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topletters

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  1. Hi Received a strange phone call from someone saying he is from a company called DMP, claiming to be an agency for several creditors who allege I am in debt to them. He spoke in very broken English and when I tried to get a phone number for his company and their address, he said he could not give his number and he mumbled a few things for their location such as London and 2 characters of a post code. He also said I owed a lot of money in taxes to the UK government. I told him that at the moment we have no debts, although have had in the past, and that no one has actually written to us chasing us for any monies, including the Inland Revenue. I told him it sounded like a [problem] to me, to which he took great exception. I put the phone down on him only for him to call me back. He also asked to speak to my wife. Where he got her name and our home number, I don't know. After the second discussion got very heated, he put the phone down on me. You can imagine the answer when I rang I471. Has anyone had experience of this so-called company or anything similar? How do they get such information and is there any advice anyone can give to counteract it? Many thanks Mark topletters
  2. Hi My guess is that the landlord does not have a case to retain the deposit. On the one hand, your son may have a bit of a battle to get the deposit back if he has nothing in writing from the landlord confirming he is happy with the condition of the property, or there being no inventory. However, your son would stand a good chance, as I see it, of getting his money awarded in full if he took the landlord to the Small Claims Court. For a start, it is a criminal offence under Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 for a landlord not to provide a gas safety certificate from a CORGI registered engineer at the outset of a tenancy. It is also meant to be then checked and CORGI certified annually. Secondly, even assuming the landlord had a valid case to reclaim from the deposit, he should at least be able to give a itemised breakdown of the costs for the works to be carried out e.g. quotes from reputable tradesmen etc. Seems that instead he has plucked figures from the air. I would advise that your son writes to the landlord telling him that unless he refunds the deposit in full within 7 days, as previously verbally agreed by the landlord himself, he will apply to the Small Claims Court for the deposit in full and any costs incurred. He should point out in the letter that the carpet's condition was discussed at the outset when the landlord agreed it was in a naff condition. He should also point out in the letter the serious issue of no gas safety certificate being supplied and that this will be mentioned to the court if it goes that far. topletters
  3. Hi Mark To take a claim to a Small Claims Court would cost £30.00 if you are claiming anything up to £300.00. I believe it is £45.00 if over that. Even if you have doubts about actually applying to the SMC, to warn of such action in your letter might just persuade the letting agent to back down. I have seen it happen many times. Another option you could consider is contacting the housing advice team of your local authority and see if they will mediate with the letting agent on your behalf. You could also speak to your nearest SHELTER office. Best wishes topletters
  4. Hi My first question to you be this: did you do an inventory check with the letting agent both when you moved into the property and on the date of your departure? Did you take any photos of the condition? Another question I have is to ask when did your tenancy commence? If it happened to be after 06 April this year, your deposit would be protected. If you are adamant that you did not apply this paint they suggest you did, and assuming they cannot prove it, I suggest you write to the letting agent pointing this out and that if they do not refund the rest of your deposit within say 7 or 14 days, you will take them to the Small Claims Court. Mention that you have received professional advice. Hopefully, they will back down. Having dealt with lettings agents and landlords or several years, I know how they try to think up ways to keep a tenant's money. Best wishes
  5. Dear Michelle Having work in a council housing advice team for many years, I have always understood that there is a responsibility upon your council's staff to ensure they give you the correct information. Those 2 inspectors that doors were not part of the council's rolling maintenance programme, and that it only applied to windows. You asked if it was okay to install a door at your own expense, and were advised it was not a problem. If there was any doubt in the minds of those 2 inspectors about the door, they should have at least checked with their office that doors were not part of a rolling programme over the next few years, knowing the expense you would have to go through. You asked the question and were told there was no problem with you installing your own door. Did anyone tell you that to be on the safe side, put it in writing? Does not appear so. Like the rest of us when we contact any service and ask a question, you are only as good as the information you are given. Yes, check your council's complaints procedure and the steps for requesting compensation, and find out the senior person to whom to send it. I have seen may people succeed over the years with such action. I would word it along such lines as follows: Dear ----- Complaint & Request for Compensation I write to make a complaint about the service and advice I have received from council staff concerning a matter of concern to me, and to make a claim for compensation. This is because I acted upon advice given to me by staff, which turned out to incorrect, and this cost me a considerable sum of money. I received 2 visits from council inspectors with regard to your intended programme to install new UPVC windows in council homes. I was told by these inspectors that the programme would not include doors. I asked each inspector if I could install a new UPVC door at my own expense. Both said this would not be a problem, knowing that it was going to cost me a lot of money. Neither inspector told me to put this request in writing, and neither checked if doors were due to be part of any future such maintenance programme. I went ahead with purchasing the door from money it took me a long time to save. This matter has caused me a great deal of distress over the past few days. It began when I received a letter from your office informing me that doors as well as windows were to be fitted in council properties. I discovered that I need not have spent all that money after all. {you could mention here about your phone call to the office and what staff said to you!!]. The council failed in this instance to give me the correct service and advice. By acting upon the advice your staff gave, I spent the sum of £--- on a new UPVC door, which is a lot of money for someone in my position. I have now discovered that I need not have spent this money after all. I have been advised by a good source that I would have a good case for compensation. I therefore request that you compensate for the sum of £--- within 14 days. Should I not receive a satisfactory response, I intend to refer this matter to a solicitor, my MP and local councillor, and will consider taking it to the local media. Yours-------- You don't have to word it exactly like this, but something along these lines perhaps. Wish you well with your claim. Let us know how you get on. Regards topletters (EDIT)
  6. Hi My apologies if I misunderstood about the notice I had assumed was issued by your landlord. When you gave notice yourselves to terminate the tenancy it seems you did so in accordance with the contractual term of your tenancy - taking account of the expiry date in April. I therefore believe that your deposit should be refunded - at least the portions for the 2 who have left. The tenancy as was agreed at the outset has clearly ended. I would consider my earlier advice and warn the landlord in writing about possible Small Claims Court action. Regards
  7. Hi If your son feels in anyway harassed or intimidated by the landlord's actions, I would advise for him to contact your local authority to see if they will liaise with the landlord on his behalf. Shelter are also a good service to speak to as they have extensive knowledge of landlord & tenant law. I know that our own local authority provides such a service, and hopefully your own will do likewise. Legally, he is within his rights to refuse access to his landlord (Housing Act 1988). Regards
  8. Hi First of all, I would check through your tenancy agreement and see if you have what is known as 'break clause.' This is a clause which grants you the option to the terminate your tenancy before the contract expiry date without penalty, which means your deposit should be refunded so long as no breakages, deterioration etc apply. Such a notice is usually for 28 days. If there is no break close, it is at the discretion of the landlord whether to allow early termination. If not done already, I would check that the landlord will not charge you rent up to the end of the 12 months. Any notice of termination should be in writing and in accordance with either the clause in your contract or if no clause, whatever your landlord agrees to. Hope that helps
  9. Hi I take it that your son's landlord is not one who resides at the property. By law, the landlord is first of all obliged to give your son at least 24 hours prior notice in writing (Landlord & Tenant Act 1985). Even having done that, your son is legally entitled to refuse access to the landlord or anyone acting on his behalf. Although your son does not own the property, it is still his home and the law grants him the right of 'quiet enjoyment.' In his shoes, I would be suspicious of the landlord's motives in asking him to be absent from the property while the visit takes place. I would be saying no way and that any visit takes place while he is present. Should the landlord enter without your son's permission, he would be breaking the law. Refusal to comply with the law could be construed as harassment under the Protection From Eviction Act 1977. If the landlord did refuse you son access back into the property, a criminal offence would have taken place under the same Act. The police and your local council would have powers of prosecution under that Act. He could also get a solicitor to issue an injunction against the landlord requiring access be granted. Hopefully it wont come to that. Regards
  10. Hi I believe you have a good case to at least expect to see written quotes provided by the landlord detailing the costs of carrying out the work. After all, it is your money that they are retaining. When did your tenancy commence? Was it before or after 06 April this year, because that is when the new Tenancy Deposit Protection provisions came into legal effect? That would make a very significant difference. If your landlord seems to show no indication of getting the work done, I would write to them giving 14 days to refund you the monies due. Otherwise, threaten the possibility of Small Claims Court action. Hope that is of some help.
  11. Hi I would first of all start by checking through the original tenancy agreement, if you still have it, and looking at the section outlining what your deposit would cover. Does it say anything about how the the deposit would be divided up and paid in the event of the tenants vacating the property? A question that occurred to me here: You say that a notice seeking possession was served which all 3 tenants signed to accept. Yet, I note that one person has continued in occupation well beyond the notice expiry date. Has that remaining tenant been granted a new tenancy in their sole name, or with another party? If so, a brand new tenancy has been created and I would say that the letting agent should refund your portion of the original deposit. If they refuse to do so, I would write to the letting agent giving 14 days to refund the deposit, and that it should warn of your intention to take them to the Small Claims Court should they fail to do so. Let me know the status of the remaining tenant and I will try and advise further. Regards Mark
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