Tenant refusing to pay final month's rent

I have a fixed-term 12-month tenancy in place, which has a 6-month break clause and a two-month notice requirement. However, after four months, the tenants (a couple) have said they want to move out, and are asking me to “adjust” the deposit against the final month’s rent.
They have grounds to leave, and I am going to be reasonable about that. However, what recourse do I have to ensure that they actually pay the rent that is now due? There is the standard 3% arrears clause, but if they are not going to pay at all, that seems neither here nor there.

I would tell them to pay or you will issue a mcol against them , the deposit is only for damage and any arears , you may well be out of pocket , and what if they don’t agree to release deposit and they move out ?
Also look into the ast to see if they don’t pay the rent they can’t leave via a break clause? I do know a number of ast do .


The main leverage you have is that they will presumably need a reference and one of the questions will be if all rent is paid on time. If they dont pay the rent tell them that this will come out in references which is likely to impact their ability to find alternative accomodation, assuming they havent already.


Not sure I understand your point about the break clause. Do you mean a provision that says something like “the break clause won’t work if you don’t pay your rent on time”?

Did you use the OpenRent Tenancy Agreement?

“8.5 The Tenant shall not be entitled to withhold the payment of any instalment of Rent or any other monies payable under this agreement on the ground that the Landlord holds the Deposit or any part of it.”

If they withhold the final month’s rent, they will be breaking the agreement. That, coupled with the threat of MCOL and a truthful reference should help persuade them.

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Yes, that clause is in the agreement. The issue is that they either don’t understand the ramifications or don’t particularly care about them, as I hinted in the original post.
Here’s an extract from the email I sent them:

  • The Tenancy Agreement is for a period of 12 months, commencing February 26th
  • There is a Mutual Break Clause (clause 12.6) which allows the tenancy to be terminated with two months’ notice, effectively ending the tenancy six months after its commencement date
  • Rent is payable for each month in advance (clause 9.2)
  • Interest is payable on arrears of rent (clause 9.3)
  • the Deposit is not meant to be used in lieu of rent (clause 8.6)
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What did they say when you told them that they couldnt use the deposit to pay rent?

Not a lot. They get it, but don’t want to or don’t think they have to pay.

If it comes to it, you will have to sue them using MCOL for anything you cant recover through the deposit.

i just googled the reviews for mcol I had not realised what it is until you mentioned it . The reviews are 85% bad service and just 4% excellant. Maybe what we expect from a goverment service?

Yes, Ive never used it but I understand its not the easiest to use.

I had a tenant who wanted the deposit adjusted for the final. month rent, I just wanted her to leave, I agreed. she went back to USA and said she will not claim the deposit. she emailed DPS before she left re her intentions. I know the damages were huge and I could not recover even if the deposit were used for it. Sometimes it is less hassle to get rid of a problem tenant this way. This property was our large family home, we had a lot of attachment to it, but we sold it in the end and moved on.