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

(122 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. ???

MrsSnow Thu 06-Dec-12 19:11:00


It's a contract. You have obligations just as the landlord does. Imagine if the landlord said he was going to let the house with you still in it etc. it would be unreasonable. In the same way your are being unreasonable.

Also deposits are now kept in DPS schemes so it is harder for your landlord to just get the last months rent, a lot of paperwork rushing around just for you to walk away. They probably will have to take you to court to get the money.

ATouchOfStuffing Thu 06-Dec-12 19:14:22

I don't know if this helps:
I would insist works are carried out or suggest you could take them to Court as a last resort if you have put your request in writing
I really wouldn't go down the avenue of last rent etc as if they have any dispute as to the condition you left the house in they WILL take you to Court for extra and you don't want a bad reference for your next rental.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Thu 06-Dec-12 19:15:28

You are being very unreasonable to even consider it, and I can't believe anyone with any moral conscious would actually do it.

Why should landlords treat their tenants better when so many people think it's ok to do things like this and balantaly just break contracts? Karma is a bitch, and it works both ways.

1charlie1 Thu 06-Dec-12 19:23:44

We had our flat inspected by an inventory company before we took possession, and fortunately I am paranoid about such things and went over the report with a fine tooth comb before signing. They had omitted to include glaringly obvious (pre-existing) damage to the flat, (a large hole punched in the wall at the bath tile edge, stuffed with newspaper, two missing stair railings, reporting that that there were shelves in a non-shelved cupboard etc etc.) I would hate to think what might have happened to our deposit if I had trusted them to do a decent job.
Our large front windows are being 'looked at' as they are constantly wet, and the wooden frames are so rotten my finger went through the sill. Covered in mould also. We've been complaining since January! Two weeks ago, the landlord finally sent a window bloke out to 'look' at them. He said the glass in them is greenhouse glass. Half the thickness of a normal pane (and forget double-glazed!) We can't use the room at the moment - it is absolutely freezing. It's a one bed flat, so there's not much room going spare!
It is a disgrace that people are allowed to buy multiple properties, neglect their upkeep, and exploit their tenants.
It seems that some landlords rely on the poverty of their tenants in order to shirk their responsibilties. OP, if you suspect your landlord is of this ilk, you do what you need to do to protect your hard earned cash.

expatinscotland Thu 06-Dec-12 19:27:59

'Karma is a bitch, and it works both ways'

There is no such thing as karma.

hugoagogo Thu 06-Dec-12 19:28:35

I have done this in the past, in fact lots of times when I was a student because landlords never repaid deposits; they didn't even pretend to have a good reason. The landlords nearly always were better off for it because, the deposits were more than a month's rent-so not exactly morally repugnant.

You are now protected by law though and landlords cannot keep your deposit without good reason and if you do withhold your last month's rent they will be out of pocket.

You need to check if your deposit is in the scheme as it should be and if not then you can claim some sort of compensation. (not expert)

ATouchOfStuffing Thu 06-Dec-12 19:30:30

You could argue that if you accept to live somewhere and sign a Contract that you should be happy with what is there before signing? I think if you rent thinking that once you move in somewhere the LL will do expensive works just because you ask, you will be very dissapointed. Make a list of what is important to you (double glazing, nice carpet, no damp smell etc) and stick to it when you are choosing where to live, as you would if you were BUYING somewhere.

Marcheline Thu 06-Dec-12 19:46:50

Renter - do you have a certificate showing that your deposit was registered with a government approved deposit protection scheme?

If you don't, you can claim up to 3x the value of your deposit from your LL or letting agent, depending on who you paid it to.

Without an inventory, they cannot prove the state that the property was in when you moved in, and you would get all your deposit back.

Deposits are meant to be held for delapidations but CAN be used for outstanding rent. Doesn't mean that what you are suggesting is the 'right' thing to do, but...

First of all, see if you can find a registration certificate for your deposit and the 'prescribed information' from the deposit protection scheme used by your agent / LL. If you don't have that, google the government website (can't remember it off the top of my head) and find out if your deposit is registered and find out the info about how to claim money from your LL / agent (you'd prob have to take them to court but could be worth it to you).

Secondly, if they plan to make deductions, they need to tell you within 14 days of you leaving the property. You can raise a dispute with the deposit scheme (if your money is in a scheme - if there isn't, you can take them to court as above) and you WILL won as tree wasnt an inventory.

Sorry for long post. Hope it helps.

1charlie1 Thu 06-Dec-12 19:47:43

ATouchOfStuffing - many, many people renting in this country cannot afford to have a 'list' of desirable qualities for choosing a property. Our 'choice' was limited to: can we afford this? Surely, ALL properties rented on a commercial basis should be fit for habitation. We didn't 'test' the windows to see if they were normal glass - we just, um, assumed the windows were like the windows in normal houses - not made of glass from a backyard greenhouse. If we could afford a double glazed property, with nice carpets etc, we would have rented one. But does that mean I should be content that in my 'cheap' property, mould is growing in the corners, (because the downpipes have been improperly fitted, and now water is running internally into the walls)? Our property is priced at the maximum rent that two people working full-time on the minimum wage can aspire to, yet it was the cheapest we could find. Actually BUYING something is an impossible dream. The disjunct between income and housing costs is an appalling social problem.

ATouchOfStuffing Thu 06-Dec-12 19:59:03

Fair point re the glass - that does sound a strange thing to do (!) as a landlord. But if there is mould and damp then this shouldn't be hard to discover before moving in. If you think there is a health hazard you can take action, as I said in my earlier post, against the LL. But, as anything, if you are spending the majority of your income on it, you have to check it is what you really want first; the onus is on you to check it before you sign.

Doinmummy Thu 06-Dec-12 19:59:34

I'm on the other side of this as a LL. I have never refused to return a deposit DESPITE my property being left filthy with tables/chairs/ toilets etc broken.

A deposit can't be used as rent. A tenant tried to do this to me and my solicitor said its not legal . I lost out anyway as he left the room in a dreadful state( had put a shelf up using CEMENT which pulled the plaster off the wall). He owed me hundreds in rent and damages but disappeared.

AmberSocks Thu 06-Dec-12 20:13:54

We did it and im glad we did,they sent us an email after we had left of costs and they charged us something like 200 pound for moving a microwave we left there(which worked,we thought it would be handy for whoever moved in next) and 300 for a toilet lid.We paid nearly 3k for the deposit so we just didn't pay the last months rent because they were being arseholes about when we could move.

AmberSocks Thu 06-Dec-12 20:15:43

Thet took it to the TDS (?) and they ruled that the landlord was allowed the deposit and that any other outstanding costs should be forgotted about because we lived thre for 2 years and it took them a month to get back to us when we told them we wanted to move.

Rentergirl Thu 06-Dec-12 20:21:51

That's what I'm afraid of Ambersocks. They haven't shown themselves to be reasonable or decent in the past two years.

And 'karma'. funny i was only saying to a friend the other day i don't believe in karma. most people, decent people, intelligent people, live and learn as they go along, and nature is cruel and bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. It's random.

What ive lived and learned over the last two years is that my landlords would have no qualms about not returning my deposit. i think the mortgage repayment on this place is higher than the rent.

haven't 100% made my decision yet. I might send an email to the agent suggesting this course of action and see if he goes all legal on me or not.......

1charlie1 Thu 06-Dec-12 20:32:17

DH is using my nickname to post here:
I quite understand good landlords feeling powerless in the face of poor tenants. However the consequences for a good landlord with a poor tenant are not as dire as for a good tenant with a poor landlord. The landlord may lose large sums of money due to a poor tenant, however the tenant may lose the money needed to gain a roof over their head. If rentergirl is overly concerned I cannot blame her for contemplating legally dubious behaviour.

It is often hard for good people, on either side, to understand the poor practices of their fellow landlords/tenants. Our particular landlord has shown no sign of wanting to maintain his own investment, let alone provide decent quality accomodation.

whois Thu 06-Dec-12 21:46:54

You really shouldn't do this.
You really shouldn't take advice from people who haven't rented recently either about how 'everyone' does this. They don't.

As has been said, your deposit should be in the protection scheme and so you should actually get it back. Esp with no inventory.

You don't have to put up with crap landlords you know... Move out / don't rent somewhere crap / move further out if you have to. Honestly.

EdwardtheEagle Thu 06-Dec-12 21:54:35

Not read whole thread...
Don't tell them you're going to do it just do it!!! You don't owe them any loyalty. No one will say you 'should' but every renter does this - they'll expect it but won't admit it. You'll be gutted when you've 'done the right thing' and then they shaft you otherwise.

cumfy Thu 06-Dec-12 22:06:49

But do you really really not need an LL reference, ever ?

Nuttyprofessor Thu 06-Dec-12 22:07:08

I have done this in the past. I am now a landlord and I still say do it. If you can't trust them then don't give them the chance.

I don't see the problem they wont lose anything.

Fairenuff Thu 06-Dec-12 22:22:01

but they'd have to give back the deposit when I left, so they're not out of pocket, so WHAT would they be pursuing through the small claims court? surely landlords would only do that if the property was actually damaged by the renter?

I rented a house to a tenant that didn't pay their last month's rent. I filed a claim online with the County Court for the rent, interest and the £80 court fee.

The court ruled that there was no defence. The tenant had broken the contract.

They have now issued a County Court Judgement against the tenant. This will affect her credit rating and make it difficult to borrow in the future.

Don't be silly, just pay your rent and, provided you have looked after the place in accordance with the terms of your contract, the deposit will be returned to you when you vacate the property.

LRDtheFeministDude Thu 06-Dec-12 22:26:27

It's illegal and a stupid idea, sorry.

vintagewarrior Thu 06-Dec-12 22:42:22

Haven't read the whole thread, but i ended up with a CCJ doing that.
I'd say don't do it.

GinSoakedMu1berryLush Fri 07-Dec-12 07:25:02

why did you do that though Fairenuff? did you make money? as a landlord, what was the point?

What does that mean for the tennant? Will they get their deposit back if they pay you the last month's rent? confused

GinSoakedMu1berryLush Fri 07-Dec-12 07:30:37

Were you annoyed because you had planned to hold on to the deposit?

HisstletoeAndWhine Fri 07-Dec-12 07:39:31

Why is there still a debate going on? It's been explained adequately.

The deposit belongs to the tenant, held by a 3rd party, to be claimed against IF the LL can prove they have incurred cost or damage above and beyond reasonable wear and tear. If there are kids, and a H there is more allowance for FW&T than if there were one person. This, even when there IS a cast-iron, clear and undisputed inventory. In this case, there isn't so initial condition/cleanliness can't be established. That fact alone is enough to give the teNant an immediate and clear return of full deposit. It's THAT simple.

The rent belongs to the LL. The contract clealy states that. If the tenant withholds this, they can be sued.

OP, go see your CAB office, or email Shelter. They'll tell you to pay the last months rent, as the deposit service CAN'T award it to the LL in lieu of rent. They will tell you to relax about the deposit, that you'll get it back it protected.

If it's not, you can potentially take the LL to court for 3x the deposit amount (plus costs) so your position is rock solid.

Pay the rent, accept that you may have to go to the Arbitration service, but you can be safe in the knowledge that you'll get it all back.

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