10:17 AM, 20th August 2014, About 9 years ago 4
A previous tenant left three months into the fixed term six month AST. No notice was given other than a cursory phone call and some texts asking what would happen with their deposit. In good faith I refunded half of the deposit. It seemed pointless to pursue them for outstanding rent and I actually felt sorry for them.
However, we had not protected the deposit.
We have other properties and have used the custodial and insured schemes so there was no excuse, just bad paperwork and admin. No defence on that one. One of the tenants has now come back to me – 5 months later – telling me to send him a cheque for 3 x compensation or he will sue me. We have since recorded the deposit (on advise from the scheme) into the insured scheme.
I hold my hand up to the mistake and realise I have left myself open on this one. But surely, there must be some element of fairness if it were to proceed to court. I have been fair, courteous and honest throughout my written discussions with these individuals. They have been antagonistic, threatening and no acknowledgement that they had a legally binding contract in the first place.
They have a case as the deposit wasn’t protected, I fully accept that but do I have a counter-claim for the broken contract and loss of rent?
I can’t be the only person in the country who’s faced this form of blackmail.