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Hi everyone - a bit of advice please!

 

I recently moved out of a rental property and left the area. I kept the place in a very clean condition when I was living there, and my partner and I returned once all the furniture was gone and spent a whole day cleaning and scrubbing everything just about to within an inch of it's life just to make sure, and left everything spotless.

 

On Friday I got the following email from the letting agent:

 

Dear Miss Pussycat,

 

Thank you for returning the keys to property, we have now been able to carry out the closing inspection on the property and have found the following issues to be of concern:

 

1. Lots of cat hair in the property

2. lounge carpet rug not clean underneath

3. window ledges and skirting boards not clean

4. Wallpaper in stairs leading up torn

5. Cupboards in kitchen not cleaned.

 

I would appreciate a reply to this email ASAP, if no response is received within 7 working days monies from your deposit will be used to compensate for any works that are required to get the property cleaned and ready for new tenants.

 

If I can be of any further assistance please don't hesitate to contact me.

 

Best Regards,

 

Lying estate agent.

 

All the points (apart from the peeling wallpaper on the stairs) just aren't true, and are all things we paid particular attention to before handing the keys back.

 

I've prepared the following reply - sorry, it's a bit long! Could anyone read it through for me to check if it's ok?

 

Dear Mr Letting Agent

 

Thankyou for your email dated 10th July regarding inspection of ** ***** ****

 

I am writing within the allotted 7 days as requested and wish to register my displeasure with several points raised in the email. I would like to dispute the following points, and give my reasons for each point of contention.

 

Before I tackle these individual points, I must inform you that having always kept the property in good check, on Friday 26th June myself and my partner spent a full day cleaning the house from top to bottom. We returned from our new residence in ******** only for this specific reason. We used this day to make absolutely certain that everything was in order. As such, we drew up a checklist and ticked off progress as we went along. It is with some surprise that every point on your list was something we personally crossed off during this final cleaning.

 

1. Lots of cat hair in the property

 

It is granted and established that I own cats and they can shed a lot of hair, but knowing this I have consistently vacuumed up after them throughout my tenancy. Also, when we returned to clean the property, we hoovered from top to bottom extremely thoroughly (including the curtains) and spent several hours doing this just to make sure. I understand due to the nature of cat hair we may have missed the odd one or two but we made sure there definitely wasn’t lots of cat hair in the property upon leaving!

 

2. Lounge carpet rug not clean underneath

This rug has remained in the same position throughout the duration of my tenancy, and the only parts that have been up are a couple of feet around the edges to hoover underneath. Therefore any dirt underneath the rug must have already been there when I moved in.

 

 

3. Window Ledges and skirting boards not clean

 

As I like to live in a clean environment, I set aside a day every couple of months to do just this, and the radiators/stair banisters too, throughout my tenancy. The skirting boards were not clean when I moved in, and it took many hours of scrubbing the first time. As a case in point I thought the paint had peeled off the top of the banister until I actually cleaned it and found that it was white underneath! My partner and I made a particular point of cleaning these areas again when we returned for the final clean just to make sure- I personally saw to the window ledges with antibacterial cleaner followed by polish.

 

4. Wallpaper up stairs leading up torn

 

Yes – this has been peeling for quite a while and I’m not quite sure why but couldn’t think of a way to fix it!

 

 

5 Cupboards in kitchen not cleaned

 

My partner cleaned every single cupboard on the inside and on the out. Extra attention was given to cleaning of the cupboards, using boiling water and antibacterial cleaner. No stone was left unturned. We therefore are surprised that this point features on your list at all, especially as the cupboards were so dirty when I moved in that my mother and I had to clean them out before I could unpack any of my belongings into them. I have also kept these clean throughout the duration of my tenancy.

 

 

Summing up, we do take on board that you have some reason to criticise the state the house was left in, but would argue that we believe that the state we left it in was superior to the state I found the property to be in when I initially took up the rental.

 

The mention of a deposit and a deadline alarms me somewhat, because whilst there is clear undertone that you wish to keep some of my deposit, on the whole, the points above do not serve as any solid foundation to base an argument not to return my money. While I appreciate you may have a point on the wallpaper, you have then gone on to combine it with a whole host of other complaints which surely make the backbone of your arguments to return an incomplete deposit. Because we personally attended to several of those points, we find it curious that you can then pick up on these items as arguments to do this.

 

I’d like to ask that this dispute is taken into account and a second opinion given. I would also like to be made a lot clearer of what your position actually is regarding the deposit. There has been suggestion that if I do not reply in 7 days there will be a deduction. I have now replied with a comprehensive list of why I think this is unfair, so would appreciate your reply on your position.

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Just to add, there was an inventory when I moved in (and it didn't mention the skirting boards, window ledges, kitchen cupboards, or underneath the rug (to be honest I never even looked under there - it was a VERY big rug that took up most of a very large lounge!).

 

The property is now being advertised again on the letting agent's website - at a higher rent than I was paying, stating at the bottom of the advert "in need of redecoration" - so they obviously don't intend to do THAT before anyone else moves in, just as it was in need of redecoration before I moved in!

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Hello Sarah, help is here :)

 

However, first some facts are needed. Could you tell me when you first moved in to the property please?

 

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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Seems to me that some ladlords just like to take the mick, and squeeze every penny out of their tenants as possible. I have no professional advice, but I hope you get this sorted. And you've inpsired me to go round our flat this weekend and take photos of the cleanliness of our flat; maybe a good idea to do the same? Maybe taking date stamped photos at the start and end of tenancy might be a good idea :) just have no idea why some landlords are such t*****s!!

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date stamped photographs can be of little use sometimes, they often don't show problems and the date can be faked. It is best if photos are incorporated into an inventory and therefore it is agreed that they are a reasonable representation of the property.

 

On this issue - What was the tenancy - was it ever renewed? Or was it one agreement from 2006?

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I was originally on two 12 month contracts - then it went over to a rolling contract as I knew I was moving but didn't know when.

 

It's got worse - the estate agent has just emailed some photos - two of them aren't even FROM my flat, and the others are from the ONE cupboard my boyfriend missed in the kitchen (and yes I have told him off for this!). On this basis they are saying the whole place needs a "deep clean" - I'm very angry with them as apart from ONE kitchen cupboard the place was left spotless!

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Hi Ya :)

 

I had the same problem when moving out of a private rented property. I hadput in brand nw carpets (MUG!) when i moved in and when I moved out had them cleaned and the landlady said the carpets were not to her taste therefore tried to charg me for hers (That were over ten years old and that cheap nasty stuff that landlords tend to put in!) Mine cost £900 (MUG AGAIN!) I was lucky enough to know theprevious tenant who vouched for me that the old carpets were soiled so I got to pay her only half back!! (Cheers!)

 

What worries me is the pictures are not even from your flat, thats dishonest, keep them and put IN WRITING to the estate agent you think h may of made an error. If he insists its yours I would seek legal advice.

 

With regards the cupboards being clened dont be too hard on the old man as mine wouldnt even know where a kitchen cupboard is !

 

Good Luck

 

Mrs W:cool:

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when did the second 12 months start - October 07?

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I THINK so, although thinking about it I as on a 6 month contract to start with, THEN 12 months.

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ok. could you find out the start dates of your tenancies? It will be on the tenancy agreement. It is important as we need to know if your deposit should have been protected in a deposit protection scheme or not.

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Ok the first 6 month contract was from 13th October 2006 - then I had a 12 month contract from April 2007. I don't think I signed a new agreement after that.

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So from 13 April 2007?

 

If so your deposit should have been protected and this means that you can submit any dispute about how much they take from it to a deposit protection scheme. They will then determine how much you get back.

 

Your tenancy agreement should say which one you are part of, of not you might need to contact them and ask.

 

See here for more info

Tenancy Deposit : Directgov

 

How good these schemes are is a source of debate - landlord forums think they are bias towards consumers and consumer forums seem to think they are bias the other way. On balance they are probably spot on - this is generally the test of good ADR - both sides think they are bias...

 

Anyway...

 

If your deposit was not registered with any of them then not only will you get your deposit back, but you could get three times your deposit back.

 

Assuming your deposit is protected, from what you have said my instinct is that you might lose some of your deposit, but not all. Maybe a hundred quid or so. This does depend on what the landlord can prove though - he has to prove that he is entitled to deduct anything from the deposit.

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Could somebody please clarify that my deposit should be protected even though I paid it before the date that law came into force, as I signed the renewal contract AFTER 6th April 2007?

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yep

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Are you absolutely SURE? I've been looking at other threads and browsing the web and finding different answers - I'm confused! :confused: (Doesn't take much!)

 

The thing is, I don't remember ever being notified of my deposit being held in a protection scheme, and I want to be absolutely SURE before I use this in my next email. Do you have a link to the exact legislation? Thanks!

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if you agreed a new tenancy after april 7 april 07 then yes, it should have been protected.

 

Anything in your TA?

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Unfortunately I can only find the original agreement and not the second one I signed - I'm still trying to work out where things are after the move! (It's not in the normal important stuff box but I'll keep looking!)

 

I don't remember it being in the agreement though - and I'm the sort to read everything pretty thoroughly before I sign it and would remember that!

 

Was just wondering if you had a link to the exact legislation (I couldn't find anyting on the directgov site about the date the deposit is actually PAID versus when the contract is renewed).

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I think on a rolling contract, the deposit does not need to be secured if the original contract and deposit were prior to apr 07. This from a government website:

 

"The legislation will only apply to new deposits paid for ASTs entered into on or after 6 April 2007. Any deposit paid before this date will not need to be safeguarded by a tenancy deposit scheme."

 

Maybe the CAB can help clarify this.

 

I am always quite astounded as I read this forum as to why tenants do not insist on an independent Inventory which the LL pays for at commence of tenancy and the tenant pays for on exit. It would save so much hassle and stop LLs ripping off the tenants unreasonably.

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what the op is describing here is not a rolling contract (stat periodic tenancy) but a new AST agreed on or around the 13 April 07. This is the tenancy agreement that needs finding.

 

Or, ring the schemes and ask them.

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I've looked EVERYWHERE and can't find the second agreement I signed, just the original one :mad:

Strangely enough, the original agreement SAYS it is a 6 month agreement, but the dates on it are October 14th 2006 - MARCH 13TH 2007! That's 5 months!

 

I replied to the email from the letting agent on Monday and commented on each of the attached photos.

 

One photo was of the window in the upstairs spare room which was the only one not replaced by UPVC double glazing and the wooden frame was rotting - it can be seen clearly in the photo that it is the same on the OUTSIDE ledge which I had no access to as the window only opened at the top and it was an upstairs window! (The photo also shows a very clean shiny window sill!)

 

Two of the photos were close-ups of the two different shelves in the ONE cupboard that was missed (needing nothing more than a wipe with a damp cloth).

 

There was a photo of another windowsill - the paintwork was slightly scratched but it also shows it's clean in the photo.

 

The other photo was the same one attached twice which I don't believe is even from my flat - I asked in the email if they can point out to me exactly WHERE it was taken!

 

I also asked in the email if they could tell me why the oversight of ONE cupboard warrants a deep clean of the whole property, which I left in a cleaner state to how it was when I moved in.

 

Nearly a week later and I am yet to receive a reply - would it be worth me emailing again to push them a bit? Is their silence a good thing or a bad thing? (The email I received from them with the photos said "I await your comments on these photos" - I obliged with that!)

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I think you need to call the tds schemes to fond out if your deposit was actually protected. Although there might have been no need to do so, they may have done so anyway. If it was protected then you can submit a dispute to them.

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I'm pretty sure it ISN'T protected.

 

I'm having all these visions of the letting agent going round the flat with bags full of cat hair and dirt and chucking it around to get some more photos........

 

I'm guessing it must count in my favour that they did inspections every 3 months and no issues were ever raised? The man who did the inspections even commented on several occasions how he liked inspecting my place as it was always clean with no problems, and that you wouldn't be able to tell I even HAD cats if they didn't follow him round when he was looking in all the rooms!

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Just assume that it should have been if you are sure of the dates and ask the LL/agent for details of the tds scheme the deposit is with as AST was signed on 13th April 2007 and became law on 7th. see what they say. dont ask for a copy yet see if they confirm the dates.

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