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Landlord kept 1000 deposit to fund new bathroom - please help


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I hope someone can help.

 

I moved out of privately rented accommodation on 30th April this year. I started my tenancy on 1st April 2005. I initially put down a £1000 deposit and have just received a letter from the landlord with a breakdown of costs to the home. We did not complete or sign an inventory prior to tenancy.

 

He has informed me that as there was a crack to the cistern top of the toilet, he could not get a replacement and therefore has had to pay out £600 for a new bathroom suite. He has also charged me £225.00 for cleaning, which between me and my mum over 2 days left this house spotless. On top of that he has charged me 81.50 to clip his conifers and some weeding of a 10 x 8 front garden. 30 to re-align some wonky cupboard doors, £20 for a missing light switch, and some other little petty extras.

 

I think these charges are totally unreasonable, and as I am not protected by this new deposit scheme am unsure what my legal rights are. Can he just go ahead and arrange for a new bathroom suite to be fitted? Does he not have to provide me with quotes first? He hasn't provided me with any receipts.

 

I have read the other threads and have printed off the letter before action, do you think I should respond to his letter with the letter before action first, or should I just reply asking him to forward me on all receipted documentation.

 

I would appreciate some help.

 

Many thanks.

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- When did you commence the tenancy?

- How old was the bathroom suite(roughly)?

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.

 

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If the landlord is claiming damages, the onus is on him to prove a) the damage itself and b) the cost that this damage has cost him. As part of this, the landlord is entitled to replace "like for like", and is not entitled to "betterment". I.E. - he is only entitled to charge you what it would cost to supply and fit a 8 year old bathroom suite, which will clearly be considerably less.

 

All that said, should there be no inventory, it will be difficult to prove A) anyway - he will struggle(although it is possible, contrary to many posts on these forums) to prove damage without a "base condition" at the beginning of the tenancy, which is normally done using an inventory.

 

Finally, there could be an argument(not one I would subscribe to, but it is quite subjective) that this kind of damage could constitute "fair wear and tear" anyway.

 

All in, you probably have a good case legally for the return of at least parts of the deposit claimed. What would be useful is a bullet point list of the damages and amount claimed?

 

Also, I guess you didnt take photos on leaving and/or entering the property? Although I am guessing that you may have witnesses to the condition of the property at the commencement and end of the tenancy?

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 hippychick,

 

i'm going through a similar experience to you. i sent the LBA but the LL continues to hold the deposit (and has refused to provide a break down or invoices, etc) in fact he has now refused to even talk to me so its onwards with the court case.

 

Like you there was no initial itinerary But I am now in the process of getting witness statements contradicting everything he claims. Including the ex-caretaker who will confirm the LL is lying and that he carried out the work that the LL is claiming to be 'damage'.

 

All that said, should there be no inventory, it will be difficult to prove A) anyway - he will struggle(although it is possible, contrary to many posts on these forums)
I do think its important to remember that if you KNOW you did not cause this damage the landlord should not be able to 'prove' a damn thing.

 

All I can say is I have read an enormous amount of legal documents, posted on this and landlordzone forum and run everything past a solicitor (through work) and you do sound to be a good position. With a bit of luck your exLL will back down with that LBA. I suspect mine doesn't expect me to go through with the court case, he has underestimated me!

 

By any chance are you aware of the annual gas safety inspections that are required by law? You should have a copy of the certificates sent within 28 days. My philosophy now is if someone tries to rip you off, fight back with a bigger weapon. I'm currently looking into the gas safety, permissions for grade II listed buildings permissions and think i may have come across some naughty dealings regarding tax and property ownership too.

 

PM me if you would like to exchange notes and support ;)

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I do think its important to remember that if you KNOW you did not cause this damage the landlord should not be able to 'prove' a damn thing.

 

 

Wholly agree, but the key word is "should"...

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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how can something that is not true be 'proven'?

 

:)

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Quite(scarily) easily - you have to remember that small claims isnt "beyond reasonable doubt" - it is based on "weighing up of the evidence" and a large part of this comes down to "who the judge believes"....

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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Guest Alison82

Take him to court and let a judge decide, you have more to gain than to lose. I hate LL's like this

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and a large part of this comes down to "who the judge believes"....

 

that is what ive been posting about regarding my own issues to start with all i had was 'my word against his' and then i came here and was given the impression he doesnt stand a chance without an itinerary. I then did my own research and found a number of case examples that confirmed it.

 

Do you have any links to case examples where the tenant lost despite there being no itinerary so we can gauge what might be considered strong enough evidence of 'proof'?

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I dont unfortunately - wish I did!

 

The important thing to remember is that an inventory is VERY important, as it provides a base condition of the property. HOWEVER, it is not the ONLY way to show this base condition. For example, although none-agreed photographs showing the base condition of the property will not have as much "clout" as those signed by the tenant, they can be considered, especially in conjunction with other evidence.

 

My experience is that although an inventory is fairly critical for the landlord in the case of damage claims, it should never ever be construed as "black and white" as many people(especially here) claim.

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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barella, can you post and/or PM me with links to the cases you have found? Would be interested to read them...thanks!

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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yeah, as soon as ive got everything in order i'll post the links list on the forum, might be useful to others too!

Abbey National

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Thank you all for your advice I really appreciate it.

 

The LL knows that I didn't cause the damage to the cistern, it was already there when we moved with a small hairline crack on the cover, which over the 2 years just got bigger and bigger. I wish I had signed an inventory now, big lesson learnt!

 

I am shocked that the LL didn't even discuss replacing the bathroom he just sent me a letter with a breakdown of what he has taken out of my deposit, and stated that £600 was used for a new bathroom suite, because he couldn't match the cistern top.

 

Once I've sent the LBA, and if I get any response, I will post on here.

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The LL knows that I didn't cause the damage to the cistern, it was already there when we moved with a small hairline crack on the cover, which over the 2 years just got bigger and bigger...

...stated that £600 was used for a new bathroom suite, because he couldn't match the cistern top.

 

this is uncanny.

 

In my case, there was a 'raised mark' on one of the kitchen tops (possibly a burn) which was there when I moved in. It flaked a bit over the next 2 years & 4 months but I'm sure it would have been worse if I wasn't kitchen shy. He is saying same to me; if he cant match the kitchen top the 'whole lot' will have to be replaced. It's one of those low cost laminated worktops which are common and cheap to replace so it will be interesting to see what he comes back with.

 

I loved the LBA referring to not being able to use the deposit for 'betterment' or as a 'redecoration fund'.

 

good luck, let us know how you get on :)

Abbey National

Approx £250 bank charges refunded by Abbey National

Close Premium Finance

£30 refund of default payments refunded after they messed up a DD

 

United Utilities

£25 compensation from United Utilities for a stream of errors on my account. Started in November and still awaiting closure and cheque in May 2008

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he just sent me a letter with a breakdown of what he has taken out of my deposit, and stated that £600 was used for a new bathroom suite, because he couldn't match the cistern top.

 

if this went to court he would need to provide evidence of the costs. if he's anything like my exlandlord he probably won't even replace it and will have plucked a sum out of fresh air.

 

In any case (should it not come under wear and tear and assuming its down to your word against his) he cant replace it with new (betterment), it has to be like for like. According to Google you can pick up bathroom suites for anything from a hundred quid.

Abbey National

Approx £250 bank charges refunded by Abbey National

Close Premium Finance

£30 refund of default payments refunded after they messed up a DD

 

United Utilities

£25 compensation from United Utilities for a stream of errors on my account. Started in November and still awaiting closure and cheque in May 2008

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Hi hippychick.

Cleaning costs are not chargeable. The landlord can not charge you for cleaning.

 

Is this definitely true? I've always been led to believe that a cleaning charge was standard. I'm not sure a judge would consider it unreasonable to charge for cleaning and i expect the cost would depend on what level of cleaning was required, if the place is covered in dog hair the carpets would need more than a hoover.

 

In my new tenancy agreement it states a standard charge of £60 will be deducted for cleaning at the end of the tenancy which is fine with me because I would rather pay someone anyway than spend all day doing it myself. But I thought it was a bit cheeky that when we moved in it wasnt cleaned for us!. It was covered in dust (a new build). The agreement also states that if we want to keep a pet we have to pay a deposit of another 2 weeks rent (£over £400) to cover potential costs of specialist cleaning.

Abbey National

Approx £250 bank charges refunded by Abbey National

Close Premium Finance

£30 refund of default payments refunded after they messed up a DD

 

United Utilities

£25 compensation from United Utilities for a stream of errors on my account. Started in November and still awaiting closure and cheque in May 2008

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Hi hippychick.

Cleaning costs are not chargeable. The landlord can not charge you for cleaning.

 

 

Badger, with respect, this is the second post you have said the same thing, and it is complete rubbish. I would advise you post evidence backing this up or stop misleading people!!

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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Cleaning is chargeable - the property must be put back into the original condition minus wear and tear. Wear and tear does not cover the grease behind the cooker, or the dust in the back of the wardrobe, etc.; things like marks on painted walls are arguably wear and tear depending on length of tenancy, severity of marks and original condition of paintwork.

 

The court rate for work carried out by litigants in their own time is £9.25 p/h, and has been suggested on here before as a resonable amount for a landlord to charge when carrying out (necessary and documented) remedies.

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In badgers' defence i've heard that if the property was not cleaned professionally before the tenant moves in then the LL or agents are not allowed to charge for professional cleaning on exit

Maybe this is what he means?

I QUESTION THEREFORE I AM!! [sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

 

Unfortunately i'm not an expert in any given field legally and my advice and that of the Consumer Action Group and the Bank Action Group is given without prejudice and without liability so please if in any doubt whatsoever seek help from an insured qualified professional. Contents of my posts are purely my own personal opinions and not condoned or endorsed in any way, shape or form by CAG. Thank you! :p

 

 

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Hey CG. He answered the query on another thread....never clarified though :)

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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Hey MS, ok no worries ;)

I QUESTION THEREFORE I AM!! [sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

 

Unfortunately i'm not an expert in any given field legally and my advice and that of the Consumer Action Group and the Bank Action Group is given without prejudice and without liability so please if in any doubt whatsoever seek help from an insured qualified professional. Contents of my posts are purely my own personal opinions and not condoned or endorsed in any way, shape or form by CAG. Thank you! :p

 

 

I have been smoke-free for 4yrs

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Well, this solicitor says it is chargeable:

 

Residential Landlord - Feature of the month

 

If the property has been left in a dirty state, the landlord can also charge for cleaning. However, cleaning should not be deducted as a matter of course for all properties, it should only be claimed if the property is genuinely dirty.
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