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Hi there , I am a new user and I have a problem....My tenants of 22 months have left my house but they have left it in a right state, in so much as toilet hanging off, light socket and wall sockets broken and it was dirty . I have my tenants deposit which I stupidly did not protect but I have the £800 pounds which I could return to them. total costs for clean is £540 , plus other works comes to just over the £800. I do not want to cause problems so happy to swallow the excess but could I keep the deposit or will the tenants take me to court for not protecting deposit?


Any advice would be much appreciated. 

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1. Always protect deposits and issue prescribed information.

2. Ensure you comply with all of the legal requirements (including the new ones that started on Oct 1st)

3. Carry out 3 monthly inspections.

4. Get a home owning guarantor.

5. Ensure there is a detailed Inventory and Schedule of Condition signed by the tenant.

 If the deposit is not protected you will have to return it to them. The penalty for not following deposit protection rules are up to x3 the deposit should the tenants choose to peruse. You could take action to recover repair costs in the county court provided you have a good quality inventory and schedule of Condition signed by the tenant to back up your claim


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Your big problem is the fact you did not protect the deposit paid as is required by law and you have left yourself very vulnerable to Court action where you will definitely lose your case and the Judge will require you to pay your tenant's £2,400 which is a considerable amount of money compared to what you say has been caused in damage to the property and cleaning cost which will cost you around £500.

So there you have it really. It's a no brainer for me as to what I would do given what you have said but as always the final decision is yours to take.

Learn the lesson and move on

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I'm afraid they hold all the cards at the moment as you have failed to comply with the deposit protection rules.

As I see it, in order to right that wrong, you need to return the deposit to them in full. That should help to ensure that any claim against you for failure to protect will not be successful.

Again, as I see it, the deposit you hold can no longer be used to offset the cost of damage as your failure to protect it means it is no longer available for that purpose.

You can of course agree anything you want with the tenants but in your shoes I'd keep the deposit return and my claim for damages entirely separate......as costly and time consuming as that might be. I'd want to ensure I wasn't going to be hit with paying x3 times the deposit to the tenant in compensation for breach of deposit protection.

You could of course always seek legal advice or representation.

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I don't think legal advice will help - save your money and return the deposit to the tenants.  Try to negotiate with the tenants if you think it is worth it but the nasty sting could be a case against you for 3x the deposit as previously mentioned.

How come the place got in such a state?  Did you inspect the property regularly? 


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I would not personally recommend you paying for legal advice on your situation here. The cost of that advice may outweigh the money you have to pay out for your cleaning and repair etc.

I think the advice you have received from here will cover what needs to be done in the first instance. Return the deposit and get a signed and dated receipt from tenant and then take it from there. All your work to recover your property is tax deductable... so it's not a ll bad news for you.

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I have repaid the tenants in full. My thoughts are to pursue them through the small claim court for damage etc.


But on the other hand I think I should just forget it and at least I have closure albeit an expensive one.

Let it go and move on. A few new electrical fittings and a good clean up is regarded as getting off lightly these days when you read about the real horror stories about the tenant's from hell.  Put it down to a learning experience and next time be more aware of what you have to do when you become a landlord.

This forum is always open if you need to ask the questions.

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I agree with Melboy - small claims cases can be infuriating and if the judge senses you did not protect the deposit he/she will take that into account in some way.  The courts are in a right mess at present with long waits so why prolong your agony - move on is the best way and never trust tenants to affect repairs - big mistake!

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I am not a lawyer.

My understanding is that as the deposit has been returned, there is no existing case law that supports the suggestion that your tenant would be successful in claiming any compensation for your failure to protect the deposit.

Unless someone else knows differently..........

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The results of court action concerning failure to comply with deposit protection does not support that suggestion.

If you type in 'failure to protect deposit case law' in your web search you can also read the myriad of articles and links on this very subject.

I haven't found one that  says the risk continues.

Perhaps the op needs expert legal opinion to determine the answer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As far as I'm aware, if the tenants accept that deposit money back they give up the right to pursue you in course.

I think it's similar to the case where if you accept money from a tenant it creates an automatic tenancy under common law and you become their landlord whether you wish to or not. 

In any case, I hope you've learned a valuable lesson, otherwise it's an £800 spend on nothing. I never got it, why otherwise decent landlords fail to follow a very basic and simple rule.. It has happened with many good landlords I have rented from... 

I'm also curious by the size of your property and the company that charged you £540 for cleaning.. If you've asked 800 deposit, I assume that's the monthly rate and if so, it's can't be any huge property... I think you might have been thoroughly ripped :/ 


Best Regards,

Audrey Wright @ Move out Mates - http://www.moveoutmates.co.uk/

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  • 1 year later...

I know this thread is over 1.5 years old but......£540 doesn't seem overly expensive to me.

If the property has been left in a mess lets break down the costs.

Oven cleaning = £50 - £70

Carpet cleaning at least £50 per room, 5 rooms = £250

Cleaning kitchen - all surfaces, cupboards inside and out, tiles, walls, floor, fridge, hob.


All woodwork inc doors, skitings, window sills,

Light fittings, windows and glass

etc etc

Even if the cleaners are getting £10 an hour, after paying for carpets and oven that's 2 people for a day and a half.

I certainly wouldnt want to do it for £540......would you ?

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