My daughter and her boyfriend had been renting a room from a live-in landlord (not sub-letting) for 9 months when he evicted them without notice. He had entered their room without prior arrangement while they were on holiday and found some cigarette burns on the outside window ledge. (He had given the boyfriend permission to smoke out of the window when they moved in). He sent an email advising that they had to move out the day they returned.
My daughter and boyfriend had always paid their rent on time, monthly in advance, but had recently changed to weekly payments, by arrangement, as they knew they would have to move out soon - my daughter had secured a job 200 miles away and her boyfriend was waiting for a transfer at work.
My daughter thought she would be able to reason with the landlord as they had always had a good relationship, but this wasn't to be the case and he was extremely abusive. He wouldn't let them clean the room and has told them he will deduct the cost of cleaning from their deposit, which seems unreasonable to me since they were prepared to do it. It might be worth pointing out at this stage that the room and furniture were very tatty from the time they moved in the landlord never upgraded the 4ft bed to a 4ft6 one as he promised before they moved in.
My daughter has drafted an email to the landlord, which I have copied below. Would anyone be able to give her some feedback on the letter? There are a couple of figures and dates left blank as my daughter needs to look at her bank records for the details. Also, I think she is mistaken about being 'occupiers with basic protection', as the landlord lived in the house and shared common areas.
The email is rather long, but it gives lots of information. I'll be really grateful to anyone who takes the time to read it....
I am emailing regarding the return of our deposit which amounts to £500. You evicted [boyfriend] and me from your property on Saturday 13th June 2015 (despite the rent paid to you by us for the 1st 2 weeks of June not running out until Sunday 14th). This was following you entering our bedroom without any prior notice given or permission gained on the 13th June whilst we were away on holiday. Despite this not being an unlawful act, it was a complete invasion of privacy.
By law, you were required to give us a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice to move out as we were classed as ‘occupiers with basic protection’ with no fixed term contract. However, you evicted us with immediate effect.
The tone of your original email was unpleasant and completely uncalled for. In this email you attached photos of ‘damage’ done to the outside windowsill by cigarette ash (see attached photo ‘1’). Upon on inspection and after a few minutes scrubbing the ‘damage’ was greatly reduced (see attached photo ‘2’) and we believe that had you allowed us to clean properly that there would have been no real damage, simply dirt.
The way you spoke to me while I was cleaning the room was absolutely disgusting. You mentioned that you were shocked at not receiving an apology from me, and you accused me of having a terrible attitude, which I fear you may have misinterpreted from my ability to stay calm and neutral under attempts of intimidation. Let me tell you this; I will always apologise to someone when I have wronged them, however when you come to me, all guns blazing, shouting in my face and cutting me off when I try to explain that the damage is in fact just dirt then you lose all respect from me. I had expected us to have a mature (if slightly unpleasant/ awkward) discussion about the ‘damage’ and how we would resolve the situation. Instead I was met with aggression and rudeness and for that reason I certainly did not apologise to you.
You advised that you would be sending us a quote for the cost of the repair to the damage. Almost a month has passed and we have had no such correspondence from you.
Over the months that we lived in your property you had an extra £50 from us towards bills that we did not owe to you. On the 23rd September 2014 (the day before I moved in to the property) I transferred £… to cover rent for the last week of the month and bills (1/4 of the monthly amount of £475) On the 1st October 2014 I transferred the full monthly amount of £475 to you. However, [boyfriend] was not in [town] from\ the 6th October- 18th October 2014 as he was in [hometown]working his notice, and therefore the money you received for his share of the bills between these dates (amounting to £25) was in fact money that we didn’t owe.
On the ….June 2015 I transferred to you £237.50 to cover the first 2 weeks of the month (up to AND INCLUDING Sunday 14th). When I asked you why you went into our room, one of the reasons you gave was that we hadn’t paid to live there anymore, which, as you can see is completely untrue. We returned from our holiday on the Monday (15th June), and had you not evicted us 2 days earlier you would have received another week’s rent on this date, in keeping with an agreement you made with [boyfriend] that we could pay you week by week whilst we were looking to move to [new town]. The money paid to you at the beginning of June included money for bills for the whole 2 week period. However, [boyfriend]and I returned to [hometown]l after he finished work on Sunday 7th June in preparation for our festival on the 10th June. Therefore, between the 7th June- 14th June 2015 you received a total of £25 towards bills for the two of us for a week when we were not at the property. Altogether then, you have had an extra £50 from us.
Another relevant fact is that for over 3 months (a third of our time at the property) there was no working oven. This is unacceptable, and when I asked you when this would be fixed you simply told me that it would need completely replacing.
When you were shouting at [boyfriend] and me to ‘get out’ of your house, I said to you that we would not be paying towards any costs of cleaning, as we were in the process of doing it ourselves and you did not allow us to finish. With regards to the windowsill, as explained above this would also have been clean had you allowed us to finish the job. However as a gesture of good will and with a desire to have this dealt with quickly, we are prepared to let you keep the extra £50 you had from us, and just return out £500 deposit in full. I believe that this is extremely generous of us, especially when taking into account that [boyfriend] was unable to work his notice in [town] (he had to buy an extra train ticket to go down and work 1 days’ notice as he was only able to find space in a hostel for 1 night, meaning that he ended up paying a total of £90 to earn £60) and therefore suffered loss of earnings for 2 weeks, amounting to £428.80 based on his wage of £6.70/hour and MINIMUM contracted hours of 32/week.