Dispute with ex-tenant

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I let a property in March 2008 to a polish man on a 12 month assured tenancy. The tenancy was arranged via an agent so I had no direct contact with the tenant. It was a 3 bed house and unknown to me this man did not move in but used the property to house a number of Polish workmen (names unknown). In September I was notified by phone that he was going to vacate the property, this was still within the first 6 months. It was only after he vacated that I became aware of how the property had been used. As he had failed to give me 2 months written notice I withheld his deposit (2000 equal to 2 months rent). I had no further contact with the tenant as I did not know where to contact him. No delapidation form was signed by the tenant on vacation of the property.

On inspecting the property there were dirty matresses on the floor, the carpets were sodden and had to be replaced, despite the tenancy agreement stating 'no smoking' the house smelt of smoke and in general the house had been poorly maintained. It cost me 350 to have the property cleared of the furniturs/rubbish as well as in excess of 1000 for new carpets and the need to redecorate.

I held the deposit in a seperate bank account as I had always done prior to this tenancy but had not realised at this time the TDS requirements so have to admit I did not secure this deposit under the scheme.

The ex-tenant has just contacted me regarding the deposit. I have never before had any difficulty with tenants or felt the need to withhold a deposit but given the circumstances I feel I am within my rights to retain the money. Obviously moral rights and legal rights are not the same and I am unclear where I stand with this now. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

03/05/2010 00:00

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