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Question

Deposits and Tenancy Deposit Schemes (England) | Preventing Controlling and Recovering Rent Arrears (England)

Tenants using deposit to cover outstanding rent

3 Aug 2016 | 1 comment

Yesterday I sent a letter to my tenants, who are now over 2 months in arrears – unknown to me they recently stopped their Housing Benefit being paid directly to me, thereby increasing their arrears to £2052.

They have given notice they will vacate on 26th August after 6 months.

In my letter I explained if the sum is not paid by 5th August, I will have no option but to issue a claim through the Court against them to retrieve the money.

Today I received an e-mail from them saying: – ‘We are happy for you to keep the deposit as payment towards the rent arrears. And I will transfer the rest to your account the last working day of this month.’

I am not satisfied with this response as I don’t believe I will be paid and I’m certain I wont get a forwarding address. It’s my understanding that it is illegal to use the deposit to avoid paying the last month’s rent. Furthermore, the deposit will not cover the outstanding rent by nearly £600 and leaves no deposit to cover provision for damage, cleaning, and making good the kitchen floor which they changed without consulting me.

My intention is still to take them to Court. How should I respond to their e-mail?

Answer

1 Comment

  1. guildy

    Because the tenants are more than 8 weeks in arrears, you can request direct payment for the housing benefit again and by law the local authority must make payment to you. If you do this right away you should get their last payment as its paid in arrears.

    Although you may be right that they won’t pay and are just delaying, it’s not an unreasonable offer. It’s not illegal to use the deposit for the last rent but it might be a breach of the tenancy (just as not paying the rent is a breach). However, resolving this is via court which you would do when claiming in the court anyway.

    I think you will need to see if they pay before commencing proceedings because court action must be used as a last resort.

    You should have a post tenancy address on your prescribed information that you gave them in relation to the deposit (otherwise the prescribed information has not been correctly completed). You will be able to use that address if they don’t pay by the time they have vacated. If you have a guarantor, you should have no problem getting the money otherwise it can be difficult.

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