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My first flat and problems with a deposit


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Hi,

 

I'm new here and also almost new to the UK, left my first ever flat (rented of course) and now I'm waiting for my deposit.

 

A few days after moving out I got a letter from my letting agency which reads:

 

"The inventory checkout has been completed at the above property and the findings of the Inventory Clerk are contained within the attached Checkout Report.

All items identified as being your responsibility in accordance with the terms of the Tenancy Agreement, will be charged to your Tenancy Deposit and the balance, if any, will be refunded directly into the bank account you have allocated."

 

That's what they didn't like:

 

 

BATHROOM: SHOWER – SOME LIMESCALE BUILD UP ON SHOWER HEAD.

BASIN – SLIGHTLY DIRTY AROUND WASTE.

 

BEDSIT ROOM: FLOORING – FEW SMALL LIGHT SPOT STAINS BY KITCHEN ACCESS.

 

KITCHEN: EXTRACTOR FAN – RATHER GREASY TO SURFACE.

 

 

I questioned that cause I had carpet cleaned on the 2nd of May (I left a flat on the next day) and I did clean everything else by myself!

 

They answered:

 

"I see that you have received the check out report which showed that the property was generally clean. On page 4 of the report however you will see that there was some lime scale build up on the shower head and the basin in the bathroom was dirty and in the kitchen, the extractor fan rather greasy. The flat was left in good order and after the owner visited the property, she said that some cleaning was required as highlighted on the report and a charge of £45 has been incurred. This has been deducted from your deposit with the balance leaving our bank today."

 

 

45 GBP?????????????????? Isn't it too much?

 

 

So I wrote them again:

 

"Hi,

 

I'm not satisfied with your answer.

 

1. I am asking you for proof of your said costs in detail. I do want to see a copy of the cleaning company's invoice.

 

2. If I find those costs unreasonable or too high, I will ask you for a refund as I know I cleaned this flat to a really good standard.

 

If you fail to do it within 48 hours or if I find your answers unsatisfying, I am ready to take legal actions I am entitled to.

I am also aware that any legal action would have to be pursued with the owner herself."

 

 

And today I got the answer:

 

"I confirm receipt of your email dated 12th May 2008. The landlord decided to carry out her own cleaning after the inventory check out and charged the going rate for cleaning at £45 and the cleaning carried out was that listed both in the report and in my email of 12th May 2008. I trust this answers your query."

 

 

 

What do you think about it? Should I fight?

 

Believe me, it's not about 45 quid, it's just that I don't like anybody to play with me like that...

 

 

 

Thanks in advance :)

 

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Hi and Welcome to the forum!

 

Landlords are entitled to deduct from your deposit/bond for cleaning if the property is left unclean, but can not make deductions for general wear and tear, nor can a deduction be made to improve the general condition of the property.

 

'Going Rate' of £45 ? where is this defined as the going rate, just after reading your post, I have searched Google for "Professional house Cleaning" and found various websites with various prices.

 

The going rate appears to be between £8/h and can go up to £12/h. And I can't see it taking hours to clean what you have mentioned.(These prices where taking from one website that provided professional cleaning to homes in the M25 Area)

 

Were you present during the check-out?

Thanks

- Hobbie

 

--------------------------------------------------------

Under no circumstances should you speak with a Debt Collections Agency via telephone, request that all future correspondence is done in writing, a letter template for this can be located here.

 

Any views expressed are solely that of my own, any advice or information offered is provided in genuine good faith, and should be checked prior to acting upon.

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Yes, I was present but inventory clerk did not want to tell me what was wrong in his opinion! "Should be all right", he said, and left...

 

Not to mention that he had exactly the same inventory list I had got at the beginning of my agreement with this agency. They asked me to go through it, I found loads of discrepancies, made photos, sent it all back to them and nothing had been updated! But I wouldn't let them charge me for all those things so apparently they found a few little ones I had mentioned above and charged me 45 GBP anyway... 45 quid? I would have done it in half an hour and for less money!

 

I asked them for the invoice once again but I don't think they're gonna send it to me.

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Don't waste your time arguing with them. The whole letting business is very dodgy, with agents, landlords and inventory clerks 'helping each other out'. They seem to regard the deposit as partly theirs.

 

If you want to do anything then threaten court and be prepared to follow through with it. It can actually be an excellent experience and if you represent yourself you can put it on your CV!

 

More importantly, when did you pay your deposit? Did they put it in a deposit protection scheme and notify you of this within 14 days of their receipt of it?

 

If they failed to do this, or cannot prove that they did, you may be able to claim the full amount of the deposit times three as a penalty. Whether you can do this would depend on when the last time you signed a contract with them was.

 

Post details here and I'll try and advise you. Or look up the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and do it yourself.

 

Good luck and don't stand for any crap from these ****!

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Yeah, I do think that agents, landlords and inventory clerks are all the same...

 

I asked them for the invoice once again, will wait for the answer till Thursday and then I have to decide what to do.

 

But what exactly can I threaten them with? That this charge was unreasonable/too_high? That they failed to show me cleaning company's invoice? Any invoice?

 

1. No, I don't think I could visit this flat and ask new tenants (if someone has already been there).

 

2. I paid the deposit at the beginning of our agreement and they did notify me of deposit protection scheme immediately.

 

 

 

It's just this awful feeling that they planned to nick some money anyway, no matter what...

 

But I wouldn't know what to do step-by-step...

 

Thanks, guys!

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E-mail from letting agency:

 

"As stated in my previous emails, there is no cleaning company account as the landlord carried out cleaning herself. She is an individual not a company, but I can ask her to put in writing the cleaning she carried out if this will suffice."

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£45 seems a bit steep.

 

If your deposit is protected, there should be a free dispute resolution scheme.

 

You could consider telling them that you wish to dispute the charge. At the same time, you could perhaps suggest that, say, £15 was a more reasonable charge? They may decide that it is not worth the hassle and reduce their bill.

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I think i'm in the wrong business, for cleaning a few items and thats all it would transpire a few items, maybe 15 minutes work 30mins tops, and earn £45!

 

£90 per hour isn't bad, that is £187,200 gross per year (Of course not including bank holiday working, or weekends.)

 

I would most definately be fighting this all the way, the charge is totally excessive and unreasonable.

Thanks

- Hobbie

 

--------------------------------------------------------

Under no circumstances should you speak with a Debt Collections Agency via telephone, request that all future correspondence is done in writing, a letter template for this can be located here.

 

Any views expressed are solely that of my own, any advice or information offered is provided in genuine good faith, and should be checked prior to acting upon.

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You would need to make a small claim to get the money back. This is apparently not that difficult and the judge will take into account the fact that you are not legally qualified.

 

You will need N1 claim forms.

 

More importantly, was the deposit protected in a scheme? If they didn't do everything properly you could take them to court for a lot more.

 

Let me know about the deposit and I can advise you.

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Back in September 2005 my landlord decided to with-hold £120.00 from my deposit due to several comments on check out (please take note that the property was maintained to the highest level with me treating the property as my own and relacing scraggy nets with new ones) however having been advised of the £120.00 I responded by saying that I had put £3000 a side to cover legal costs against the landlord as I had heard from my neighbours that she always kept part of the deposits!

 

I suggest you try same.

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Please correct me if I am wrong, but if the deposit is protected, there should be a free resolution service run by the scheme.

 

There should be no need to go to court, and the courts would not be happy if you used them rather than a free dispute resolution service.

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I need to know:

i) on what date you paid the deposit.

ii) from which date it was protected.

iii) On what date you were shown proof of the protection.

 

Regards deposit resolution, whatever is not disputed is paid back anyway; so the scheme will arbitrate over the disputed £45.

 

Ok?

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I can't believe that. :(

 

 

Had been asking the_agency/the_owner for a complete breakdown of all costs of cleaning and you know what I got this morning?

 

An invoice for 45 GBP with nothing but "Cleaning Throughout of the above address" on it! Do you call it a breakdown?

 

 

Now what to do? Where to go? Any ideas, please? :-|

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You should be persuing this through the TDP scheme. The mediation service will be the ones to decide whether the amount deducted is reasonable. As far as I understand it the onus is on the landlord to prove that he sustained the loss that he is deducting and if he cannot prove this then you will get your money back. Also, if he has used the insurance based scheme, which if you have had your part deposit back from landlord it would seem he has, then he must now put the disputed £45 into the scheme for protection until the dispute is resolved. If you tell him that you intend to take this action he may decide its not worth the hasle and return it(!?)

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So what exactly should I do? Fill out some form online? Go to CAB?

 

Thanks for your help, guys!

 

You need to do a bit of investigation of your own. I haven't read hear of reports of anyone pursuing a dispute through the various schemes.

 

I would check the website for the particular deposit scheme that they used to find out the procedure for disputing.

 

In the meantime I would write to the agents saying something like "It is clear that I am being charged for far more cleaning than was deemed in the checkout report, and therefore I would like to formally dispute this deduction".

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