Hi, I have surrendered the AST in the fixed term and requested the deposit to pay back to the landlord. Now he is refusing to return the deposit.
Do I have any chances in the small claims court?
You do not have the right to ‘surrender’ your tenancy during the fixed term unless your landlord agrees.
In your question, you don’t refer to any discussion about the surrender or agreement or indeed leaving after activating a break clause in the tenancy agreement, and the way your question is worded tends to indicate that you just left and asked for your deposit back.
If you just left and presented this to your landlord on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis, he is quite within his rights to keep the deposit to go towards the unpaid rent for the remaining part of the fixed term.
Indeed he would also be entitled to sue you for any balance (after the rent has fallen due) – he is under no legal obligation to ‘mitigate his losses’ by re-letting to another tenant. Although most landlords will do that if they can.
If you did agree with your landlord that you could surrender your tenancy early this will almost always be on the basis that the landlord keeps the deposit.
Tenants often don’t seem to realise that a tenancy fixed term is a legally binding agreement to pay rent on a month by month basis (or week by week, etc depending on how rent is paid) for the remainder of the fixed term.
Unless there is a break clause, or unless the landlord has acted unfairly in some way (when the tenant can take advantage of the consumer law ‘unwinding’ remedy during the first 90 days of the tenancy) there is NO right for the tenant to end the tenancy early.
This is one reason why tenants should think carefully before taking out a long fixed term.