Charges Pertaining to Deposit Disputes

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Dear All,
I wonder if you could help.
I had a flat let to a single and a couple. The couple gave notice and broke the contract, leaving after a month. They made no effort to find a replacement tenant, but the remaining tenant managed to, who then moved in after 14 days. A Deed of Assignment of tenancy was duly signed by all parties. There was a dispute over bills between the tenants but I stayed well out of it (the utility companies wouldn't give me any info anyway!)
I wrote to all 3 saying that, after the deduction of the appropriate amount of rent for the period of 14 days for the vacated room, I would like to return the share of the deposit of the departed two tenants. The departed two maintain that they paid all the deposit, the remaining one says she paid a third of it. The money came from one account in the name of one of the departed tenants.
So, how much should I give back to whom?
I've written to all 3 many times now and frankly am fed up! They just can't come to an agreement, so I've finally contacted the tenancy deposit scheme (the departers left 15 months ago...) and the deposit is now officially 'in dispute'.
One of the departers is FURIOUS and is writing increasingly BONKERS emails demanding I return ALL of the deposit to the account from which it came (ie the other departer). I've told her that it's NOT possible (nor will it be all as there is the rent deduction to make). I've also said that I will now include an amount for my reasonable costs in writing to them all and spending hours trying to give them back their money!
My questions are as follows:
1) Is there a formula to use for how much to give back to whom (as they just can't agree)?
2) How much can I charge for 'reasonable costs'?
The crazy departed tenant writing the emails is a solicitor so believes she can allege what she likes and us mere mortals will just obey. I want to demonstrate that there is a cost involved...
Hope you can help!
Many thanks,
09/05/2015 07:29

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