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WA Lease and Property Law - Using Advance Payment for Two Weeks' Notice?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Wosephine, 1 September 2014.

  1. Wosephine

    Wosephine Member

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    Hi, My partner and I moved into a shared house over a year ago. We moved in under a verbal agreement paying two weeks rent upfront and a further two weeks rent in advance. We just gave our two weeks notice to leave the property and have stopped the automatic transfer of rent from our account to the lease holders account intending to use the two weeks rent in advance we handed over before moving into the house as our final two weeks rent. Are we allowed to do this? Bare in mind we are not named on the lease. Our rent and contribution to bills has always been on time and the lease holder has never ever had to follow up on monies owed.

    Any advice you can offer would be hugely appreciated.
     
  2. AnnaLJ

    AnnaLJ Well-Known Member

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    Hi Wosephine
    Normally when you pay rent in advance upon entering the new premises this rent is used to cover the first weeks of rent.

    Is there a reason why this wasn't credited to your first two weeks of rent and the lease holder kept you 2 weeks ahead at all times?

    Either way, if you are two weeks ahead then I don't see any reason at all why it wouldn't be acceptable to use your advance rent to pay the last two weeks. If the lease holder specifically stated that this advanced rent was to act as a bond/security though, then they may want to keep it until the final day of your lease when they've had a chance to inspect your room before releasing it. In this case, you would need to pay for those final two weeks and will have to wait to receive the advance rent back.

    It all depends though what was agreed re: the payment of advanced rent when you moved in? Do you have anything in writing?
     
  3. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Wosephine,

    Has your landlord actually objected to this arrangement? It may be that they requested the two weeks rent in advance as a form of bond, in this case, it may be reasonable that they request the rent for the remaining two weeks and then refund your the bond money when you move out. In any case, I would get any arrangement (should they object to your proposal above) in writing, specifying exactly what the payment is for, and what each payment may go towards and when (precise date) you shall get the payments back or under what conditions can they retain part of the payment.
     
  4. Wosephine

    Wosephine Member

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    We gave two weeks ($400) up front when we first rented the room and two weeks(a further $400) in advance on top off that. We have nothing in writing as it is an informal arrangement. The property owner doesn't even know we're in the house. They don't know that the lease holder is subletting. Relations have soured between us and the lease holder. Since my post my partner agreed to pay rent until our room inspection is complete but I do not trust the lease holder will return our $400 as we are taking the white good's we have purchased with us to our new home (fridge was to small, we replaced & washing machine broke, we replaced). We are currently one week into our two week notice with one weeks rent owing. I am going to retain the last weeks rent ($200) leaving the lease holder with with only $200 dollars belonging to us. As it is an informal agreement we have no way to get our money from him if he decides to keep it to replace the white goods. In the whole grand scheme of things it's not a huge amount of money, it's the moral standing that I have an issue with.
     
  5. AnnaLJ

    AnnaLJ Well-Known Member

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    Hi Wosephine

    From the detail you've provided, it does appear that the additional 2 weeks' rent was acting as a bond/security for the lease (or sub-lease, as happens to be the case). As otherwise it would already have been credited to your rent when you commenced the sub-lease. It is a little ambiguous due to nothing being in writing, but to me that sounds like a reasonable conclusion to draw.

    So, you can really only push for the return of that money once you move out and the leaseholder can confirm there was no damage caused by you to the property. If they do not refund you the money, I would be making a claim with the Small Claims Tribunal in your state. If you are worried there is a big chance of this, I would be putting something in writing now saying acting as a notice confirming you will be moving out on 'x' date, that your rent is paid up until this date and that the leaseholder will have 7 days from the date you move out to refund the $400 held as security.

    It will be important to have notified him/her of this formally before making a claim to the small claim's tribunal.

    Best of luck and please let us know how it all turns out for you!

    Anna
     

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