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Sep, 2014

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  1. #1

    Default My troublesome lodger is leaving but...

    I have a lodger who is leaving soon but who is causing problems in the meantime. To give you a flavour, he ignores me if I try to talk to him, plays load music, slams doors and generally makes it known that he's prepared to be a nuisance! His room is in an absolute tip -rubbish etc. all over the floor -so there's no way I can show the room in order to get another lodger. We have no written agreement (I normally use a standard lodger agreement but he didn't want to sign it).

    My questions are:

    1. What can the deposit cover?
    Can I deduct from the deposit what it will cost to steam clean the carpet in the room?

    Before he moved in I asked the gentleman to vacuum clean the carpets occasionally which he has not done. In fact you can barely see the carpet as it's covered in e.g. clothes, paper and rubbish (discarded food packets etc.). The small sections of carpet I have seen do looked marked. Obviously I need to get the room and carpet in good condition so I can show it to prospective lodgers.

    The occupant emailed saying he expects the deposit back in full, and when I said that's yet to be decided he threatened legal action at a small claims court if I didn't provide receipts of work done to put right any damage.

    2. Must he return the keys to me on or before the last day? Even if the deposit is not settled because of outstanding work? He is paid up until the 3rd Dec, but if he refuses to return all the keys on or before the 3rd, can I withhold from the deposit the amount it costs me to change all the locks?

    3. From things he has said in the past I suspect he has been illegally downloading things using a laptop (TV shows etc.). Since he is using my broadband connection, if this activity is detected then presumably I will be held responsible. Is there anything I can do to protect myself?

    Thanks for any thoughts

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    7,208

    Default

    When he has vacated the property, you decide on any damages. If he doesn't like it, he can sue you.
    You do not have to provide receipts.

    He should return the keys "after" the 3rd, as this is when he has paid up to. My agreements state that they(tenants, but it works the same for lodgers)must return the keys by 12 mid-day the next day. Make it clear in writing when the keys must be returned.

    I would also state how much will be charged for changing the locks if he decides to hold onto them.

    Forget about his alleged illegal downloads.

    In future, all of the above can be covered by a simple written agreement.
    Stalkers, please go over this comment with a fine tooth comb.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    3,343

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mr_b View Post
    (I normally use a standard lodger agreement but he didn't want to sign it).
    This was a huge hint of trouble ahead!

    It would be reasonable for you to expect the room to be returned in the condition that you let it in originally including state of cleanliness. Fair wear and tear should not be charged.
    Reasonable costs can be deducted from the deposit.

    If the carpet was not immaculately clean to start with then consider if it is fair to charge the full cost to put it into a much cleaner state.

    Make sure that you can justify all deductions so you are right in your own mind and you will be confident when dealing with him. If he does take you to court, you may required to show receipts to make your defense more credible.
    All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for your thoughts guys.

    Regarding returning of the keys...

    Normally what happens is the lodger lets me know what they're last day will be, and them having moved the last of their things out, we swap the deposit for the keys. But he won't tell me what day this will be (obviously it'll have to be on/before 3rd Dec).

    I work from home so hopefully I'll be home when he goes, but I guess he'll come and ask me for the deposit (which I have waiting in cash). I assume I not obliged to give him the deposit before 3rd Dec, so if he goes e.g. this Saturday (as I think he might), I assume I can insist that I will not give him the deposit unless he gives me the keys.

    Does that sound all good?

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