Change in deposit scheme - one new tenant

I have 2 tenants in my flat, each which has paid a £1000 deposit held by DPS. One has moved out but was in arrears for rent and has agreed I should keep the £1000 deposit, plus he still owes me £400. I have a new tenant in now who has paid me a £850 deposit directly (lower amount based on new rules) and I would like to put her name onto deposit. DPS says I need to return the deposit to BOTH tenants, holding back as much as I need, and then re-deposit under new names. This seems really clunky! Plus odd as it’s only one tenant that I have an issue with.

Is there any way on DPS to just go through this process for only the tenant moving out? Or just change the name of tenant on DPS and make a claim for the difference between £850 and £1000 which is the amount that should go to me?

It sounds like this is not just about the deposit, but could be about properly ending a tenancy. Unless this is done, you will create and even bigger mess and could lose a lot of money. Some questions:

  1. Is this a home that you are also living in?
  2. If not then did the original two tenants have a joint tenancy?
  3. At the point at which the one tenant moved out was the tenancy in the fixed term?
  4. Did the tenant serve a formal notice or did you just agree that they could move out?
  5. Has the second tenant paid any rent since the first one moved out?
  6. Was there a tenancy agreement for the new tenant and if so is that a joint agreement?

The answers to these questions are vital to understand your next steps.

Thanks David. Here’s my response:

  1. No, don’t live there
  2. pretty sure it was not set up as joint tenancy
  3. no it was month to month
  4. formal email to notify they were moving out
  5. Existing tenant has been paying their share of the rent, and new tenant has been paying their share of the rent
  6. each tenant has their own agreement

Your questions are making me think maybe OpenRent should have placed deposits separately into DPS to avoid this nightmare!

So if each of the original and new tenants have separate room-only tenancy agreements you just deal with each tenant separately. I’m not sure why DPS think this is a joint tenancy?

If each tenant has their own agreement, by law, they should have had individual deposit agreements
One joint contract means one deposit agreement with all tenant names.
In law if you have two contracts and one deposit the deposits are not viable ( I have been in this mess before and had to resubmit as the deposit is classed as not protected and yes that does mean the dire consequences that follows for the landlord).

I would advise you to refund the monies and start again. The names on the deposit agreement should match the contract.
The only disadvantage is getting the money back to resubmit (off the tenant that is staying)
DPS are correct if there is a change in name on the contract you have to start all over again. The only time it can continue is the names or address have not changed ( I can’t remember what you do if the rent changes)

I suspect that this is a joint tenancy and that some short-cuts may have been taken in the change of tenant.