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View Full Version : Ex tenant demanding £, legal advice please



EH11
22-01-2008, 18:32 PM
Hi,

I was recently contacted by my previous tenant who is looking for a partial refund on his final months rent. The 6 month STA was due to expire on 26 November, he gave me nearly 2 months notice prior to this letting me know he had bought a property and would not be renewing the lease. They subsequently let me know that they would be moving out at the beginning of November. As we had a contract, i asumed he would pay up to the end of the lease; we exchanged keys, took meter reading etc, job done as far as I was concerned.

I managed to re-let the property quickly as it's a nice flat and my current tenant moved in on 11 November. I heard nothing from the old tenant until recently when he wrote to me claiming that as the property was in his name until 26 November, and i had re-let the flat, that he should be refunded 2 weeks rent. Does my ex tenant have a case here given that we had exchanged keys and he no longer stayed in the property?

I guess, had I not managed to re-let so quickly, he wouldn't have considered claiming, however i'm not sure legally where I stand on this? Because I had managed to let it, does he now become entitled to a refund?

Additonally, given that i had previously had a good relationship with the tenant and as he gave me plenty of notice, I decided not to pursue him for the cost of re-decorating a couple of rooms in the flat which were jaded as a result of smoking and replacing a carpet which had become quite marked during the period of the tenancy.

I'd be grateful if someone could clarify the legal position here. Can the tenant claim that 2 weeks rent should be returned and equally, can I offset the renovation I carried out on the back of his tenancy?

Thanks in advance.

Beeber
22-01-2008, 19:30 PM
If you issued an AST after 06 April 2007, you were required by law to lodge the deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. The penalty for not doing so, should your tenant take you to court via the small claims process, is to refund the tenant x3 the value of the deposit. Did this apply to you and if so, did you protect the deposit?

If you don't have a dual signed inventory in place, you probably also won't have a leg to stand on should you also be challenged in court for any deductions since you won't be able to prove the condition of the property and that they were responsible. Did you have a signed inventory?

And, no, my understanding is taht you can't have your cake and eat it by charging both the outgoing and incoming tenant simultaneously for the same period.

P.Pilcher
22-01-2008, 19:31 PM
I believe that the legal position is that the tenant is expected to pay the rent due to the end of the fixed period of his AST. When a tenant vacates early and gives the landlord due notice, the landlord is expected to use his "best endeavours" to find a replacement tenant. Should a new tenant be found, take up residence and start paying rent before the original tenant's AST expired, then the original tenant is not liable to pay this rent as well. i.e. the landlord is not entitled to claim double rent. However, the landlord IS entitled to claim from the original tenant the reasonable costs of finding the replacement.
The refurbishment work is also not claimable unless it can be shown that this was necessitated by damage caused by the tenant. The expression "refurbishment" suggests that you were making good normal wear and tear to which a portion of your rental income is normally considered to be devoted.

P.P.

Poppy35
22-01-2008, 19:34 PM
Hi,

I was recently contacted by my previous tenant who is looking for a partial refund on his final months rent. The 6 month STA was due to expire on 26 November, he gave me nearly 2 months notice prior to this letting me know he had bought a property and would not be renewing the lease. They subsequently let me know that they would be moving out at the beginning of November. As we had a contract, i asumed he would pay up to the end of the lease; we exchanged keys, took meter reading etc, job done as far as I was concerned. never assume anything!

I managed to re-let the property quickly as it's a nice flat and my current tenant moved in on 11 November. I heard nothing from the old tenant until recently when he wrote to me claiming that as the property was in his name until 26 November, and i had re-let the flat, that he should be refunded 2 weeks rent. Does my ex tenant have a case here given that we had exchanged keys and he no longer stayed in the property? as you accepted the keys for the property this is turn could be constituted as acceptance that the tenancy has ended and thus no more rent is owed by the tenant

I guess, had I not managed to re-let so quickly, he wouldn't have considered claiming, however i'm not sure legally where I stand on this? Because I had managed to let it, does he now become entitled to a refund? imho yes. we have just just re-let a flat as the tenant had to leave and have found someone to move in, have authorisation from the tenant to deduct the 17 days rent from his deposit and thus will transfer the rest back him. nice and simple if you know how.

Additonally, given that i had previously had a good relationship with the tenant and as he gave me plenty of notice, I decided not to pursue him for the cost of re-decorating a couple of rooms in the flat which were jaded as a result of smoking and replacing a carpet which had become quite marked during the period of the tenancy. see beeber post below

I'd be grateful if someone could clarify the legal position here. Can the tenant claim that 2 weeks rent should be returned and equally, can I offset the renovation I carried out on the back of his tenancy?

Thanks in advance.

good luck.

jeffrey
22-01-2008, 20:46 PM
In any event, and ignoring keys/TDS for this purpose, L cannot be letting to old T and new T simultaneously. By letting to new T, L is effectively accepting a deemed surrender by old T. If old T paid all rent apportined to/inc. deemed surrender date, L must refund to old T whatever proportion of amount received would represent rent after that date.

johnboy
23-01-2008, 08:11 AM
I belieave legally that if you accept the keys back from a tenant you are agreeing that the tenancy has ended.

We were told on the ARLA course not to take the keys unless you were happy for the tenancy to end

Bel
23-01-2008, 10:51 AM
Just because the keys have been handed back should not mean the AST has ended

When receiving keys from a tenant, it is important to establish at the time, preferably with a written letter, as to what acceptance of the keys means. It is best to get the tenant to sign a document at the time.

If you make it clear to the T, you can take back keys and yet insist that you do not accept that the tenancy has been officially terminated and he is still liable to pay rent until another tenant is found .

If you do not make this clear, then the tenant may have a case that you accepted the surrender without penalty to him.

EH11
24-01-2008, 20:40 PM
many thanks to those who took the time to post useful information on this thread. I did have a signed inventory however I didn't have the deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme. This is news to me and I will check up on this legislation to ensure i'm doing the right thing going forward.

As it stands, I had a good relationship with the ex tenant and I decided to call him and explain my position. We reached an agreement whereby the 2 weeks rent that he was claiming would be offset by the cost of replacing the carpet and redecorating due to the tenants smoking. (i'd stress that replacing the carpet constituted more than wear and tear and the tenant acknowledged this).

Compromise is good, but i've learned it's better to assume nothing and ensure everything is confirmed in writing to avoid misunderstanding!

Once again to those concerned, thanks for the guidance.