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Need advice about returning deposit


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Please can anyone give me some advice.

The tenant left the property and I inspected it to find the dining room and hall carpets stank of catpee! So the carpets were removed and the day later I inspected again and all seemed fine - not very clean but ok to look at.

I wrote a letter to the tenant and returned £350 from a £475 deposit.

The new tenants asked if they could paint a couple of rooms upstairs before they moved in, and I said yes no problem. The phoned me that evening to say there was a terrible smell of cat pee upstairs in a bedroom and bathroom and in the living room. I immediately stopped the cheque with the bank, phoned the previous tenant - but had no reply. I left a message saying that many more carpets were affected with cat pee so had to be removed (the bathroom carpet was fitted brand new for this previous tenant!) so I would not be refunding any of the monies (so I could give them to the new tenants to replace the carpeting as the had to move into the property. There was only one carpet in the whole house not affected and also it was found later that the cats had been allowed down in the cellar and peed in there!!!

The previous tenant has now phoned me saying they were out of the country and didn't get my message till the other day and was going to seek legal advice.

I am very stupid that I didn't put the deposit in a scheme and kept it in an envelope as I couldn't make the scheme website work and I am sure I told the previous tenants about this - didn't seem a problem to them.

The new tenants have said they will write down all the details of what they have had to do and what they have found since painting etc for me.

What should I do now? Offer the previous tenant some money back even though it is going to cost me more than her deposit to put right which I just don't have?

Any advice would be most grateful, thanks

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If you didn't secure the deposit when you should have done then you have broken the law, a criminal offence subject to a heavy fine, more than cost of cleaning carpets. If your previous tenants pick this up you won't have much defence if they make a legal claim against you.

Presumably you had permitted them to keep a cat so shouldn't you accept some consequence?

Thus it might be better to put this down to experience, return their deposit in full, and concentrate on looking after your new tenants.

It sounds like new tenants have already saved you organising a decorator, so it can't be all bad.

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Yes, if your previous tenants are of a mind to they may take you to court whereby you will be fined 3 times the deposit to be awarded to your tenants without any redress whatsoever and no matter what they have done or not done to your property. This is because you failed to put the deposit into a seperate and independent security bond.

Regarding the cat question did you know they had a cat? If you did then a clause for carpet cleaning should have been in your contract.


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Agree with Chestnut and Melboy on this - return deposit and hope they go quiet.

Getting rid of cat pee/spray is quite difficult and it won't just be in the carpets - up the walls too.

I have recently been doing a repair to some wood block flooring in my own house and found that on scratching the surface of the wood the smell was still there (in this case dog urine). I have lived in the house 20 years with no dog but the previous owners had 2 dogs.

There is a product marketed through QVC shopping (channel 16) which includes a 'blue light' which shows exactly where the urine affected areas are and includes a neutraliser and cleaner. Worth a try if you have this problem.


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