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Obligation to return deposit if tenant moving out without notice

  • 24-01-2023 3:10pm
    Registered Users Posts: 717 ✭✭✭

    I am renting out rooms in a property. I am selling it and asked the Tenants if they would like to stay until June - students - as originally planned, or would they like to move out before that in April when college finishes. I agreed that I would not have viewings until they moved out. They agreed to stay, but then one week later stated they wanted to move out immediately, and requested full return of their deposit. They said that Threshold, said that there are no contractual obligations for licensee and that they are entitled to full return of deposit if the move out. This will leave me out of pocket as the bills are included in the rent. I offered half of the deposit to be returned as a goodwill gesture for moving out with one week's notice. The rent is paid monthly, and the original email to them when moving in was that the room was to be available to them until June. I agreed not to change this if they still wanted same. Where do I stand with this?



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,636 ✭✭✭dennyk

    Do you live in the property? If so, they are indeed licensees, not tenants, and the rules are very different. Licensees are not obligated to give any advance notice of termination unless their license agreement stipulates one, so you can't withhold their security deposit on that basis. What does your written agreement with your licensees say on the matter?

    If you fail to return the deposit, the RTB won't help them, since they're licensees, but Threshold will probably point them to small claims court to recover their deposit, so you'll then have that situation to deal with on top of trying to sell your property.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,643 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    How will you be our of pocket? If they're not there, then they aren't using electricity etc.

    If there's no damage, and they've paid for the time they were there, then give them the deposit and be thankful they found somewhere to move to.

  • Registered Users Posts: 717 ✭✭✭Hannaho

    The licence agreement says a month's notice.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,354 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    Not worth the paper it's printed on if they're truly licensees.

  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 13,962 Mod ✭✭✭✭pc7

    Do you live in the property?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,714 ✭✭✭Xterminator

    if you live there this person is not a tenant. did you& they sign anything when they moved in? unless you have explicit grounds for keeping the rent then you should return it.

    EG pursuant to your agreement signed on the date of XXX or email on date XXX where they agreed to give 1 months notice. If its all verbal give them their money back. even if you have such an agreement you should return 1/4 of the deposit for 1 weeks notice.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,088 ✭✭✭herbalplants

    Give them their deposit back. They are students, deposit is a lot of money for them. What exactly bills will you be out of pocket? Sure if they were not living there, you would have to pay all by yourself.

    Living the life

  • Registered Users Posts: 717 ✭✭✭Hannaho

    I keep a room for myself in the house. The bills are in my name and included in the rent. The written agreement stated one month's notice and return of deposit if nothing broken, and that bills were included in rent. I am happy to return 50% deposit.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,088 ✭✭✭herbalplants

    But why return just 50%. Where is the logic in this? Perhaps do some estimate on the bills. You keep a room in the house so add yourself for a share of the bills standing charges.

    You should be delighted that they are looking to go and you be able to sell with no issues. Be greatful rather than argue with students?

    Living the life

  • Registered Users Posts: 33 Data Analyst

    Do you actually live at that address or just not renting out 1 room to make it look like you live there

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  • Registered Users Posts: 717 ✭✭✭Hannaho

    There is no rent a room relief is noy my partner. I rent out 2 rooms.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,064 ✭✭✭blackbox

    If they have paid rent for all of the time they lived there, I can't see any justification for withholding any part of the deposit.

    Why would they pay for any services they haven't used?

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,367 ✭✭✭✭Jim_Hodge

    You have no right to hold the deposit at all. They are not tenants and any agreement has no basis in law, as a result. The bills are your bills, not theirs. I'm sure you're happy to keep half the deposit but it's a deplorable thing to do. You were moving them out anyway. Very bad form on your part to withhold any deposit. Hopefully they'll get decent advice and pursue you for the full deposit returned.

  • Registered Users Posts: 247 ✭✭mct1

    You can tell them they're wrong about what Threshold says. Their website states that even though the licensee cannot rely on tenancy legislation,

    "We recommend that both you (the licensee) and the homeowner (the licensor) still draft an agreement in writing covering the key issues of the rental agreement – deposit, rent, bills, house rules and how either party may end the letting – which can be referred to if a dispute arises."

    They also say that if the deposit is unfairly retained, the smalls claims court is an option.

    So if the students did in fact sign a written agreement to give a month's notice it appears that you can legitimately withhold a proportion of the deposit. If the students didn't actually sign this then maybe return the full deposit.

    It seems that you were trying to be fair with the June and April options, and maybe you also mentioned to the students that you were selling, but unfortunately all that may have given them the impression that you didn't mind when they moved out one way or another.

    Maybe though it's time to compromise, for your own peace of mind if nothing else. Keep a week's worth of the deposit and return the rest. Tell them they are very lucky this time and you hope they've learned a lesson for the future. Sell the house and move on!

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,168 ✭✭✭✭Marcusm

    You don’t live in the property by your own admission meaning that it does not fall outside the ambit of RTA 2004 meaning that you have served an invalid termination notice which they don’t need to abide by. You want the property to sell it, if you have any cop on you would let them leave now and return the full deposit or you’ll likely risk them becoming aware of their rights and simply refusing to leave and stop paying rent.

    believing that “keeping a room in the house” means that it falls outside tenancy protection is not only farcical but contemptible.

  • Registered Users Posts: 246 ✭✭User142

    You have to be joking. If you want a simple life, give the students back their money. You "kept a room" and in the house and put the bill in your name, all the bills are on you.... sure youre the only one using the utilities.

  • Registered Users Posts: 331 ✭✭Madeoface

    Looks like you are trying to outwit your obligations as a landlord by pretending to keep a room in the house when it's clearly not ur PPR from other posts. Is it registered with the RTB even? Revenue declared?

    Pay the kids their deposit and don't be so miserable. Cos if you ain't declaring those students could land u right in it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,629 ✭✭✭Wildly Boaring

    All these students need to do is find the right person and you'll be paying them to leave

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 20,643 CMod ✭✭✭✭amdublin

    Seriously. Stop being irrational and stingey. Give the deposit back and sell your house

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,454 ✭✭✭thomas 123

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,636 ✭✭✭dennyk

    Return their full deposit and be happy that they are leaving without any sort of fuss. You've dodged a bullet here, as if they wanted to stay in the property, they might have discovered that there's a strong possibility that they are tenants rather than licensees, and then you could have been months or years getting them out. If you try to push back on them leaving early or you threaten to withhold their deposits, there's a very real risk they will get onto Threshold again or go to the RTB (especially if they lose whatever alternative accommodations they've evidently secured for themselves in the meantime) and it's going to come to light that you aren't living in the property with them, and then it's not going to go well for you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 155 ✭✭CrazyEric

    Why would they be licensees instead of Tenants? If the Landlord doesn't actually live at the property, and the Students can prove that, then are they not tenants regardless of what the Landlord says?

    I always thought a Licensee had to give a months notice if the rent was monthly? It is no wonder Landlords like this are selling up and getting out of the rental business.

  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 13,962 Mod ✭✭✭✭pc7

    This person is trying to pull a fast one, keeping a 'room' and living elsewhere all under the pretense to make the licencees is a dodge pure and simple. Its carry on like this that gives landlords a bad name. They should give back the deposits and be happy they haven't been reported end of.

  • Registered Users Posts: 244 ✭✭FedoraTheAura

    It sounds like she has made out that they are licensees and not tenants, probably for tax purposes, which she will hopefully be reported for. If they prove prove that, she will have a much harder time of it and be fined accordingly.

    It is no wonder people have such a bad attitude towards landlords when you have some acting like this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,126 ✭✭✭kabakuyu

    Return the deposit and consider yourself lucky.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,454 ✭✭✭thomas 123

    Is a deposit calculated in as part of the profit?

    They have done no damage. They know that they needed to find a new place - they found one luckily. The LL is not losing out on income as they are not having another tenant since the end goal was for them to move out anyway.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,973 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    Big difference as regards CGT depending on whether it is a PPR or not.

    Not to mention the 14k tax free income under reant-a-room relief for qualifying homeowners

  • Registered Users Posts: 155 ✭✭CrazyEric

    If the renter took a License instead of a tenancy and signed the agreement then what is the issue? I presume that being a licensee has some benefits for the renter otherwise why would they take it? No utilities and a reduced rental period perhaps?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2 Charlie3030

    Can anyone tell me why they would be tenants and not licensees when they are only renting the rooms? I can see from a tax point of view that there might be a differences, but the contract can not suddenly be different because of this. I see fairly often that ppl are renting out e.g. three rooms in the house, to three different people, without living there (daft: owner occupied "no"). It is impossible that all three would be tenants, as that would be completely impossible to handle.

    I also think you should pay back the deposit. I have had lodgers in the past, after four great experiences (students as well as grown ups), I had one that made my life really miserable, so I will never have one again. Your students seem to have done nothing wrong so be the better person and give them their money back.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,995 ✭✭✭Caranica