My tenant has me by the short and curlies, and I’m trying to figure out my best course of action.
I’m in the process of trying to sell my tenanted property. I gave the tenants a section 21 notice about 2 months ago, requesting that they leave by the 24th. They have ‘agreed’ to leave on the 29th of April, and I have agreed, verbally, and subject to them leaving on that day, to waive the extra week’s rent (their rent runs out on the 22nd of April).
However, I know they are struggling financially. They are currently £1,100 in arrears and I also know they’ve been advised by the local authority to stay put and be evicted by bailiff (I know this because the housing office called me when she went to see them!).
They have asked me to return the deposit early to help them to get into the house they are allegedly moving to. I have explained that at best I can return the deposit less the current arrears.
I know that if I do not return the balance of deposit early, there is a very high risk they will stay on, without paying any more rent, until they are formally evicted. But I also know that even if I return the deposit early, there is still no guarantee that they will leave on the agreed date, or leave the house in a decent state.
I am inclined to take the risk and repay the balance of the deposit, in the hope they will just leave as agreed on the 29th. But should the tenants then decide to stay on and await eviction, will this put me in a sticky situation of any sort, having returned the deposit?