Tenant breaks contract early, keep or return deposit?

Hi all,

My tenant was 3 months into their contract (6 month ast), messaged me to say, due to family issues and unforseen circumstances they were going to be moving out early and this would be their last month living in my property (turned out the tenant was homesick and wanted to move back to be with family).

I explained that they still legally had 3 months remaining and that they would still be liable to pay all rent until the end of the contract, but I would advertise the property and try and find a new tenant immediately, and if I managed to do so they would no longer be liable for rent as of the new tenants start date. I also advised them I would have additional costs to find a new tenant which would be £79 and I would expect that cost to be covered up front, which they agreed to.

Thankfully a new tenant was found and moved in a month later. My question is, does the tenant who broke their contract forfeit their deposit money or does it have to be returned please?

Due to various things, I was unable to inspect the property after the tenant moved out, and the new tenants moved in the same day and have reported some damages, so if I was keeping the deposit on the grounds the tenant broke their lease early, this would allow me to cover the costs of these repairs just about.

Ooh and the tenant has just messaged me saying their new landlord maybe requesting a reference from me.

Whether they moved out early or not, you can’t just KEEP the deposit. If you have losses over and above the rent, you have to calculate them properly, allowing for age and wear & tear. You are also entitled to recover any admin losses from recontracting. You can then make a claim against their deposit with the scheme, but if you didn’t inspect before the new tenant moved in then you may not get anything as the ex tenant can just say it wasn’t them.


I would personally deduct a fair amount from damages and expenses and wait to complete their reference until agreed. Read between the lines why.

If you didn’t get an independent professional to do a pre and post tenancy report you don’t have a leg to stand on about the damage . It your word against the tenants. Id just move on and write it off .

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