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Holiday villa landlord witholding a deposit. Where do I go from here?

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jem_bob | 13:14 Thu 28th May 2009 | Law
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My boyfriend and I recently returned from a holiday in Cyprus. We stayed at a private villa that we found on holidaylettings.com. The man who owns the villa charged us a deposit of �100 to be returned when we arrived home. Whilst we were there, the weather left a lot to be desired, constantly windy (we've never seen anything like it!). The villa had a pool, table and chairs and a parasol. One night the wind picked up terribly, so we went outside and folded the parasol down and laid it on the floor with the soilid marble base still attached. The next morning we woke up to find 2 of the chairs in the pool and the parasol had been dragged around 10 feet and the thing was ruined. The metal spokes had been ripped off the brackets and the material ripped. We text the villa owner to let him know, to which he didn't reply (lack of simple courtesy!). When we arrived home, I emailed him to explain further what had happened and he has just replied this morning to say that he will be charging us �70 for the parasol! He says that we were supposed to keep it indoors overnight, but we were given no instructions to do this whatsoever. There was no welcome pack or instructions to follow regarding the villa, we were just left to our own devices. Now if we had been told this and had ignored it, then yes we would pay. But the fact that we're expected to be mind readers, means we will potentially lose this money over something that was totally out of our control. We did everything we thought necessary to protect the umbrella by folding and lying it down. Does he have the right to withold our money?

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