 PM
I would go with option (1) life to short and if you go to court you may have to pay costs. So give her all of it back.

As said in the post above, I think you would have got away lightly and that Interlaken is right about the pets, but if you had agreed to let her the P, on a lie what else will she lie about.

Have a search around the internet there are a few forms available.

p_cas
30-03-2010, 13:45 PM
As an aside to this, what's the point of taking a deposit if it's fully returnable if either party pulls out?

Snorkerz
30-03-2010, 13:49 PM
As an aside to this, what's the point of taking a deposit if it's fully returnable if either party pulls out?There is no point in taking a deposit unless the landlord makes it a condition that some or all of it is non-refundable. In this instance (sorry OP) it is the landlords fault because he didn't know what his obliations were.

Smithy100
31-03-2010, 08:24 AM
Thanks for all your responses. There was no receipt given as i was placing the money straight into the protection scheme, and we did clearly point out to her the deposit was to hold the house, as we had other people wanting it, and if she wanted it then she must pay this.
I agree with the comment about she must have known about the animals and was trying her luck with this.
I gave her the £350 on sunday so i suppose i will just have to wait and see.
I will know for next time to give a receipt stating its non refundable.

Snorkerz
31-03-2010, 08:52 AM
Thanks for all your responses. There was no receipt given as i was placing the money straight into the protection scheme, and we did clearly point out to her the deposit was to hold the house, as we had other people wanting it, and if she wanted it then she must pay this.
I agree with the comment about she must have known about the animals and was trying her luck with this.
I gave her the £350 on sunday so i suppose i will just have to wait and see.
I will know for next time to give a receipt stating its non refundable.If you took the money as a tenancy deposit then it is even more clear-cut that it should have been refunded in full as there are only certain costs that can be taken from a tenancy deposit.

Charles19
31-03-2010, 10:19 AM
If you took the money as a tenancy deposit then it is even more clear-cut that it should have been refunded in full as there are only certain costs that can be taken from a tenancy deposit.

Are you sayimg here that even if a document was used and signed by tenant stating this deposit was being taken for property XXX on a "Non -returnable basis" that it would not have been of use to hold back a reasonable amount as in this case?
Chas.

Charles19
31-03-2010, 10:22 AM
Are you sayimg here that even if a document was used and signed by tenant stating this deposit was being taken for property XXX on a "Non -returnable basis" that it would not have been of use to hold back a reasonable amount as in this case?
Chas.
To clarify - this was simply a holding deposit subject to the AST being finalised i.e. so it was taken to secure the property on a "non--returnable" basis BEFORE the AST was completed and a normal deposit provided for this other reason. Obviously a normal property deposit has to be returnable at end of AST.

Snorkerz
31-03-2010, 10:33 AM
To clarify - this was simply a holding deposit subject to the AST being finalised i.e. so it was taken to secure the property on a "non--returnable" basis BEFORE the AST was completed and a normal deposit provided for this other reason. Obviously a normal property deposit has to be returnable at end of AST.OP stated that the deposit was being put into a tenancy deposit scheme - hence my comments.