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Landlord witheld deposit, now going to court


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Hello.

 

I previously posted on here to ask for advice when our landlord witheld our deposit. It has now come to teh stage where we are going to court. I am at teh stage where I must state what evidence we are going to provide. The problem is we don't really have any! How can we prove that the shower which was working when we left, and then got charged for replacing was actually working when we did move out!?

 

All the charges are of a similiar nature, made up are massively over exagerrated.

 

How can we build a case, or can we just rely on the judge making a sound judgement.

 

I know previously you had suggested that without an ittinerary that we should get our deposit back but will the judge see it this way?

 

Thanks,

David

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DOes anyone have any advice on the point below? Do we have to make the judge realise without an inventroy the deposit should be returned to us or will this be something they are aware of?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

 

We were in court on thursday against our landlord who was claiming 1200 pounds in dilapidations trying to justify why he was witholding out deposit.

 

We won, because apart from the fact he was a greedy, lying nasty piece of work, we outsmarted him and were more prepared.

 

He has to prove work has been carried out and then the judge will decide who is liable, based on probability.

 

For example: He claimed replacement of two doors and two blinds and a shower head.

 

We proved the doors and blinds had not been replaced by contacting the new owners of the property and asking them if we could take photos they luckily agreed. So he said that the blinds needed replacing and therefore this represented financial loss. As he had not replaced them he had no receipts or proof of payment. the judge through it out.

 

Regardign the shower head, again, no receipt and the judge informed us that it is the landlords responsibility to ensure all 'claening' aparatus is in good working order. So it's not your responsibilty to replace a shower that does not work.

 

If you need any help building a case I am by no means an expert but we were fully prepared and just were honest all the way.

 

He was sent packing by the jusdge, tail between his legs!!

 

Any help I can give I will

 

Regards

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi I have a similar situation and was wondering if I could have some advice.

Here's the situation.

A friend and myself moved into an apartment back in February 2007 and moved out after a year this February 2008. We were the first people to move into the apartment, as it was brand new. So everything in the apartment was brand new.

The apartment was fully furnished and an inventory was given to us, however we never signed it.

Now we moved out this February 2008 and during the check out report conducted by the residential company (who manage the property for the landlord) a couple of issues were raised.

1) The two-seater sofa had a stain on it. Which I did notify them of well before and explained to them that I had got a company it to try clean it, but they could not remove the stain. And so I asked if the residential company could source a replacement cushion for me. They took ages to find out and I was chasing them all the time. Eventually they said that they were able to source some and it would be about £150, so I said that would be fine and to invoice me when it would be delivered. However I never heard anything and just presumed it would be invoiced to me after we had moved out. Anyhow, I was shocked to receive an invoice of £515 Inc VAT for replacement of the two-seater cream leather sofa?! Now to me I don’t think there entitled to charge me this at all, as what about Fair Wear and Tear for the year that we lived there? What are your views as to where we stand with this?

2) The laminate flooring.

On the check out report it stated that in the Lounge flooring I quote "Scratched, scuffed and stiletto heel mark in general" and also "Several scratches to laminate flooring, large scratch upon entry to bathroom where door had been catching". Both of these had "Charge Tenenant for Repair" written next to them. So we waited for the quote. After about 4 weeks it cam through. £1504 inc VAT for "replacement of 32sqm of 3 Strip Engineered Wooden Flooring @ £40 psm". Now this to me is a joke!

Firstly surely they have to lay down adequate wooden flooring to withstand heel marks? Otherwise it’s not fit for purpose. Secondly, we have lived in there a year, what about Fair wear and Tear? They cannot surely expect us to pay all of that cost?

They have said that they are holding are deposit as a result which was £1200 (£600 each) and asked us for comments on the invoices and quotes.

Would be really interested in some proper legal advice or any advice as to how I can fight these claims with them or which avenue's to go down.

Thank you.

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... After about 4 weeks it cam through. £1504 inc VAT for "replacement of 32sqm of 3 Strip Engineered Wooden Flooring @ £40 psm". Now this to me is a joke!

Firstly surely they have to lay down adequate wooden flooring to withstand heel marks? Otherwise it’s not fit for purpose.

 

Well, there is no way anyone can say that damage from stiletto heels is wear and tear. Not fit for purpose? It's a domestic dwelling for goodness sake, not a supermarket floor designed for heavy use. I read somewhere that when assessed, the power of a stiletto heel on a floor is equivalent to tonnes per square inch. It's probably even worse generally, as it seems to me that only ladies with ample proportions tend to wear them, not skinny waifs.

 

In our church we had some OAK parquet flooring replaced. Within a wedding season you could see in the polished reflected many hundreds of dimples from these heels.

 

Unlike tiles, you can't just lift one or two - for laminate you can only start at the side and work in to where the damage is. Thus a greater section might have to be replaced, plus a match might not be available. An allowance of the total cost would have to be made for the time you were there and accepted "wear and tear", but I think you will have to pay the majority.

On some things I am very knowledgeable, on other things I am stupid. Trouble is, sometimes I discover that the former is the latter or vice versa, and I don't know this until later - maybe even much later. Read anything I write with the above in mind.

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I am by no means an expert, but there are key things here that stand out as somewhat 'iffy' about your landlords claims.

 

1) Have you been provided with quotes

2) Have you been given an invoice

3) Have you a copy of an invoice or proof that the work has been carried out and the flooring and sofa replaced?

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Hi

 

We have been provided with the Quote that the residential company have obtained from another company, for the laminate flooring to be replaced for £1505. (Although on the scaned copy they have sent me, Invoice has been scribbled out) So as yet i think that this has not been replaced.

 

And we have received an actual invoice that the residential company have received from other company, for the sofa to be replaced, so it looks like this has already been replaced.

 

There is nothing else that we have been provided with, so there is no deffinate proof as to whether it has been replaced or not.

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I agree with Esio that the vast majority of this does not appear to be fair wear and tear, and you will in my opinion be liable for the vast majority of the cost, if not the entirety. Stains are not fair wear and tear, and it may not be sufficient to replace only one cushion - the fabric colour may vary slightly, which would be very noticeable. Pretty much exactly the same for the flooring. Your best bet at getting the costs reduced(although I wouldnt hold your breath) is arguing betterment.

 

Also, without harping on about it too much, dont do the whole "lets post in as many places as possible thing" - all you have made happen is us all getting a) irritated at reading the same thing 5 times b) irritated at reading old threads you have dredged up and c) confused as to what has been answered and what hasnt, as we do not know the answers made elsewhere.

 

Rant over :)

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Hi

 

We have been provided with the Quote that the residential company have obtained from another company, for the laminate flooring to be replaced for £1505. (Although on the scaned copy they have sent me, Invoice has been scribbled out) So as yet i think that this has not been replaced.

 

And we have received an actual invoice that the residential company have received from other company, for the sofa to be replaced, so it looks like this has already been replaced.

 

There is nothing else that we have been provided with, so there is no deffinate proof as to whether it has been replaced or not.

 

 

You dont' have any proof that the laminate flooring that was in the house cost £40 psm, fact: you can buy laminate flooring for £10 psm or less, why would they use the most expensive for a rental property?

 

I'd do some research and try to find out which company built the house and find out what grade of flooring would have been used. If they paid £10 psm originally then there's no reason why you should pay for more expensive flooring. Also you could argue that the sofa is over priced? What if they bought the original from IKEA and then went and got a better one from leather world...?

 

Just a thought .....

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Hi

 

We have been provided with the Quote that the residential company have obtained from another company, for the laminate flooring to be replaced for £1505. (Although on the scaned copy they have sent me, Invoice has been scribbled out) So as yet i think that this has not been replaced.

 

And we have received an actual invoice that the residential company have received from other company, for the sofa to be replaced, so it looks like this has already been replaced.

 

There is nothing else that we have been provided with, so there is no deffinate proof as to whether it has been replaced or not.

 

 

You dont' have any proof that the laminate flooring that was in the house cost £40 psm, fact: you can buy laminate flooring for £10 psm or less, why would they use the most expensive for a rental property?

 

I'd do some research and try to find out which company built the house and find out what grade of flooring would have been used. If they paid £10 psm originally then there's no reason why you should pay for more expensive flooring. Also you could argue that the sofa is over priced? What if they bought the original from IKEA and then went and got a better one from leather world...?

 

Just a thought .....

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This is what is classed as betterment. A landlord would have to prove that he is replacing like for like in court. However, £10 psm you are mentioning would not include fitting(which the landlord is entitled to charge), and putting cheap laminate in a let property is a false economy - most decent landlords put in some fairly hard wearing stuff, as otherwise you have to replace it very regularly. The sofa does not sound like an unreasonable cost to me.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Regarding the sofa. I remember the lady at the residential company telling me that she was able to source a replacement cushion for £150, after having coming round and taking pictures of the stain on the sofa. However this was all verbal. Having spoke to her today, she turned round and said to that she said that she would try and source one from the manufactures. And that she tried and that they could not, so they just went and purchase a new one. She never told me that she was not able to source a replacement cushion or that a new one was ordered, until I received the invoice through! The last I heard from her was that she had ordered a replacement cushion and that she was waiting for delivery, which was some months before we moved out. I assumed there was a delay with delivery...but now it seems that, that was not the case.

With regards to the sofa, do you think we've got a good argument around the fact that replacing the sofa is not the most "reasonable and practical" remedy? The only problem is that I have no written evidence that the fact they've agreed they can source a cushion. If i did then maybe we can make a decent case for limiting our contribution to the £150 they said it would cost. Without the evidence, do you think we if we got a quote for some other acceptable remedy e.g. estimate for using original material and re-cutting or sourcing same leather for a new cushion?

Also having them replaced the sofa.... would they be liable to take off some money for wear and tear for the year we lived there? If so how much?

Regarding the flooring, they have had a quote for replacement of the flooring, which was for 32sqm, which is not the whole of the floor.

Do you think the strongest point I've got is around reasonable expected usage of the item - heeled shoes are extremely common, every female has at least one pair, there was no explicit restriction on using them, I weren't warned that the flooring was "soft wood", next tenant is likely to have guests that do the same so could I make the argument that if total value of floor to be replaced was £1500 and expected lifespan is 15 yrs i.e. they will replace the floor after 15 yrs, then 1500/15 x no. Of years I were there (1 year) = £100 contribution to replace the floor in 14 yrs time?

Also they have hold of my deposit, which is £1200. The total costs come to £2049 (£1504 for the flooring, £30 for cleaning & £515 for the sofa). So that’s £849 over the deposit. How soon would I have to pay this if they demanded it? Can they or would they take me to court over it if I disputed it and refused to pay it because I do not agree with it? Would i have a good case if I took it to a small claims court?

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No one can say for sure if you would have a good case or not.

It largely depends on the landlord, how far they are prepared to take it and also on the judge on the day.

Unfortunately no one can tell you what to do. If you believe you are right and don't want to pay anything over and above the deposit, but you are happy for them to keep your deposit, then write to them and state this. If you believe it is unfair for them to keep all of your deposit, then work out what proportion you feel is a fair contribution, was the floor really that bad?

I wouldn't offer anything until I was sure the landlored wasn't attempting betterment, so you need to ascertain if the original flooring was expensive (not sure how tho) also the landlord may fit the floorring himself and charge you for fitting which is why they need to give you a breakdown of renovations which will state cost of floor, how much it's costing to fit etc.

I think if the flooring was so badly damaged it needed replacing, then you have to accept some liability, but if you believe he is trying to rip you off then you need to fight your corner.

First things first, decide if you are happy to not get back any of your deposit, if you think it is unfair, then write to them stating the contribution you feel to be fair deduction from your deposit, for example £500, and then state that if they still refuse to return your security deposit within 14 days, you will proceed to the small claims court to recover the rest of your deposit. It costs about £80.00 ish to go to court, it is not as scary as it sounds and will probably force them to come to some sort of compromise.

no one will be able to advise the outcome, all I can say is if I were in your shoes I would be thinking that they want me to say, just keep the deposit and call it quits, unfortunately not all landlords are honest people and scare tactics like issuing you with a bill for £1500 is intended to scare you into either just paying up or accepting that they keep your deposit.

Do you have a copy of your tenancy agreement?

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I'm not sure what happened to the old sofa...I presume they have disposed of it or sold it.

I do have a copy of the tenancy agreement in electronic format too.

I may have to settle with just loosing the deposit money, although i think what I’m being charged for far to high.

The only problem is that the stain on the sofa was caused my one of my friends, who is willing to pay some of the cost to fix it. Therefore i asked them to invoice this separately, which is what they have done & not to take it out of the deposit. I agreed, due to the fact that it was my friend that caused the stain; my housemate wouldn't have to pay to get the sofa fixed. My housemate would only have to pay towards the flooring being fixed and cleaning, which makes things a little complicated, if i just ask the Residential Company to keep the deposit.

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Also where do we stand with them not having a signed Inventory from us? They provided one about a month after we moved in, but we never signed it and returned it. Nor did we sign one when we left (Not sure if this happens).

 

In them not having a signed Inventory, does it mean they cannot deduct anything from the deposit? In not having a signed Inventory, where do I stand regards them claiming the damages. (Bearing in mind we were the first people to move into the apartment, so everything was new when we moved in).

 

I have asked for a copy of the Signed inventory from the residential company who are dealing with it on behalf of the landlord, as yet they haven't responded. Not sure how they will respond, because they don’t have one.

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I'm going to negate the risk of being told that I am a naysayer and bow out of this one without continuing to contradict your arguments. All I will say is that I do not believe you to have a strong case at all, and neither does another experienced poster.

7 years in retail customer service

 

Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years

 

By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.

 

Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

 

Please click the star if I have helped!!

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Try and look at it in a different way.

 

You buy and furnish a brand new house, you rent it out for 12 months.

 

The sofa has a stain that cannot be removed and a replacement cushion cannot be sourced. You would naturally want the item to be replaced.

 

The laminate flooring is noticeably scratched from shoe marks and is not as attractive in appearance as it was 12 months ago, you would seek some compensation.

 

For the replacement laminate you would get 3 quotes and then you would expect to negotiate with the tenants. I don't know where you stand by not having a check in or check out report (signed) it probably won't stand in your favour, you are not disputing that there were scratch marks, you are disputing that they are damage.

 

I wouldn't think that it would be fair wear and tear if it needed replacing after a year. But you can find out if it was a cheap floor to start with, it doesn't sound hard wearing. As for settling up with your friend you both rented it and need to sort the financials out between you. Make your landlord and offer to keep the deposit and then ask your friend who caused the stain to give some money back to your other friend who paid a deposit. Really you could ask your friend how much they are willing to pay considering it has cost you £500 for their stain. If I had caused damage and knew my friend was footing the bill, then I would offer to pay. So speak to your friends first and see what they say.

 

Mr Shed is probably right in the sense that your case is lacking in evidence and therefore wouldn't give the judge much to go on. But before you pay anything, insist on 3 quotes and receipts.#

 

Then make what you feel is a fair offer and tell them you'd like to settle to avoid court action.

Good luck

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