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Rental deposit: what can the landlord use it for?

(10 Posts)
ampere Thu 29-Oct-09 18:46:32

Not a huge issue BUT what can the landlord withhold deposit for?

Been in this rental 6 months and haven't had a single electricity or gas bill (all supposedly arranged by the agent!). We are about to leave and DH rang a power supply company today who confirmed that the bills are being sent to and being paid by the owners ( I guessed which company had the account!).

Naturally we have every intention of paying our bills BUT I am interested in knowing whether the owner can legitimitely deduct the money from our deposit: WILL he have to prove exact amounts before making the deduction IF indeed he is 'allowed' to use our deposit in this way?

kcartyparty Thu 29-Oct-09 22:27:13

Your deposit is used to secure non - payment of rent, and to be used against any damages to the proerty.

Read up on your tenancy agreement.

If he is paying your utility bills then this fact should have been made clear to you and included in your tenancy agreement.

Deposits are meant to be kept in a secure holding with a bank. You are meant to get the deposit back at the end of your tenancy with interest!!

Google: tenancy rights UK for more info

ABatDead Thu 29-Oct-09 23:03:22

ampere - hang on a minute there are a lot of questions that need answering here.

Why is your LL paying the utilities? Was that part of the tenancy agreement? Why did the LL and you you not go through the process of transferring the utility account? Has your LL transferred your deposit to a Tenancy Deposit Scheme?

ampere Fri 30-Oct-09 08:47:52

Hi, all.

Our deposit is being held in a tenancy deposit scheme. The admin of the property is in the hands of a local (registered, above board) agency; the day to day issues (of which there have been none!) are with the owner who lives half a mile away but who doesn't bother us.

I have absolutely no idea WHY the owner is paying our utility bills! There's certainly no agreement that he will! AND as far as I know THIS is his only renter so it's not as if it could have 'slipped through the cracks'.

We were thinking that perhaps he was of the impression that he could just take the money from our deposit at the end of the tenancy- which is fine by us providing he can justify the amount; but surely the risk of our utility bills being MORE than our deposit could loom? As it is we're moving on after only 6 months so that won't be the case.

I am more wondering whether our owner is allowed to take the utility bill amount from our deposit as it isn't 'unpaid rent' or damage to the property?

ABatDead Fri 30-Oct-09 08:59:55

This does sound very odd. Is the LL someone who does not understand how renting works and just assumed they should pay the utilities out of the rent.

Tenancy agreements are usually very explicit about utilites and Council Tax so the agent should have been organising the transfer of al the utility accounts before you moved in.

Perhaps a phone call to the agent and a neutral question about the utilities such as "please can you tell us what the arrangent for the utility accounts is at the end of the tenancy?" might elicit the correct information.

If the tenancy agreemnt says you pay the utility blls and they should be transferred to you then you need to get that sorted out before the tenancy ends not just leave it to come out of the deposit. If the tenenacy agreement says the rent includes utilities then you are in the clear.

ampere Fri 30-Oct-09 12:52:49

I suspect the whole 'Move Me' or 'I am Moving' thing that the agent said he was setting up didn't happen. I don't recall which site they supposedly use. but I am surprised the owner hasn't twigged to the fact he's paying our bills! Tbh we are keen to keep the owner at arm's length, not because we have any issues with him but I don't want or need him calling around, especially now the house is in its '2 weeks before moving out' state!

I have no problem with them taking what we owe out of the deposit, BUT of course I don't know if they're allowed to do that (take utilities out of deposit) and where we stand legally if they CAN do that with them having to produce the evidence of exactly what we owe them ie the bills themselves, not a 'We're taking £400 out of the deposit to cover it', a thing they COULD have done prior to this 'new' rental deposit scheme, I know!

ampere Fri 30-Oct-09 12:55:18

I am wondering exactly whose responsibility it was to ensure that the utility payment responsibility was transferred to us as it didn't happen (though, oddly, the water did! And, being in the same council area as the previous renter we had, we transferred our council tax over, too. It's just gas and electric outstanding).

FangsForTheMemories Fri 30-Oct-09 13:00:54

Unless stated in your tenancy agreement, it is your responsibility to notify gas, electric, water and council tax when you take occupancy of a property and when you leave. Granted, a lot of agents (mine included) will notify all utilities, but this is a service they offer and is not their responsibility to do.

I would definitely check with the agent/landlord to clarify whether your tenancy agreement stipulated who was responsible for the utilities.

ampere Fri 30-Oct-09 14:15:42

I do wonder whether it is a service you PAY for, though? For THEM to sort out the transfer of the utilities?

fluffles Fri 30-Oct-09 14:22:04

you need to ask the agency - this is very unusual, my agency (am a LL with one flat only that i used to live in) would always sort out bills as part of the basic service - afterall, they are taking a big chunk out of the rent each month, they ought to be doing something in return!

most inventories or moving-in paperwork also has a place for you to put the moving in and out meter readings and sign to witness the readings so there can be no question of anyone paying for more or less than what they used.

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