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Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 19937
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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My landlord never paid my deposit into any secure deposit scheme

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My landlord never paid my deposit into any secure deposit scheme when I moved in. I will be moving out when the 6months expires but because of the landlord's intimidating, lying, ignorant and difficult behaviour, I am with-holding the last month's rent until the exit inspection on my departure. As I will be leaving the property 5days before the 'contract' expires, my landlord will have 5days worth of unused rent which I don't expect to be refunded to me and I'm prepared to just walk away from.

I have taken great care of my landlord's property which is separate from but attached to the main house where my landlord lives, and I've taken care of all the items on the inventory and will continue to do so up to and including my departure date. But because I do not trust my landlord, every time I leave the property to go out anywhere, I take photos which are date and time stamped, to prove (should I have to) that everything was in tip-top condition when I went out.

My landlord has now told me that I am in breach of my 'contract' and expects me to pay the last month's rent. Given the fact that my landlord did not place my deposit into a secure deposit scheme, AND the fact that I will be leaving 5days before the 'contract' expires and so walking away from 5days rent money, can I with-hold the last month's rent until the exit inspection? My landlord can then keep the deposit so would not be 'out of pocket' but quite the contrary from the 5days unused rent as my rent includes all bills.

Due to my landlords behaviour towards me over the past few months, I strongly believe that if I have to pay the last month's rent, my landlord will delay returning my deposit to me and I won't have it back on the day of my departure. Is it not now the law that the landlord HAS to secure the deposit within a few weeks of receiving it? And would it not go against my landlord for NOT securing my deposit?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Stuart J replied 2 years ago.
What type of tenancy agreement do you have?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement
Expert:  Stuart J replied 2 years ago.

I assume that it is an assured short hold tenancy because it is a separate dwelling, if it is not a separate dwelling then, although it says is an AST , it cannot be.. If it is, and if he did not protect your deposit and you can prove this, the tenancy is unenforceable.

 

The correct procedure as you will be aware, is for you to pay up to the end of the term and then, if he doesn't return your deposit, file the dispute. However, I know exactly where you're coming from, the deposit is the last month rent, so he walk away without having paid it, the landlord has not lost anything, and you are not fighting/suing him to get your deposit back. It is very common and tenants do it all the time. Of course, I cannot advise you to do that, but it works usually in practice. Expect the landlord, as you suspect, to come up with all sorts of spurious allegations, but the property was left in a mess, with all sorts of damage.

At least then, he is suing you rather than the reverse and of course, he's unlikely to know that you have the copious photographic evidence that you do. Take particular note of bathroom and kitchen fittings and floorcoverings, because they are a common source of alleged damage.

 

Can I help further?

Please dont forget to positively rate my answer and I will follow up any further points you raise for free. If you don't rate it positively, then the site keep your deposit and I get 0 for my time. If in ratings you feel that you expected more or it only helped a little, please ask me for further info before rating me negatively otherwise I don't get paid at all for my time and answer.

The thread remains open. If I have previously only asked for information but now I have answered your question, you should see a button which allows you to rate it. Please don't hesitate to ask any follow questions. Thank you

L

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
I still need to know if I can with-hold the last month's rent until the exit inspection as I will be leaving 5days before the 'contract' expires and I strongly believe my landlord will not return my deposit to me, and my landlord will keep my 5days unused rent which includes all bills.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 2 years ago.

 

I have told you that the correct procedure is for you to pay until the end of the term. If you withhold rent, you are in arrears. You are not allowed to withhold rent because if you do, you breach your tenancy. The legal situation is that you're not allowed to withhold rent or any reason whatsoever.

However as it is the last month the practicality and legality are different.

Can I help further?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The landlord told the Council it is NOT a separate dwelling as it has 2 connecting doors, one from the main house sitting room into the annexe sitting room, the other from the main house conservatory to the annexe kitchen. The Council told the landlord that if it was a separate dwelling, then Council Tax would have to be paid on the one-bed property.



From your previous reply, am I right in reading that if it is not a separate dwelling, then although the 'contract' states it is an AST, it actually is not and as the landlord did not place my deposit in a secure deposit scheme, the 'contract' is therefore not valid?

Expert:  Stuart J replied 2 years ago.

It cannot be an assured short hold tenancy if the landlord lives in the same building.

This explains a little http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/renting_and_leasehold/private_tenancies/assured_shorthold_tenancies

 

Whether it is " the same building" is another whole debate. So it appears that he wants it to be a separate dwelling for the purposes of this tenancy, but doesn't want it to be a separate dwelling for council tax purposes. That's an interesting concept!

I think therefore, the tenancy agreement is unenforceable on two counts. Of course, if he disagrees, and he decided to take you to court, it would be for a judge to decide. However, if you do not pay the last month rent and he keeps the deposit, he has not lost anything, so I do not know what he could take you to court for other than any damage which he "fabricates".

Can I help further?

Please do not forget to rate my answer or the site keep all your deposit and I get no credit for my time. The thread remains open if you wish to ask follow-up questions. Thank you

Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 19937
Experience: PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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