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Two tenants, one contract - one leaving. Deposits?


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Hello there,

A new arrival to the forum, I wondered if I could just sanity check something with members?

The scoop: I have a two bedroom propert let to two young men who arrived as friends (good tenants). Now one is leaving and we haven't yet a guaranteed replacement for him. The remaining tenant is making the running to find a replacement.

Tonight we are meeting at the flat to examine the property for the deposit return. But it has occurred to us that if we return the tenant's deposit we are half a deposit down on our security with the remaining tenant unlikely to stump up the extra to cover.

Now, we have no intention of not returning the deposit, however the quitting tenant only gave notice a week ago and thus his contractual responsibilities (technically) run on until 17 December. The remaining tenant's parents are visiting from Australia and are staying a month and will be paying the rent for December, thus we haven't insisted that the quitting tenant pay rent for the full term, BUT we feel for our own security we should at least keep his deposit until 17 December or until we have had full rent for December (by whatever means) - whichever arrives first.

I think he is expecting we pay him back tonight. Does our position sound a.) reasonable and b.) legal?

Many thanks for any advice.


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the key question is, is it a joint tenancy? If it is, then you are absolutely right and you shouldnt return the deposit until the whole tenancy is brought to an end. One party to a joint tenancy can end the tenancy for both of them if they give valid written notice to quit. From what you have said, this hasnt happend in this case. Presumably then, you will accept a surrender of the existing tenancy when you or the existing tenant finds another person to enter into a new joint tenancy with?

Having said this, you seem to be treating them as if they are separate tenants and that you have accepted a surrender from one of them. If this is the case, then you will really need to return the deposit as soon as resonably possible after their tenancy has ended; if the deposit is protected, the timescales will be dictated by the scheme of which you are a member.

Or have I missed the point?


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