Tenant withholding rent

Since issuing S21, my tenants has made numerous threats to withhold rent due to minor issues he identified on the check in reports. I’ve already acknowledge his concerns of some of the minor issues missed and I confirmed that I will take them into consideration at the end of the tenancy. He wrote in an email that he will accept the condition of the flat as it is and all other rents prior to S21 being issued were paid on time. He maid a long list of claims which he costed and believes that the rent he is withholding will cover the cost of his ridiculous claims so this doesn’t constitute breach of contract.

I’ve explained to him that him withholding rent is a breach of the contract and there will be serious consequences and I also advised him to seek legal advice, show them his ridiculous and nonsensical claims and perhaps they might be able to talk some sense into him.

Now the threat to withhold rent has now become a reality as the rent was due today but no payment has been made. He’s already made it clear that he intends to move out next month so I don’t think a possession order will be required. However, I now need support and guidance in recovering the rent that is owed. Based on personal experience from you guys, could you please suggest which Landlord legal firms I can use for advise and support to recover the rent owed. I’ve already contact Landlord Action but haven’t yet received a reply. I do want to speak to a few more firms so I would love recommendations based on personal experience with this sort of issues. I really want to start the process as soon as possible.

Thanks in advance!

If he does end his tenancy then you dont need a solicitor. You just sue him using MCOL.


Thanks David. Can I use MCOL without legal expertise! I’ve seen solicitors online i can use but their is additional fees involve so I perhaps i should just do it myself. If you’ve used MCOL without legal advise, can you summarise your experience and were you successful in getting your cash back.

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What is a MCOL please?

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Money claim online You can google how to do it


@Colin3 , have you used the MCOL service before? If you have what was the process like? I’m a bit reluctant to use it without legal support. I’m concern that I may need to represent myself at court!

never used it I only heard of it.

@Judy9 , you can find more info from here: Make a court claim for money: Court fees - GOV.UK

My understanding is that most people do it themselves. You ideally want their new address for service of the notice.

Do it yourself, it’s easy. Problem is, if tenant doesn’t settle, it will take a year to come to court .

Hi, its waste of time and money. MCOL doesn’t guarantee that you will receive the money from tenant. Its lengthy process. If there is any deposit from tenant, use it against the arrears

Thanks for the advice Grishma and this is what I’ve decided to do too. Use his deposit for the rent he missed. I’m hoping there is no damages as the deposit only covers a month rent.

MCOL is quite easy and I would do it just out of spite and get a cjj against the tenant if nothing else!


To delay the process and drag it further, the idiot have chosen to resolve the deposit dispute through the Courts. I had several conversation with advisors from My Deposit and no one pointed out to me that this was an option. I’m owed rent and the tenant is in arears. Why do we need the court to resolve this. What is the point of Mydeposit? I’m claiming for rent arears, cleaning and maintenance. The deposit doesn’t cover the total amount I’m claiming but I as still happy to walk away if his deposit was awarded to me. Now he has selected the court route, I might go after him through MCOL. Settling the dispute through MyDepost would have been quicker, cheaper and this would’ve been my preference. Has anyone had to use the courts to settle deposit disputes? What is the process like and should I get legal representative? I’m base in London, recommendation of any legal firms would be much appreciated too. I’ve contacted Landlord Action and I was told that one of their legal team would contact me but am still waiting! Thanks in advance guys!

You can claim your court costs as part of the settlement, but if theyre not covered by the deposit, youve little chance of getting the money. Dont forget to ask the judge to award you the deposit in part payment or the scheme may continue to withhold it.

Hi Lawrence,

The deposit scheme will not release the deposit until they get the mutual agreement from landlord and tenant.

Unfortunately you need to fight via MCOL.
I don’t think you need the lawyer / legal firms as their charges will be more than the deposit amount.

Please visit the UK government site and you will find all the useful information on MCOL

You need to have the proof of all the payments with dates and missing months rent email from your tenant.