Didn’t protect deposit and tenant turned nasty taking us to court for 6 times deposit!Make Text Bigger
My husband and I have a converted garage annex flat on side of our property and we rented it out in November 2014, we advertised over Gumtree and a couple offered us £850 rent and they gave us £850 deposit. We held the deposit in a separate account which was only used for the deposit and rent. I had rented a flat many years ago and I just did the same this time. We just didn’t know anything about the DPS. we were just were not clued up enough. This was a side income that helped pay the bills while I was off work with our baby. The couple were lovely, shared our garden and everyone was happy.
The 6months tenancy finished in May 15 and the couple really wanted a new year long contract. We agreed and did another tenancy agreement with them. Once this was signed everything changed, he began operating a builders business from this small annex flat, they dumped building rubbish and things in and around the property, mixers, concrete, rubble.
They became noisy, dirty and wanted to build outside. We sent them an email asking them to abide by the tenancy agreement and if they could not, we were happy for them to give us notice.
In August they gave us 1 months notice which we accepted. We found another tenant to move in earlier which worked for everyone. There were a few things that needed doing, carpets cleaning, plastering bits, repainting because of the mess they made. They said they would do it but in the end they didn’t. So we got the work done, agreed everything with them, agreed any costs before taking from their deposit. We then provided all receipts and we paid them back £450 of their £850. We did the check out inventories, gave them receipts for everything, doing check out correctly.
Our new tenant asked if his deposit would be held in an escrow account which started me looking online and we realised then that we should have done this before and that we needed to use a DPS scheme now which we promptly did for the new tenant.
We didn’t think much more about it, but today we received a letter from a solicitor (I think its a no win no fee company). The first tenants are taking us to court for not holding the deposit in a DPS. They solicitors are demanding £5,100. They say the tenants are owed 3 x £850 for the first tenancy (6 months) and a further 3 x £850 for the year long tenancy agreement. Although we did not take any additional deposit.
Now having read and read forum articles and information we know that they can take us to court and the court can slap a penalty of between 1x – 3x the £850 deposit. But would they do that on the rolled over second tenancy agreement? I don’t think the tenants even have any of the tenancy agreements as they dumped them in the bin when they left, does that help our case? Should we see a solicitor asap?
Can you help us at all? We know ignorance isn’t a factor that the law takes into account!! but what can we do now to hope for minimal damage to us?
We are in a bit of a state, this is so much money for us
They have phoned us early hours of the morning, laughing and jeering and sent us texts and come back in their van and dumped building rubbish outside our house.
Thanks in advance
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