Here is a blog clinic question from Andy who is a landlord:
Hi, I own one (and my only) house in Wales. I am abroad working. When I left I rented it privately to a tenant as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy since 2009.
She quit in December, and left a lot of damage, uncleaned, damp, broken stained furniture etc.. I intended to keep £500 of her £650 deposit. However I did not ‘protect’ it under the Housing act 2004 (as I knew nothing of this), she is now demanding the full deposit in 14 days or will sue me.
I return to UK to live in my house on Feb 6th. Help!! If I give her the deposit back in full I will have to accept a big loss due to the damage etc.. however I may have inadvertently broken the law on registering her bond, so?!! help I need advice. I am not rich, just renting my house to pay the mortgage! Help and advice much appreciated asap. Thank you
At the moment, the most recent Court of Appeal authority is that the tenant cannot claim for the penalty payment of three times the deposit sum after the tenancy has ended. You can read about this here.
So I suppose on the basis of that it would be all right to refund the £150 and say that if she issues proceedings you will defend. People often say they are going to court when actually they have no real intention of doing this.
However if it sounds as if she is serious then refer her to my blog post (or one of the articles referred to there) and give her full details (receipts etc) to justify your deductions.
Note by the way that the rules on tenancy deposits are due to change in April and landlords who fail to protect will then be at risk of being ordered to pay a penalty payment to the tenant by the court. Ignorance of the law will be no defence.