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Andy77

Landlord Threatening To Withhold Deposit

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We've recently given our contractual 1 months notice on our assured shorthold tenancy, and after confirming it in writing to the landlords (a couple with 2 or 3 buy-to-let properties) we received a letter from the landlord saying that they are concerned about the condition of the property and will have it professionally cleaned at a cost to us of £120.

We have written back saying that the property will be spotless when we leave (which is far better than it was when we moved in 2 years ago, and we have photos to prove this) but we are now concerned that they are just looking for random reasons to keep the deposit.

My partner called the landlord, just to have a friendly chat before the letter arrived and to say that we would of course clean the flat before leaving, and was met with rude and ignorant behaviour from the landlord (the wife of the couple, who has always been thorny whereas the husband has been a very pleasant man). It is clear to me that she is the problem not him, but I guess that's beside the point.

The only issue I am particularly concerned about is that we have 2 cats, and I think this is where I need advice, although the whole matter is of concern to me anyway. When we looked at the flat originally, we asked the letting agents if the tenancy was a "pet-friendly" one. They came back to us after a delay and told us that the landlords had agreed to let us have cats (we never hid this as we already had the cats, so why bother with the cloak and dagger stuff). We then stupidly signed a tenancy agreement which forbid us to have pets, on the basis that the letting agents had a letter from the landlord consenting to our having cats. When the landlord came round to the property to decorate shortly after we moved in, he was surprised by the cats and said it was forbidden by the tenancy agreement. We told him what the letting agents had said, and we had continued to chase them for the letter of consent, but clearly this letter had never existed.

However, the landlord said he had cats himself and his wife and kids loved them, so he said jokingly that if they could all come round to see the cats he'd have no problem with them. They did, and everyone was happy, apart from the landlords and ourselves being very annoyed with the letting agents. This was back in September 2004. The letter that we have just received from the landlord however suggests that the "poor condition" of the flat may be as a result of the cats, and I feel that he may now be deciding to query our breach of the tenancy agreement just as a way to get some momey out of us, even though they have been round to the flat and seen the cats there several times since then. Does this constitute a form of consent that might override the tenancy agreement?

Finally (thanks for staying with me this far!), our rent is paid from 28th to 27th of each month, and our tenancy ends on 21st. The landlord didn't amend the direct debit and so took the full month's rent for the final month, when it should have been apportioned and thus reduced by 6 days. When my partner called the landlord (the wife unfortunately), she denied all knowledge of any overpayment on our part. I personally think that this is outright theft, and that the money (£130) should be given back to us immediately, regardless of any final inspections, as it's nothing to do with the deposit...

Any suggestions, help, advice etc would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Andy

P.S. Rent is £650pcm, deposit was also £650, letting agents are no longer involved and solely dealt with letting and not management. Floors are wooden, so cats don't have carpets to ruin!

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Finally (thanks for staying with me this far!), our rent is paid from 28th to 27th of each month, and our tenancy ends on 21st. The landlord didn't amend the direct debit and so took the full month's rent for the final month, when it should have been apportioned and thus reduced by 6 days. When my partner called the landlord (the wife unfortunately), she denied all knowledge of any overpayment on our part. I personally think that this is outright theft, and that the money (£130) should be given back to us immediately, regardless of any final inspections, as it's nothing to do with the deposit...

If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy - then the 1 months notice you give must expire on the last day of a period of the tenancy - i.e. the last day of a rental period. This is the day before your next rent payment is due (28th of a month).

So you should have given notice prior to June 28th that you wanted your tenancy to expire on July 27th. Your landlord would be entitled to refuse to allow your tenancy to end on the 21st.

Edited by bob2

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If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy - then the 1 months notice you give must expire on the last day of a period of the tenancy - i.e. the last day of a rental period. This is the day before your next rent payment is due (28th of a month).

So you should have given notice prior to June 28th that you wanted your tenancy to expire on July 27th. Your landlord would be entitled to refuse to allow your tenancy to end on the 21st.

I dont agree with what is written here. The date a tennacy agreement starts and finishes has nothing to do with when the rent is paid (although in practice they are normally a similar date). I have a tennacy agreement that started on the 7th April, but the rent is paid each month (when im paid on the 15th). My tennacy will therefore end on the 7th October (with the sixth and final payment for rent being taken out on the 15th September - as you pay a month in advance).

In this case they would have moved in on the 21st of month X and paid their one months in advance, with the first rent payment coming out the following month on the 28th. The final rent payment (persumably paid out on the 28th June) would cover the period of 22nd June to 21st July. You have paid the correct amount to the LL and are not entitled to 6 days back!

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Planner

In his post Andy states...

"our rent is paid from 28th to 27th of each month"

Doesn't this seem to imply that this is the rental period for his (now) periodic tenancy? Although as you point out this might not be the case. It all depends when the tenancy originally started.

If their tenancy did originally start on the 21st of a month - then what you say is relevant - but nowhere is his post does Andy indicate that it did indeed start on the 21st. So I'm not sure why you assumed this. He simply states "our rent is paid from 28th to 27th of each month" and in fact he also wrote...

"The landlord didn't amend the direct debit and so took the full month's rent for the final month, when it should have been apportioned and thus reduced by 6 days."

This seems to imply that a "full month" would end on the 27th. And he wants a reduction from the rent due for a "full month".

As I have written - notice must on the last day of a period of the tenancy. So you can't have anything other than a "full month" at the end of a rental period.

Bottom line - Andy - if you originally started your tenancy on the 21st of a month you should be able to get some money back - but if you originally started your tenancy on the 28th of a month you shouldn't be able to.

Edited by bob2

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This site looked fairly good, but the 2 who have replied to me are unfortunately guessing, and I suspect this helps nobody.

Guys, please at least check the facts before coming back with incorrect answers. I pay rent from the 28th each month as I moved in on the 28th. Of August. 2004! Nowhere in any tenancy agreement does it state that if you move in on e.g. the 28th, you can only end the tenancy on the 28th of a subsequent month. My agreement was a minimum 12 month term, and I have been there well in excess of those 12 months. Therefore all I need to give under the agreement is 1 months notice - therefore the agreement formally ends 1 month after I gave my notice.

Had I been there less than 12 months, then yes, my agreement couldn't have finished until 28th August 2005 (i.e. 12 months after the commencement), but in this case I have to disagree both legally and logically with both answers.

If you give 1 months notice anytime after 11 months, then the final month of your tenancy need not be a full calendar month, as long as you have given and served a full month's notice, e.g. if the notice is given after 11 and a half months, you don't forfeit the right to the rent for the last 2 weeks of month 13, as your notice will have expired by then!

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Andy,

I was guessing about when your rental period ended - but it turns out I was right - the 27th.

However I was not guessing about the standard rules regarding giving notice for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) that has become a Statutory Periodic Tenancy. I have checked the facts.

As I explained - normally if you have an AST that has become a Statutory Periodic Tenancy then the 1 months notice you give must expire on the last day of a period of the tenancy - i.e. the last day of a rental period.

You wrote - "Nowhere in any tenancy agreement does it state that if you move in on e.g. the 28th, you can only end the tenancy on the 28th of a subsequent month. "

I'm afraid you're wrong about this - AST agreements normally state exactly this. If this is not stated in your tenancy agreement - then your agreement has not been worded like a standard Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement so it is rather unusual.

If you doubt this read the following information taken from here

Notice by Tenant

Where the tenancy has become a Statutory Periodic Tenancy (where the fixed-term has ended and no new agreement signed for another fixed-term) the tenant must give the landlord notice if he wants to leave:

- The notice must be in writing

- It must be delivered at least 4 weeks before the notice period ends or 1 month if rent is paid monthly

- It must bring the tenancy to an end at the end of a full rent period.

- The notice period must end at the end of a tenancy payment period: for example, if the rent payment date is on the 20th of each month, the notice period must end on the 20th of the month or the 19th to be on the safe side.

The tenancy agreement cannot change these basic rules, 4 weeks being the minimum notice period. However, if the tenancy period is more than 4 weeks, for example, one month, then the notice period is one month.

Personally, as a tenant I have given notice to end 4 ASTs and have never been permitted to do anything other than bring the tenancy to an end at the end of a full rent period.

Edited by bob2

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Andy77,

bob2 is correct if your tenancy has become periodic (which is sounds like it has as you don't mention signing up for another fixed term after the first year).

Doesn't matter it's not in the tenancy agreement. The agreement covered the fixed term. If the fixed term has ended and no new agreement signed the tenancy becomes periodic with all the same terms as before EXCEPT the notice rules change as bob2 has stated.

Saying the responses help nobody is wrong. But hey, if you don't trust this then try looking at the websites for Shelter or Citizens advice. Landlordzone (as linked to by bob2) is pretty good on the legal side and they have active forums if you wish to look there too.

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Bob2

I believe Andy quite clearley states "Finally (thanks for staying with me this far!), our rent is paid from 28th to 27th of each month, and our tenancy ends on 21st". Hence quite logical for me to assume that Andy had posted the correct details (it is his tennacy after all), but obviously not. I believe the correct advice has now be given, and a good tip for andy in the future would be to post correctly the important details so that we can give suitable advice.

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Bob2

I believe Andy quite clearley states "Finally (thanks for staying with me this far!), our rent is paid from 28th to 27th of each month, and our tenancy ends on 21st". Hence quite logical for me to assume that Andy had posted the correct details (it is his tennacy after all), but obviously not. I believe the correct advice has now be given, and a good tip for andy in the future would be to post correctly the important details so that we can give suitable advice.

Planner - yes Andy's first post wasn't clear.

As it turns out my guess was right - but your interpretation could have been correct (although it would not have been the typical arrangement).

Anyway, he has made it clear in his second post "I pay rent from the 28th each month as I moved in on the 28th. Of August. 2004!"

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