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MillieMoo2004

Landlord wants to keep large part of deposit - help!

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Hi all

 

I hope someone can help us with our problem - this may be a long post and I apologise if it is!

 

We moved into a property in Sept 2006 and moved out earlier this week. At no time did the landlord do an inventory. Last night I went round the property with him to discuss a 'snag list' - or 'War and Peace' as I perfer to call it.

 

It appears our landlord has selective memory loss. He wants us to pay the following:

 

1. Damage in the kitchen (cupboards and radiators) caused by the previous tenant's dog is being blamed on ours and he wants all cupboards re-painted and radiators knobs sorted (anything up to £250)

 

2. We forgot to clean the Aga oven before leaving (we hold our hands up to this - an oversight). They have immediately booked someone to clean it at a cost of £100.

 

3. Vegetable patch and borders not weeded and dug over 'properly' - £200!!!

 

4. A small burn on the carpet in front of the fire (roughly the size of a 5 pence piece) - landlord wants three-quarters of the cost of a new carpet - roughly £240.

 

This is all inspite of the problems we encountered whilst tenants - the conservatory roof leaked repeatedky in the first year and ruined our dining table. A large fence panel in the back garden blew down and each panel either side was at a 45 degree angle - this took 16 months to sort. The Aga went down for 10 days in winter 2007, leaving us with no cooker or heating during this time.

 

We are laid-back people and we ignored these problems and others but now they are trying to keep a huge chunk of the deposit and charge extortionate rates for work we are fuming!

 

Is there anything we can do? I tried to discuss things through with him but he was insiatant that he would never have let the house it in the state we described it as - but he did!

 

I offered to come and clean the Aga and dig over the veggie patch (again!) but he said it was too late, the tradesmen have already been booked.

 

Any help most appreciated.

 

Many thanks

 

4.

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Firstly, could you confirm that no inventory check in was completed when you moved in to the property?

 

TFT


09/07/09 :)Business Studies BA(Hons) 2:1:)

 

eCar Insurance overpayment - £325

Settled in full - 15/09/08

NatWest Student A/C bank charges - £260

Settled under hardship scheme - 08/06/09

Natwest Business A/C bank charges - £60

Settled in full as GOGW - 20/04/09

Santander Consumer Finance late payment fees - £60

Part settled for £48 - 01/03/08

Peugeot Finance late payment fees - £50

Settled in full before county court hearing - 01/09/09

Peugeot Finance overpayment of £247

Settled in full - 01/12/08

Valley Leisure - complaint about collections agent

£160 part refund of gym membership in compensation - 01/02/09

HFC Bank - complaint about payment deducted from my account on wrong date

GOGW £10 - 01/05/09

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If this is the case, your landlord is on very very shakey ground if he/she wants to deduct any of your deposit - a county court judge would not look favourably upon this sort of conduct - how could he prove you did the damage without a signed inventory check in.

 

If you need some help, then I am more than willing to assist you and fortunately know quite a bit about this area.

 

TFT


09/07/09 :)Business Studies BA(Hons) 2:1:)

 

eCar Insurance overpayment - £325

Settled in full - 15/09/08

NatWest Student A/C bank charges - £260

Settled under hardship scheme - 08/06/09

Natwest Business A/C bank charges - £60

Settled in full as GOGW - 20/04/09

Santander Consumer Finance late payment fees - £60

Part settled for £48 - 01/03/08

Peugeot Finance late payment fees - £50

Settled in full before county court hearing - 01/09/09

Peugeot Finance overpayment of £247

Settled in full - 01/12/08

Valley Leisure - complaint about collections agent

£160 part refund of gym membership in compensation - 01/02/09

HFC Bank - complaint about payment deducted from my account on wrong date

GOGW £10 - 01/05/09

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Hi there

 

That is correct - no inventory was done at check in. Our landlords lived next door (but some 50 yards away) and he kept saying he would nip round and do one but never did.

 

His check out inventory, however, was ridiculously long, highlighting such hangable offences as a cobweb on a lightshade, leaves not brushed off the patio and the bath plug no longer being attached to its chain.

 

Hope you can help!

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I think that you are going to need to reclaim your full deposit from him, less any deductions that you consider to be fair and reasonable. I think that based on what you tell me so far you stand a very good chance - without a check in inventory any check out inventory is meaningless - there is nothing to say that any damage was done today or 10 years ago.

 

Your landlord seems to be a bit of a problematic character. Because of this, you might need to sue him for your deposit in the county court - this is an easy enough process but wont be immediate. By the sounds of it, there is quite a few pounds on the line so it would be well worth doing in my opinion.

 

TFT


09/07/09 :)Business Studies BA(Hons) 2:1:)

 

eCar Insurance overpayment - £325

Settled in full - 15/09/08

NatWest Student A/C bank charges - £260

Settled under hardship scheme - 08/06/09

Natwest Business A/C bank charges - £60

Settled in full as GOGW - 20/04/09

Santander Consumer Finance late payment fees - £60

Part settled for £48 - 01/03/08

Peugeot Finance late payment fees - £50

Settled in full before county court hearing - 01/09/09

Peugeot Finance overpayment of £247

Settled in full - 01/12/08

Valley Leisure - complaint about collections agent

£160 part refund of gym membership in compensation - 01/02/09

HFC Bank - complaint about payment deducted from my account on wrong date

GOGW £10 - 01/05/09

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The deposit was £1250 and, judging by his comments, we will be lucky to see £400 back from this.

 

It's not just the nit-picking, it's the costs involved - they are extremely wealthy and we are not. They happily spend a few hundred pouns to have their garden tended every few weeks so have employed the same people to re-do ours.

 

I reckon the work he 'claims' needs to be done would take a mximum of 3 to 4 hours - and they are charging him / us £200!!! His wife even said that they need to get someone in to re-clean, despite my mother and wife spending almost all of the last day doing this!

 

Sorry to go on and on but I'm furious and he wouldn't listen to any arguement I put forward. I havedrafted a letter, below, taken from this site and altered slightly - your views would be appreciated.

 

I am writing to you concerning our tenancy of the premises at .......

 

I request that you return our deposit minus small amount for heating oil – in region of £70 - as the premises were left clean and in good repair when the tenancy ended. Allowing for fair wear and tear, the premises were left in the same condition as they were in at the beginning of the tenancy.

 

The deposit must not be regarded as extra rent, to be used to improve the condition of the property.

 

You cannot deduct the replacement value of any item, even if it was brand new at the start of the tenancy, as this would be "betterment". Nor can you make deductions from the deposit for general “wear and tear”; the deposit is not there to provide a redecoration fund.

 

The onus is on you to prove that there are circumstances justifying the retention of any part of the deposit, and to date you have not provided any such evidence. Nor can you, as you failed to provide an inventory when we moved into the property.

 

I am therefore in a position to demonstrate that it is unreasonable for you to keep any part of the deposit. You must remember that the deposit is our money. You must account for it properly and withholding it without proper grounds is unlawful.

 

I require your reply to arrive no later than 14 days after the date of this letter, together with your cheque for £1167.50. If I receive no satisfactory reply by then, I will begin a County Court action for recovery of my deposit without further warning.

 

The Court can order you to pay back the deposit, and the proceedings are very straightforward. Also, I believe the Courts are very sympathetic to tenants whose landlords do not fulfil their statutory obligations.

 

I look forward to hearing from you within 14 days.

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In general, the letter appears to be fine.

 

My advice, firstly keep calm - treat this as though it were a business arrangement at work and try not to get personally involved (although it is your deposit). I tend to find the more removed I am from a situation, the clearer my judgement is and the stronger my argument is. Having said that, I perfectly understand your frustration.

 

Firstly, I would write a list of every bit of work that you think is fair and reasonable and every bit that you think is unreasonable (e.g. caused by someone else or overly picky). Just focus on the work, rather than the costs quoted. Once you have done this, go down the list of all the work that you think is reasonable and try and get three hyperthetical quotes for the work. By doing this, you can demonstrate to a judge that any extravegant costs quoted by the landlord are unreasonable and will unduly enrich the landlord.

 

Once you have done this, draw up a statement to go with your letter giving details of all the work that should be reasonably done and the reasonable costs for carrying out such work. At this point, you can adapt your letter to advise of the specific amount you want returned.

 

The key to success is to be consistent with your facts and figures - a well presented case will always go in your favour.

 

Out of interest, have you signed any check-out inventory? This could be quite important.

 

TFT


09/07/09 :)Business Studies BA(Hons) 2:1:)

 

eCar Insurance overpayment - £325

Settled in full - 15/09/08

NatWest Student A/C bank charges - £260

Settled under hardship scheme - 08/06/09

Natwest Business A/C bank charges - £60

Settled in full as GOGW - 20/04/09

Santander Consumer Finance late payment fees - £60

Part settled for £48 - 01/03/08

Peugeot Finance late payment fees - £50

Settled in full before county court hearing - 01/09/09

Peugeot Finance overpayment of £247

Settled in full - 01/12/08

Valley Leisure - complaint about collections agent

£160 part refund of gym membership in compensation - 01/02/09

HFC Bank - complaint about payment deducted from my account on wrong date

GOGW £10 - 01/05/09

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Where do we stand with regards to not being given the opportunity to rectify any problems?

 

For example, the oven. Our tenancy finished on Monday, he met me at the property Tuesday to run through the snag list but had already booked someone to clean the oven without giving us the opportunity to rectify this.

 

To a certain extent, the same goes for the garden. However, when we moved it the veggie plots had weeds on it and one was actually covered in glass where the previous tenant had taken his greenhouse with him and smashed a couple of panes. We believe we are leaving it in a better condition than we found it but, basically, the landlords wants perfection, paid for by us.

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Once the tenancy has finished, the ex-tenant has no rights to go back and re-do any work.The LL is quite within his rights to hire a professional company to do said work and deduct the work from deposit, as he is also allowed to do the work himself and charge a reasonable amount

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A friend of mine has a buy to let and he gives the tenant an inspection just prior to the end of tenancy and points out any areas that will effect the deposit, which gives the tenant time to rectify before departure. It's a good idea to ask for this from any Landlord. Afterall, they probably would prefer to save their time and money organising cleaners etc. The LL just wants to rent out again asap.

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I agree with Sali that this is the kind of service we expected. Maybe I will have to stand the loss on the oven as it was something we forgot to do (although £100 to clean an oven still sounds bloomin' outrageous to me!).

 

Where do we stand with regards to damage done to our property whilst in his house? As I stated earlier, we notified him of a leak in the conservatory repeatedly until one day, during a particularly bad downpour, the seal broke overnight and when we woke up the table we soaking wet. We have tried many things to make it look good again but it still has 'tide marks' all over it.

 

Is this something that could be deemed his responsibility?

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No, we haven't signed any check-out inventory - we have just been given a list of 'snags'.

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...and since he didn't bother to take one when you moved in, he can go and whistle. If he did one then you should have been present to agree it and sign it. I would fess up to the oven though, that at least shows you accept your responsibilities!

 

I hope you sort this out - if you feel you are in the right don't give in, and only communicate with him in writing from now on. Goodluck

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No, we haven't signed any check-out inventory - we have just been given a list of 'snags'.

 

Hello,

 

sorry I have been away. Whatever you do, don't sign away any check out inventory. As for Emma's comment, the landlord may not be legally obliged to allow you to rectify any problems; however, it might be viewed as unreasonable by a judge.

 

TFT


09/07/09 :)Business Studies BA(Hons) 2:1:)

 

eCar Insurance overpayment - £325

Settled in full - 15/09/08

NatWest Student A/C bank charges - £260

Settled under hardship scheme - 08/06/09

Natwest Business A/C bank charges - £60

Settled in full as GOGW - 20/04/09

Santander Consumer Finance late payment fees - £60

Part settled for £48 - 01/03/08

Peugeot Finance late payment fees - £50

Settled in full before county court hearing - 01/09/09

Peugeot Finance overpayment of £247

Settled in full - 01/12/08

Valley Leisure - complaint about collections agent

£160 part refund of gym membership in compensation - 01/02/09

HFC Bank - complaint about payment deducted from my account on wrong date

GOGW £10 - 01/05/09

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Hi TFT

 

I sent the letter yesterday, recorded delivery. I am now awaiting the screaming phone call on my mobile. I have taken legal advice from three different people now (all involved in the profession in one way or another) and all say that the lack of an inventory is key.

 

My only concern is that the tenant in the house prior to ourselves still lives in the village and is a good friend of the landlord. He may be willing, if the landlord asks him, to sign something that says when he left the property it was in an immaculate condition.

 

If this were to happen, do you think the judge in county court would pay attention to it?

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Well done.

 

Firstly, if you get any phone calls from him do not answer them. Simply send a text message advising that given that the matter is in dispute you think it is appropriate if you only communicate with each other by written letter. This way, you can prove everything he has said to you.

 

Secondly, with regards to the previous tenant being a friend of the landlord I should imagine that it would be pretty easy for you to discredit any witness statement that was provided as the witness is not impartial. I think the judge would see that for what it is. In addition, if the landlord were to try and do that it would be quite weak anyway - 3 years is a long time. I think a judge would be quite impressed with the memory of the former tenant if he were to sign anything now with regards to the condition of the property. I really wouldn't worry about this if I were you it would be a very poor tactic of the landlord and very easy to rubbish in court.

 

TFT


09/07/09 :)Business Studies BA(Hons) 2:1:)

 

eCar Insurance overpayment - £325

Settled in full - 15/09/08

NatWest Student A/C bank charges - £260

Settled under hardship scheme - 08/06/09

Natwest Business A/C bank charges - £60

Settled in full as GOGW - 20/04/09

Santander Consumer Finance late payment fees - £60

Part settled for £48 - 01/03/08

Peugeot Finance late payment fees - £50

Settled in full before county court hearing - 01/09/09

Peugeot Finance overpayment of £247

Settled in full - 01/12/08

Valley Leisure - complaint about collections agent

£160 part refund of gym membership in compensation - 01/02/09

HFC Bank - complaint about payment deducted from my account on wrong date

GOGW £10 - 01/05/09

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Furthermore, with regards to the oven - accepting is probably the best thing to do if you believe you were liable for its condition. As others have mentioned, this demonstrates reasonable behaviour which will strengthen your case. That said, if you still think it is excessive, you can always get three comparative hyperthetical quotes from oven cleaners.

 

TFT


09/07/09 :)Business Studies BA(Hons) 2:1:)

 

eCar Insurance overpayment - £325

Settled in full - 15/09/08

NatWest Student A/C bank charges - £260

Settled under hardship scheme - 08/06/09

Natwest Business A/C bank charges - £60

Settled in full as GOGW - 20/04/09

Santander Consumer Finance late payment fees - £60

Part settled for £48 - 01/03/08

Peugeot Finance late payment fees - £50

Settled in full before county court hearing - 01/09/09

Peugeot Finance overpayment of £247

Settled in full - 01/12/08

Valley Leisure - complaint about collections agent

£160 part refund of gym membership in compensation - 01/02/09

HFC Bank - complaint about payment deducted from my account on wrong date

GOGW £10 - 01/05/09

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We are liable for the state of the oven, there's no getting away from that and I'm happy to pay a sensible figure for this oversight - say £50, but not so happy about paying £100!

 

I will make the calls to oven cleaners today.

 

Many thanks

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Excellent, make sure you ask them for a written or emailed quotation so that you have the evidence of the figures they quote. This is very important.

 

Keep us updated.

 

All the best,

 

TFT


09/07/09 :)Business Studies BA(Hons) 2:1:)

 

eCar Insurance overpayment - £325

Settled in full - 15/09/08

NatWest Student A/C bank charges - £260

Settled under hardship scheme - 08/06/09

Natwest Business A/C bank charges - £60

Settled in full as GOGW - 20/04/09

Santander Consumer Finance late payment fees - £60

Part settled for £48 - 01/03/08

Peugeot Finance late payment fees - £50

Settled in full before county court hearing - 01/09/09

Peugeot Finance overpayment of £247

Settled in full - 01/12/08

Valley Leisure - complaint about collections agent

£160 part refund of gym membership in compensation - 01/02/09

HFC Bank - complaint about payment deducted from my account on wrong date

GOGW £10 - 01/05/09

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Thanks a lot for your help.

 

One final, quick question for now.

 

As I have stated previously, the landlord is wealthy and well-to-do. It is likely that he has or knows a solicitor. If this does go to court, could he have a solicitor attend with him?

 

Thanks

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It is possible that he could have a solicitor represent him; however, he would not be able to recover the costs of employing that solicitor even if he were to win and, even the best solicitor in the world could not argue the fact that he didn't do any inventory check-out (this would be central to your argument). Don't be deterred even if he were to use a solicitor - they are not nearly as expert as they would have you believe.

 

On a more positive note, his solicitor might advise him to settle out of court with you if you presented a strong enough case - his employing a solicitor could work in your favour.

 

TFT


09/07/09 :)Business Studies BA(Hons) 2:1:)

 

eCar Insurance overpayment - £325

Settled in full - 15/09/08

NatWest Student A/C bank charges - £260

Settled under hardship scheme - 08/06/09

Natwest Business A/C bank charges - £60

Settled in full as GOGW - 20/04/09

Santander Consumer Finance late payment fees - £60

Part settled for £48 - 01/03/08

Peugeot Finance late payment fees - £50

Settled in full before county court hearing - 01/09/09

Peugeot Finance overpayment of £247

Settled in full - 01/12/08

Valley Leisure - complaint about collections agent

£160 part refund of gym membership in compensation - 01/02/09

HFC Bank - complaint about payment deducted from my account on wrong date

GOGW £10 - 01/05/09

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It is possible that he could have a solicitor represent him; however, he would not be able to recover the costs of employing that solicitor even if he were to win and, even the best solicitor in the world could not argue the fact that he didn't do any inventory check-out (this would be central to your argument).

 

I think you mean inventory check-in??


Kentish Lass

Information given is based on my knowledge and experience and is not to be considered as legal advice

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We have had a final invoice from our landlord which, surprise, surprise, comes to a figure just short of our initial deposit amount.

 

It includes a figure of £185 for a cleaning company. As previously stated, my mother and wife cleaned the house as we left. We had all carpets professionally cleaned and we washed and ironed all curtains. The laminate floring was hoovered and washed. All kitchen cupboards were also cleaned.

 

How they have arrived at this figure, I will never know.

 

My question is, who decides whether a house is adequately cleaned or not? Surely, it's not just the landlord, otherwise every landlord would do this at the end of every tenancy wouldn't they? (well, the less resonable ones at least).

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