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Nightmare Landlord doesn't want me to LEAVE, might not give deposit back??

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TSR's new app is coming! Sign up here to try it first >> 17-10-2016
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    in b4 essay (skip to bold part)

    I'm staying as a lodger, but my landlord and his family have been very rude to me (his kids in particular) and behind my back, so long story short I am leaving. I have offered to leave a few times in the past, and mentioned the kids' behaviour, but they always pretend to be nice to my face when that happens and then laugh with their kids about it late so at the start of the month I said sod it and gave my verbal notice to the landlady for September. I always pay my rent on time, am polite etc.

    However, I am 100% sure they need the money. I rented a room in his other place from him previously and moved out because he wanted his friends there, apparently they got evicted from their old place (I don't know if he was lying and just wanted to give his friends a better deal than they were getting because they seemed like decent people to me and were obviously employed and paying their rent on time). But they are soon leaving that place as well as me leaving his house, so he is no longer getting a lot of rent. And the landlord is the only person who works in the household, he has to work at night sometimes too to pay the mortgage and often says "I have no money". So they have really started acting up and being weird around me to try to manipulate me into staying. At the start of my tenancy I thought we were friendly because he was also my previous landlord, however they are trying to use this now to get me to hang around.

    For example, he keeps making up that there are people coming to view the place when there aren't, perhaps trying to get me to sign a new contract. I know people cancel sometimes but this is too much of a coincidence, and he told me he had an ad on Gumtree when I was also looking for places on Gumtree and couldn't find anything by him. The place is pretty grim TBH anyway, not dirty but most people wouldn't want to be a lodger in this area and with a house with very rude kids. Looking back this also happened when I rented from him previously. I extended my contract a few times for a couple of months, and every time just before this happened he would tell me multiple people were coming to view the place and they never did. He has begun doing this again now, even doing stuff like come downstairs when I am quietly getting something out of the fridge very late at night just to tell me there's a "viewing" at 9am the next day - and not ONE person has come. I've also overheard him telling his wife in Chinese (I have friends who speak it so they translate for me) something along "smart people profit/benefit" and I know it was a conversation about me because she said my name just beforehand. And telling their kids in English they need me to stay when they think I'm not around/can't hear them.

    Anyway essay over, I am finding a new place ofc for around a month from now. My main worry however is that he won't give back my deposit plus some other money he owes me. I gave him some money for the council tax on my previous place, because he wanted to pay it, and he didn't pay it for months and kept making excuses, I actually had to sit down with him and see it got done. But I got the single person's discount and paid him the full amount. He still hasn't given me back the differenceand promised to do so at the end of the tenancy, but I know what he is like about money. He also said he'd pay me £20 because his friends moved into his old place I stayed in early and I couldn't use the sitting room as one of them was sleeping there, but I know that is going to be hard to get from him also.

    I have paid up till the end of the month, and my deposit + what he owes me is just slightly less than the amount I will owe him for the remainder of the rent (till around mid-September). Is it legal to only pay him the remaining rent amount minus my deposit + what he owes me? (I don't know if it makes any difference but he refers to my deposit as a "key charge," and he hasn't protected it which is legal now because I'm a lodger but was illegal before as I had an assured shorthold tenancy with him).

    If not, how do I get this money from him?

    I don't think it's advised to withhold the money and in theory he could pursue you for it (although my guess is you'd win?) but if you think he will refuse to return it this is a tactic you could try, assuming nothing is damaged so you wouldn't owe anything anyway.

    Try contacting Shelter for advice (as I'm not sure how the laws vary for lodging vs tenancy) - ordinarily withholding rent for any reason can get you into big trouble so I wouldn't advise it without correct advice.

    Non-legally, perhaps talk to him and set out when you are leaving, what money he owes you and maybe agree informally whether you can subtract what they owe (and get it in writing JiC) - that way there's no excuse they don't have enough.
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