Tenant deny the expense after checkout


My tenant left with one month left before the expiration of the fixed-term contract and saying they are happy to release the deposit to cover some work as they damaged. Then after i sent them the list of things that need to be fixed or cleared, they are now saying they refuse to pay from the deposit. I feel very shocked being the first time landlord. I am just wondering if anyone got the same experience and feel they are unreasonable?
For example, for things like a broken internal door, I hired a door fitter to supply and fit for ÂŁ90 with the same door from B&Q which i think is very reasonable, but they expect me to charge ÂŁ30 and myself to do the fitting which I am not capable to do; they broke the handle for the main door a couple of years ago, and then I bought a new pair and fitted it myself without charging them anything for goodwill as I do not think this is categorized as normal tear and wear if I asked professional they will have to pay! They broke it again for the second time, so i asked them to pay the handle (not even asking for the fitting cost), they now said that it was because i did not ask professional people to fit it which caused the second time broken!! I feel they are taking advantage of me.

Any advice or experience sharing would be useful!

Lesson… When they said keep the deposit, you should have done that first, then you would have something Lesson dont trust your t…

Yes I know. I thought they are good tenant… So if they refuse to pay the expense as I described above, is that unreasonable and I can get mediation for that?

go for mediation especially if you still have the message that they were willing to let you have the deposit. This is your proof of liability

Thanks. Who will be the one initiate the mediation in this process? The deposit has been put in the government scheme.
To be frank, I did not expect to take their deposit even they said so, but only want to cover the expense that the damage they caused which I think is very reasonable.

you initiate immediately and persist with it

My difficulty is under the current lockdown, workman stopped working so it is hard to get the quote for some of the other works that needs to be done. Under this circumstances, shall I still start the process now even without final quote for everything?

I would yes as the tenant may get in front of you and if the Deposit people dont hear from you they may get their money . Say estimates to follow

I never say or think how good a tenant is until after they have vacated the property as they all lie unless they prove otherwise by leaving the property as they found it which 99.9% never do.


Hi, the key here is did you get this in writing? If they agreed by email to pay for the door then mediation should find in your favour. If it is just your word against theirs, I think you are on a loser and best cut your losses, or charge for things that you could charge for. If you didn’t agree in writing to let them leave early charge them for the additional rent due under the tenancy agreement to the end of the fixed term.

You always need to bear in mind that the tenancy deposit schemes are required to find in the favour of the tenants unless you can prove otherwise. Did you get a professional inventory in and out? If you did then the discrepancies might still be deemed in your favour.

Personally we generally only enforce non payment of rent clauses. Everything else is best done through agreement and exchange of emails, unless it is really bad!

I know it doesn’t help you now, but the lesson to learn is not use a custodial deposit scheme. Pay that little bit (20 quid or so) to insure it instead. That way, you keep control!

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Not so sure about that. We have always used the custodial scheme. I don’t think the scheme is any more likely to find in your favour if the tenant goes for mediation. Obviously if they don’t and just winge at you it may be possible to keep the deposit, but if they go through the correct mediation process I don’t think it any more likely the non-custodial schemes will find in the landlords favour.

So it means if go through the mediation process in DPS, then landlord will fail anyway? I just wanted to get what I should get for what they have damaged. I did not even ask for any cleaning fee back.

The key is that dispute resolution is not automatic with insured schemes. The tenant can request it, but the landlord does NOT have to agree. If the landlord does not agree, the tenant would have to take court action. Providing the deduction isn’t excessive, how likely is it that the tenant will bother with court action? In my experience, almost zero.

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Hi, that is definitely not right. The tenancy schemes all have to provide an alternative dispute resolution process. It is true that there are timelines for the tenant to comply with but provided they do then the scheme cannot just ignore the tenant if the landlord does not want to negotiate. What you describe is exactly the position prior to deposit protection being introduced. Of course the tenant or landlord can go to court if they prefer.

Like you, I generally negotiate and agree prior to going to the deposit scheme. I think that is the best way forwards.

See https://www.gov.uk/deposit-protection-schemes-and-landlords/disputes


Scroll down to the insurance section.

Hi . We had a similar situation. Newly refurbished house, photos, inventory all done. Damage when tenant left after six months. All photographed, receipts for the damage took me days to prepare my case for DPS. They still found in tenants favour! And their reasoning was just plain stupid.
Also, the next tenants, we did pay the bit extra to keep the deposit ourselves, thinking as you did, that we have more control. Not so! If there is a dispute, initiated by either the landlord or tenant, then as I understand it, the landlord has to return the deposit to the DPS until the dispute is resolved, either by the mediation service or by a court.
Personally, I would never use the dispute mediation service again as it lacked any common sense whatsoever. But whether or not a court is better I don’t know. Not sure how it works in a court, is it a small claims? Can you claim the fee back from the tenants if found in your favour?

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Hi David,
If the landlord didn’t agree, would they not expect the landlord to take the court action and if the landlord didn’t, within a certain time frame, would they then not return deposit to the tenant?
I’ve no experience of this but just a thought that popped into my head in view of how deposits are in tenants favour.

Yes, DPS will request the deposit from the landlord, and ask them if they agree to use the dispute resolution scheme; but, if Landlord refuses to send them the deposit, all they can do is to suspend the landlord’s account:

Upon notifi cation by the Tenant to The DPS in accordance with section 17 that there is a Dispute,
The DPS will send the Landlord a Notifi cation of Dispute form requesting that the Disputed Amount
is received by The DPS within 10 calendar days of issuance of the request. This notifi cation will also
request confi rmation that the Landlord agrees to use the ADR service in order to resolve the Dispute.
The notifi cation will also inform the Landlord that if no response is received from them within this
period, the Landlord will be deemed to have given their consent for the Dispute to be resolved through
the ADR service.
b. If the Disputed Amount is not received within 10 calendar days of issuance of the request, a reminder
will be sent to the Landlord giving them a further 7 calendar days to submit the Disputed Amount. This
reminder will contain confi rmation that if the Disputed amount is not received, a Suspension (Scheme
Level) may be applied to the Landlord’s account.
c. If the Disputed Amount is not received after the further 7 calendar days, a Suspension (Scheme Level)
will be applied to the Landlord’s Account. This will result in the Landlord not being able to protect any
further Deposits with the Insured Scheme until the Disputed Amount is received. All active Deposits will
continue to be protected under the Insured Scheme. A suspension notice will be issued to the Landlord,
advising the Landlord that The DPS has determined that their failure to pay to The DPS the Disputed
amount, constitutes a reason to suspend their account. Any Suspension (Scheme Level) will take effect

there might be a case not to take a deposit at all and take all the relevant photos and doccumentation, then if damage is caused , go to court. there would be more chance of success?