How unreasonable is it to not pay the last month's rent if you paid a deposit equal to the rent?

(121 Posts)
Rentergirl Thu 06-Dec-12 18:18:30

I used to be naive enough to think that the agent was a go-between. No not at all! There have been a few issues with things that broke, fell off, fell down, were bottom of the range etc.... I quickly got the message that the agent gets their commission from the client, and the client is the one who counts. So I felt bullied at times. eg, 'warned' by the agent that there wasn't much else out there that I could afford and that I shouldn't complain so much.

I have never been more than a day late with the rent. But when I go I won't pay the last month's rent. I will advise them by email that my deposit can be the last month's rent. I will leave the place clean and tidy because I'm not an arsehole.

I don't need a reference. I will put my hard hat on now and prepare to be blasted. Or not. ???

FeistyLass Sat 08-Dec-12 20:48:15

I just thought it was interesting you were mentioning the inventory when it's not even a requirement of the scheme. It seems odd that something that seems to be a cornerstone of any dispute is not a legal requirement of the scheme.
ISeeSmallPeople, everything I've heard has been the same as you ie that burden of proof is higher on the landlord but I don't know anyone who has been through the process yet. All the landlords and tenants I know have had amicable resolutions to their tenancies smile

TooMuchRain Sat 08-Dec-12 20:53:17

minimum lease is six months. Why do tenants stay for longer in properties that are clearly substandard, with dodgy landlords, and then complain about it months or years later? Don't give money to dodgy landlords who rent duff properties. It's not hard.

This is too simplistic, not everyone has choices. We signed our contract through an agent and are tied in for 12 months. The landlord is a bastard who won't fix/replace anything but we need our deposit so we can't just leave now.

GinSoakedMu1berryLush Sat 08-Dec-12 21:01:49

What does AIIC mean?

ISeeSmallPeople Sat 08-Dec-12 21:04:39

Association of Independent Inventory Clerks

FredFredGeorge Sat 08-Dec-12 21:10:04

FeistyLass The scheme is a legal requirement because of the need to protect tennants from bad landlords, that's a reasonable response to the problem. Forcing every lease to have the costs of an inventory would not be warranted, it's obviously in the interest of the landlord to do it due to the significant difficulty in proving the condition if not, but no need to make it required if the landlord is happy without it - ie trusts the tennants to either keep it accurate or be honest about damage caused.

HisstletoeAndWhine Sat 08-Dec-12 22:02:06

I went through arbitration. I won.

LL tried everything, tried taking over £450 from me.

Thing is, inventory was prepared for tenant over 3 years before me, with some scribbles.

Arbitration stated that the inventory was not prepared for me, so therefore couldn't prove condition. She didn't get a penny.

LLs who don't get proper, professional, independant inventories to protect their investments are fools, imvho.

Fairenuff Sun 09-Dec-12 14:28:55

The scheme is a legal requirement because of the need to protect tennants from bad landlords

and to protect landlords from tenants skipping out without paying their last month's rent.

I am going through the process at the moment. This is what the DPS Guide for Evidence Submissions says:

"As a matter of law, the burden of proving the claim rests on the Landlord/Agent. Remember that the Tenant has no obligation to prove their argument, because the deposit remains their property until successfully claimed for by the Landlord. If the Landlord cannot prove their claim on the 'balance of probability', the adjudicator must return the disputed amount to the Tenant."

I understand that to mean that if there is no clear evidence, the decision will be based on that phrase, 'balance of probability' by taking all things into consideration.

In my case, this is being dealt with completely separately to the rent not being paid. The small claims court has already ruled in my favour and issued a CCJ for the rent owing.

This is what I wanted to caution the OP about. It's not as straightforward as just swapping your last month's rent for the deposit if there is any chance that the deposit could be disputed. I don't think it's worth risking a CCJ.

Unless the landlord agrees to this arrangement in writing, what defence would you produce to the court that you are not in default of rent payment? You cannot use the defence that the deposit will cover it if the deposit is in dispute. And, as can be seen, the small claims have resolved their case much quicker than the DPS which is still in progress.

Sorry for the long post, just wanted to make sure you were aware of the risk you are running.

Fairenuff Sun 09-Dec-12 14:31:41

LLs who don't get proper, professional, independant inventories to protect their investments are fools, imvho

I would absolutely agree with this. It makes disputes much easier to resolve.

HisstletoeAndWhine Sun 09-Dec-12 16:31:49

If correctly prepared, the inventory protects the TT as much as the LL.

When I used to hand over properties and prepare check in documents, I'd tell the new Tenants that in fact at that time, I'm working to protect them, that they'd not be being blamed for any pre-existing damage.

I reminded them though that when I came back to do check out, I'd be doing so on the behalf of the LL, looking for any areas that had been damaged during the tenancy. The Tenants used to get me to note all sorts of things/conditions, which I was happy to do, with photos if needed, to make sure that the condition was accurately recorded for them.

It makes checking out simpler too, as you know what to disregard and focus on new things spotted.

quoteunquote Sun 09-Dec-12 17:07:58

Most properties here get rented out on the highest bid system, so when a property becomes available, any approved (reference must be impeccable, and without gaps) tenants can bid, the tenant with most months paid for in advance get the property.

You also have to have a bank reference and a guarantor, as well as pay very large deposits.

I suspect more and more landlords will be going down this route to protect themselves.

timothyclaypole Sun 09-Dec-12 17:20:59

Op I've tried to read the whole thread and I can't see any post where you confirm if you're in a deposit scheme or not even though you're asked repeatedly. Apologies if you did already, but if not, can you say yes or no to this question please? It's pretty important.

Binkybix Sun 09-Dec-12 21:34:23

I, too, have been screwed over by LL in the past, before the deposit scheme. However now the scheme is in place, YABU. Are you in it or not?

Sounds like they have been bad about the shower etc, but I don't see why they should have to remove furniture when you decide you don't want it. Why do you think they should?

Ethika Mon 18-Mar-13 16:32:28

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

angelos02 Mon 18-Mar-13 16:39:50

YANBU. LL's will use any excuse for not refunding deposits. I once lived somewhere for 4 years and the only thing I'd done 'wrong' was that I left 2 coathangers in a cupboard! They also have to allow for natural wear and tear but most many don't do this.

quoteunquote Mon 18-Mar-13 16:48:42

OP, where I live landlords now are operating on the bidding system,

if you are considered suitable to rent the property, you can put in a bid, You bid the number of months rent you will pay in advance,

so to rent a property here, you need a very large deposit, plus a year or two rent upfront. they all have clauses that allow the landlord to raise the rent every six months,

six months before the end of your tenancy, it goes out to bid again, so to retain the property you have to out bid all other would be tenants,

I suspect this trend has taken hold partly due to tenants pulling stunts.

whois Mon 18-Mar-13 17:21:08

There is so much outdated into about deposits on this thread. Things have dramatically improved with the deposit protection scheme.

OP, when did you sign your lease?
Is your deposit in the deposit protection scheme?
Do you have an inventory from when you moved in?

If the answer is your deposit IS in the scheme (which it should be if lease signed post April 2007) then you will be fine. The rules are v strict on what is fair wear and tear and how much can be deducted.

If you were renting my house, and skipped out on the last months rent I would peruse you in any way possible. This is why LL ask for much bigger deposits than the last months rent generally.

Callycat Mon 18-Mar-13 18:32:48

For all the talk here about how everything's all fine and dandy now that the deposit protection scheme exists, it's not that rosy. I've had four landlords since moving to London three years ago, and only one of these - my current one - used the scheme. Two professed total ignorance of its existence, and the third became aggressive when asked about it ("Don't you fucking trust me, is that what you're saying?").

Not a very constructive post from me, I know, but in the Real World it is still hard to get deposits back. Though I've never withheld rent myself; not sure I'd advise that.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 18-Mar-13 19:05:31

First of all, as a LL, I'd absolutely support everything Fairenuff says. You signed a contract and owe money for the last month's rent. The deposit is there to cover any potential damage caused by you. If you haven't caused any (proven) damage then you can look forward to getting your full deposit back. I still can't work out if it's in a protected scheme. If it is, then you'll be fine. If it isn't, why???

I'd also like to add that not all LL are bad people (and neither are all tenants, come to that). I am much nicer to my tenants than my current landlady is to me (moved abroad temporarily due to DH's job and rented out our place in the meantime). If queries are raised via our agent, we respond the same day and our tenants always have our contact details in the event that the agent isn't playing ball (would hope not but it does happen). Our latest tenants asked for new carpets and we put them in as they were going to be staying a while. I aim to treat people as I'd want to be treated myself!

Going forward, only use reputable agents and check that there is an inventory in place - both for your protection and that of the LL. I insist on one of these with each change of tenant as they're important in case of a dispute.

Another question - if your home was as bad as you describe, and the agent/LL did nothing, why did you stay and not contact environmental health?

Dawndonna Mon 18-Mar-13 19:09:43

A thread that is four months old.

Flisspaps Mon 18-Mar-13 19:12:47

David, I have reported your post. If you want to sell a service, do it through the correct MN channels (ps, I assume the OP has moved now)

specialsubject Mon 18-Mar-13 19:17:02

didn't recognise this was a zombie thread until I got near the end.

hopefully the OP got what she deserved.

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