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Unfair deposit deductions


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Hi guys!

 

I really don't know much about the differences between all these different agreements, but basically I lived in a house where the landlord, moved away, his tenant (and friend) remained in the house and I moved in. We had a license agreement between the three of us. They then turned quite nasty after I said I wanted to leave (after 6 months) being very horrible indeed (details of which I won't go in to!). I moved out over a month ago, I didn't want them to have my new address here so gave them my parents (the letting agency have been helping me, although they have no contractual obligation, they felt they were harrassing me, and didn't want them to have my new address either, the Landlord and other tenant refused to use my work address.) However my mum has received a letter from them today, with a cheque for about £115 (my deposit was £375) with deductions for £80 to have the lock changed (which was not in my agreement), £50 for cutlery (WHAT!!!) and stupid things like £5 for batterys from remotes (really petty!) and £85 for cleaning, even though the letting agent who carried out the inspection said everything was fine! They have said they can provide receipts, which is fair, but I don't see why I should incur these charges. I took pictures of everywhere before I left, but they are on my digital camera so don't know how these would hold up if it did go further.

 

Any advice?? I'm so glad to be out of there and really want this all to be over, I'm starting to think that I don't actually care about the money, but why should they get to keep it???

 

Many thanks in advance for your help!!!

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Get a copy of the report from the letting agency stating it was fine. If it was not in the contract then you cannot be charged for something - this would be equivalent to betterment - not replacing broken or missing items.

First write demanding back any money outstanding and include details of what is not covered under the agreement. Be prepared to take the landlord to court and include a letter before action.Tell them you have pictures of the day you left showing the condition, but get a copy of any report from the letting agency first, they should be OK with that from what you have put.

Was it three separate agreements or just one signed by all three? Any legitimate charges are to split three ways if the same agreement was for all three.

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  • 3 weeks later...

hi. i'm not sure where this oncern fits in.

 

i've been renting my home through an estate agent since april. it's comin toan end on the 4th oct, as the landlady is selling the house.

 

i realised last week, that since i moved in, i have been overpaying my landlady 50 quid per month, therfore i am owed £200.

 

at the beginning, i paid a months rent in advance (£480) , and a deposit of £250.

 

i will be owed this £480 back at the end of the tenancy. and that the deposit is held incase there are damages, and also if there is unpaid rent.

 

 

when i realised my error of overpayment yesterday and went to the estate agents, they said they could not pay me back the overpayment until the end of tenancy incase i havent paid them each month.

 

surely they ccannot do this.. this is what the deposit is for? and the month's rent in advance.

 

if i had never made this error, they would never have the extra money to hold on to?

 

 

where do i stand in demanding the money back now? 'im aware it is the landlady who owes it and not the estate agents. but i know there is no way they didn't realise i was overpaying them.

 

what can i do? as they are selling the house an i have just been issuedmy 28 days notice, i had to find a place for me and my daughter extra quick. i have to put a deposit of 300 down on the new house to secure it tomorrow an i have to take loans from different family members to ensure i get myself through the week with other bills and food etc.

 

i'm fairly annoyed at letting myself be manipulated. i've had nothing but trouble since i moved in.. unnanounced viewings, estate agents letting themselves in. that kind of thing.

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a.tenant1987

If you have already over paid then just pay the difference for this month. If you have already paid this month too then you entitled to it back immediately and the damage deposit when you leave (providing you have not broken anything).

 

You really should have started your own thread for more responses and help.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi I was looking for a bit of advice.

 

I left my old flat at the start of June and finally got the deposit back last month. The Letting Agency has deducted £142 for "One Hours General Cleaning" and a further £58 to invoice me for it.

The flat itself was spotless when we left, unfortunately I didn't take any pictures and I'm really kicking myself for this.

I've contacted the Letting Agency via Recorded Delivery Letters stating that this was out of order, that I had three witnesses to the state of the flat upon leaving and I lied and said I had photographic evidence.

The Agency got back to me saying they'd investigate this but two weeks has passed and they haven't got back to me so I sent another Recorded Delivery 1st Class letter stating I was going to take the matter to the Small Claims Court. Again no reponse.

What advice can anyone give? I'm just worried the lack of photographic evidence may cause me to lose the case.

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Send them a letter before action asking for a full refund. State you have witnesses to verify the flat was clean and tidy. Don't worry about the photo's or lack of. Give them two weeks to refund you in full. Also ask them for an exact copy of the cleaners invoice so you can question the cleaners directly as to what was cleaned. I do not believe they have paid that much for one hours general cleaning either.

 

This seems like another one of those scams just to make money from your deposit, as a reputable firm would have been there on the day you left to check this in your presence allowing you to verify any problems.

 

If you are serious about getting the money back be prepared to take action via the small claims court. Three witnesses would be very good for you especially as no one from the letting company bothered to go and check as you left or responded with details of their investigation. They want you to just go away so they can ignore it all.

Edited by Chiro
Grammar
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Thanks for the advice.

 

I've already given them two letters stating that I will take them to the Small Claims Court and they have simply replied that the charges stand.

 

They did send me a cleaners invoice, but the invoice is very vague on what was done. Simply stating General Cleaning and Dusting: Floors washed, surfaces, fridge top, microwave top. That's practically all it says. I'll give the cleaners a call to question them as well and I had an idea of putting the phone on speaker and recording the conversation using a dictaphone. Also the cleaning was dated 8 days after we had left the flat.

 

Looks like I will be filing at the Small Claims Court after all, perhaps once they get the court summons they'll buckle and offer me a full refund.

 

At least I've learned that next time before i leave, I'll take several pictures and ask a member of the letting agency to join me at the flat as witness to it before I leave.

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The amounts are very convenient as it comes to £200 exactly but the list shows what I would imagine to take more than one hour to do. Give the cleaning company a call and ask for a breakdown & how many cleaners attended. Inform them that they may be called to court to explain the invoice. Any discrepancies in what has actually been done needing to be explained in the small claims might very well see a refund coming soon. I can see a need for some dusting after 8 days but that is not down to you. Dust will settle over a period of 8 days, but that means they never checked it when you left.

 

Was it in the contract terms about admin charges - £58.00 - being charged? As I recall all charges must be declared in the terms that are being followed by the letting agent. If they have had the letters then it looks like it will be a trip to the small claims next.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everyone, I'm having a similar issue with deductions to the deposit and I hope someone can help me with a question about this... I read the initial post in this thread (ed999's post), but was wondering, does this apply to Scotland? I just received my deposit back and the agency has taken off money for external window cleaning (I lived on a tenement building on the 2nd floor and this was never in the initial inventory, plus I saw someone cleaning them once so I assumed it was part of the ) some charges for cleaning (I cleaned the flat and even spent £75 on professional carpet cleaning!). I had been warned by someone who rented with them that they would look for anything to get money from you so there was a witness with me both the day I received the flat and the day I had the checkout with the agency.

 

We went on the inventory item by item and everything was OK. Then this person took out a check-out list which was never given to me at the start of the tenancy but that they produced shortly after I sent my letter giving them notice.

 

Anyway, they deducted me £52, which I admit is a very small amount, but I'm so crossed because at the end of the flat checkout, the agency person said that all was OK and that I would receive my deposit in full (in the presence of my checkout witness).

 

I was looking at the comment on the small claims court and the whole thing may be more expensive than what I would get back in the event I went down that route and won. However, is there anything I can do to force these people to produce some documentation to justify these charges? And, is it reasonable to charge me for external window cleaning when this was never part of the inventory (and also given the floor I was living on)?

 

Too many questions, I know... and I apologise but if there were ever a time I wished I had unlimited power it is now, so that I could teach these abusive people a lesson!

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  • 1 month later...

My tenancy agreement says the Agent must tell me how much he intends to withold from my deposit (and exactly what for) within 14 days of my vacating. He didn't do this. It has taken him a month to get around to it, and he wants to withhold the lot! (He thinks with justification of course). Does the fact that he has not notified me within the 14 days mean he has lost the opportunity to withold money from me and that any claims by him after the 14 days are unenforceable?

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Hi Louise 123,

Your agreement is for both to adhere to, so yes. Have you tried writing to the agent and pointing this out? I'm sure they will come up with a reason as to why it took so long to send you the report though. If the deposit was held properly in a scheme then you can contact them.

Also start your own thread then you will get more response to your problem. We need more details so expect questions and do your best to answer.

Good luck.

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Dear Chiro, I am new at this, and it was very reassuring to get your response, thankyou. I have started my own thread as you suggested. We'll see how that goes. My deposit is in a scheme and I contacted them. They said they couldn't advise me and told me to get legal advice. Trouble is, legal advice could cost more than the £1500 at issue! Nevertheless, I have sought (limited) advice, and if the advice is in my favour I will make this clear to the Agent as you suggest. Thanks again, Louise.

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  • 1 month later...

New poster here - have been reading a lot on these forums which has been very helpful!

 

My ex-flatmate and I moved out of our 2-bedroom granny flat (actually in/next door to the landlord's house but with a separate access door) at the end of August 2010, and to date have still not got our deposits back. The deposits are protected by the DPS, but repayment has been held up because the landlord is insisting on reclaiming £170 in 'costs incurred' and so far has not provided us with the necessary docs/proof.

 

£80 of this is for various cleaning tasks and repairs. This is a bit of a grey area as there are some costs we refuse to pay either because we'd already done the relevant cleaning ourselves before vacating, or because they are repairs which can be put down to 'fair wear and tear'. However, some costs are down to things we should have done but didn't before vacating, and we're happy to pay for those. BUT the only 'receipt' we've been provided with so far is a handwritten note with a list of tasks and the total sum of £80 at the bottom, which is not enough.

 

I'm more concerned about the following, which is where I'd appreciate your help:

 

1) The remaining £90 is for excess charges on the flat's ADSL line as charged by the ISP. Now, the ADSL contract was between the landlord and the ISP, and was pre-existing when we moved into the flat. Our contracts simply state that ADSL is provided, and makes no mention of a download limit, fair use policy, or our being liable to pay excess charges on the line. The first we heard about a download limit was a week after we moved out and after we had requested our deposits back, when our Landlord told us he wanted to retain £90 for excess charges from April 2010 - August 2010. Since then, all we have seen is a quarterly invoice from the ISP for April - June 2010 with some (not all) of the excess charges.

 

We have no idea what caused the sudden excess charges - we both watched iPlayer and other TV-on-demand services, but as we have repeatedly pointed out this was also the case for an entire year from September 2008 - August 2009, when I was living in the flat with a different flatmate who also watched TV-on-demand at a similar level. The current ex-flatmate and I were both using the ADSL in this manner from February 2010 onwards, so we see no reason why our usage should suddenly have hit the roof from April. We said as much to the landlords and suggested that they get detailed reports from the ISP for us to check in case there has been a mistake. However, their attitude has simply been that it was our fault for watching iPlayer and we should pay up...

 

The upshot is that we're now demanding the above reports from the landlord as well as a proper itemised cleaner's bill before we negotiate further. However, is there any chance that we would be held liable to pay even though no mention of a download limit/liability for excess charges was mentioned in our tenancy agreements? Not sure what terms would be implied into the contract in this case...

 

2) We're also still waiting for the undisputed portions of our deposits to be returned to us. A brief history of the negotiations is below, but my main concern is how we recover our deposits if the landlord refuses to provide us with the documents or use ADR (which he is so far unwilling to do). As we're only disputing £85 each and we're both very busy with work (and in my ex-flatmate's case planning a wedding), we're not sure if it's economical to go to court on this...(the total deposts are around £575/£600 btw).

 

29th August 2010 - we move out, clean the flat and give up the keys

31st August - we apply to the DPS for repayment of our deposits

6th September - the LL contacts us to say he'll be retaining £170 from each of our deposits.

7th September - we request receipts for both cleaning and ISP charges (at this stage, we haven't had time to check our contracts about the ADSL). The LL sends us the ISP invoice for the April-June quarter and says we will have to wait for the cleaner's bill.

8th September - we contact the LL with our concerns on the ISP charges and saying we need the cleaner's bill before we can make any further decision on this charge. The LL comes back with a lot of waffle on both parts, but makes an offer of retaining only £120 and covering the remaining £50 himself 'for the sake of a speedy and amicable resolution'.

9th September - our request for repayment of our deposits in full is rejected by the LL. Also, religious festival period of a month starts for all of us which pushes everything back.

6th October - the LL finally sends us the handwritten 'cleaner's receipt' mentioned above, which is not adequate.

21st October - without telling us anything, the LL applies to the DPS to return our deposits but retain the full £170

29th October - the LL emails me (but not my ex-flatmate!) asking us what we need further and saying he was 'feeling bad' at the delay. Not sure what to make of this. NB during October there was a lot of back and forth between me, my ex-flatmate and her lawyer soon-to-be-father-in-law about next steps. Plus, we were both very busy with other things.

7th November - we write to the LL stating our problems with the supposed 'cleaner's receipt' and with the excess ISP charges. However (as a goodwill gesture and to try and get this out of the way once and for all) we say we will accept his initial settlement offer back in September of paying £120 BUT that this would be in 'full and final settlement' and that it would 'not be taken as an admission in liability' in anyway. i.e this would be a goodwill gesture to cover some of his costs, but should not be taken as our admitting the charges were our fault. We gave the LL the option of agreeing to these conditions (in which case we would be the ones to take the next steps with the DPS) or rejecting them, in which case we would refer the case to ADR.

27th November - without telling us anything at all, the LL makes his own repayment request to the DPS to retain £120 and repay the rest.

16th December - while I'm waiting for my ex-flatmate to agree our draft letter or response, the LL sends us a chasing email asking us why we haven't agreed to the repayment request and saying he has processed it 'as per our request' (when we had requested no such thing, we had said that we would approach the DPS if he agreed to our conditions of acceptance for the settlement). No sign that he is agreeing to said conditions.

23rd December - finally agree letter with ex-flatmate and send to LL. Basically, we say that as he hasn't agreed to our conditions of accepting the settlement offer, we will be approaching the DPS ADR service as laid out in our November letter. We also repeated our request for a proper cleaner's bill and download reports for the period in which excess charges were recorded by the ISP.

24th December - LL again replies with waffle claiming he didn't have to agree to any conditions, but we were welcome to either accept his offer or approach the ADR. He also states that he is happy to provide any documents requested by the ADR to them 'in confidence', and that if we reject his offer he will look to ADR to compensate him in full.

5th January 2011 - we reject the LL's 'offer' and apply to the DPS for repayment of the undisputed parts of our deposit, referring the disputed parts to ADR.

6th January - LL sends another waffly email asking why we rejected his offer to settle for £120 and claiming that we had previously agreed to it (we only did so with conditions which he didn't agree to, see above).

10th January - we reply basically restating our December and November letters, explaining that as he hadn't agreed to our conditions no settlement agreement existed, and we were therefore going to ADR.

11th January - LL replies saying this matter has 'got out of hand' and asking us to settle amicably for £120 on our conditions (see November letter). He accuses us of being pedantic and says he doesn't 'know what it is [we] are worried about'. He also claims not to fully understand why we wish to use ADR, and hints he will probably not agree to use ADR after all.

12th January - we send LL letter restating for the nth time that we have yet to receive documents to support his claim of £170. We also make it clear that we are no longer willing to settle for £120 as we do not feel this is fair. We state that we will not be negotiating any further until we receive the cleaner's bill and ISP report, and that a response to our repayment request for the undisputed part of our deposit should be made within 14 days.

 

Just writing this out makes me see how bloomin' frustrating this has become....

 

Any advice??

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  • 2 months later...

By my understanding of the DPS once you file a claim for the non protection of the deposit it covers the whole amount of deposit and three times this amount to be paid to you upon winning the case. It is already in your favour as the deposit was not protected and cannot be done so now as you have left the property (I assume). You will receive the amount deducted and further unless proof of damage or reasonable cost to replace items that were in the contract can be proved.

 

You would do better to start your own thread and people on here will do their best to help. Remember - All advice is in best interest but not considered legal advice. You need to supply a bit more info to be able to understand your situation fully to get more feedback. Good luck.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This thread was left open in error. Please do NOT post here: if you have a new problem, you will be much better off starting a new thread.

 

Because this thread is 'sticky', probably no one will notice if you post here!

 

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I am no longer an active member of this Board and regret that I currently can't assist on a personal basis, so no PM's please.

Note

 

This is a self-help forum in which users share their experiences. Assistance is offered informally, without any assumption of liability. Use your own judgement; obtain advice from a qualified and insured professional if you have any doubts.

 

This posting gives general guidance only. It is not an authoritative statement of the law. Consult a Solicitor for specific advice before deciding on any course of action.

 

 

Further information:

 

Assured and Shorthold tenancies - A guide for tenants

 

Renting and Leasehold - Advice from Shelter

 

 

All posts are opinion only

 

 

If you've found my suggestions useful, please click on my star and add a comment

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