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Section 213 for live-in landlords


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hi there, after I repaid my lodgers deposits I received solicitors letters from them saying that I owe them between 1 & 3 months deposit under Section 213 of the Housing Act 2004 because I did not protect their deposits (which i didn't). It was a very short let while I was selling the property and I mistakenly decided it would be a good idea to sign an agreement with them which I copied and pasted from an AST - unfortunately the agreement said that I would protect the deposits .  

However, I owned and lived-in the property at the time (recently sold it). According to web-sites that I have checked the room-renters were not in fact classified as tenants, they were simply lodgers in my home (e.g. see below), therefore ASTs do not apply 

When I wrote back saying they were lodgers and not tenants and therefore they have no claim, they reduced their claims and are willing to settle for a smaller amount.

Any thoughts on whether I would win this if it were taken as far as court proceedings?

Appreciate any feed back here. Solicitors letters are quite intimidating /stressful



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I'm absolutely astonished. You have made a number of mistakes and now want to check your legal position on an unknown and previously unused internet forum. 

Go and get some professional legal advice.

Citizens Advice Bureaux used to offer free consultations.

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As lodgers you had no need of a contractual agreement. But as you created one it becomes likely that you will be bound by some of the terms within.

To now say you did this wrongly as you didn't know any better isn't likely to work in your favour imho.

W/o sight of the contract it isn't possible for us here to comment really, and tbh our legal knowledge is limited anyway.

To my mind their solicitor isn't acting with expert knowledge on housing law, but he only needs to read up some. Where a deposit isn't protected and dealt with correctly the penalty is 'up to' 3 times deposit and return of deposit (so 4 times) as would be decided by a court.

Consider settlement as it may be far easier and cheaper in the long run, but be sure that this is a full and final settlement.

Shelter would take on their claim for free and attempt to claim legal costs from you. A Landlord friend (with far greater experience than I) challenged Shelter in court over an Agents mishandling of deposit. The final cost to him was £16K.


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I was of the impression that you can give lodgers more rights than they would otherwise have by creating a contract but Grampa is more knowledgeable than I.

If you're in the RoI the laws will likely differ though, but I'm not sure which way round you lived and commuted to.

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If the occupier does not have exclusive possession, i.e. they share, say, facilities with an occupying owner, then they will only be a licensee. The difference between a tenant and a licensee will be having exclusive possession and without that by default a licensee/lodger. So it doesnt matter if  AST was signed if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck it cant be a chicken.



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