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Kanine99

Reference Fee + Deposit issues!

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Hi there I can see a lot of people have the same problem with letting agents trying to con people out of as much cash as possible but I was wondering if anyone could help with my situation. It's in two parts:

 

We moved into this property in June 2008 and stayed there for one year and moved out on the 29th June 2009, after cleaning the new property and handing back the keys.

 

1) I requested a reference from them to move in to a new place which the new letting agents were very understanding and helpful about as they were left waiting. Eventually we moved in without it as the agent and new landlord were satisfied we were of good nature and said the continued delays for the reference was ridiculous and they don't need it anymore as we've already moved in! The old letting agents are refusing to return the fee paid (£35!) as they claim it's already been sent but the new letting agents STILL haven't recieved it. And when we finally demanded to see this reference if they wont pay us back, they handed us a three sentence note which the new letting agent said didn't qualify as a reference as it had no actual detailed information.

 

2) It's now the 18th July, 20 days since we moved out and we are yet to recieve our deposit back. The old agents (during one of the later calls we made to them trying to sort this reference thing out) mentioned they were deducting monies from the deposit and they still didn't have to return it. When I asked what deductions she was talking about, she mentioned a damage in the bathroom (which one of their own decorators did in the final days of our tenancy when he was freshing up the paintwork) dusty/dirty blinds and curtains and other "wear and tear" issues. What are the actual rights of the tenants and what condition is considered wear and tear as I think they are trying to squeeze as much money out of us as possible.

 

SORRY for the long message, but any info and help/advice would be appreciated as I'm not happy with this agents lack of professionalism and blatant rip-off work ethic.

 

Cheers!

Keiichi

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Hi Keiichi,

 

I'm not an expert but believe if you paid the deposit in June 08 then the deposit should have been protected by a tenancy deposit scheme (in England and Wales).

 

See this link Tenancy Deposit : Directgov and this post http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/residential-commercial-lettings/117280-tenancy-deposit-scheme.html

 

That first link also gives advice regarding resolving disputes and when you get your deposit paid back. According to that site it is 10 days!

 

If it is protected then I undertand a 3rd party should be dealing with the dispute, not the landlord. If it is not protected I think you can apply to the court to have 3x the deposit paid back!

 

The 1st link gives the information and the 2nd template letters to use to write to them.

 

Regarding the reference letter. I'd argue with them that their fee should reflect costs they reasonably incurred for writing the letter, £35 seems a tad high. Could write and ask them for details of costs they incurred writing the reference?

 

Hope that helps.

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Hey thanks a lot!

 

Yeah when we first signed the contract back in June 08 for the previous house they told us about the scheme, so I know we are protected.

 

I've tried to enquire AGAIN about it and they said the same thing, "we are still trying to work out how much all the deductions are going to come off your deposit".

 

Just like the delayed reference, I think they're just stalling. Is there no way I can force them to hurry along? If I wrote to them, that may help right? Also, how can they hold on to it for so long!? We moved on June 29th!

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Send them a letter with saying that unless they return the deposit in full within seven days you will instigate legal proceedings without further notice. Send it special delivery

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You need to lodge a dispute with the TDS agency, they have to return deposit, less any disputed amount in 10days. Disputed amount goes through procedures run by the tds scheme.

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so we went in again to ask why they takin so long and they said the full list of damages will be sent out friday. they also said we would be lucky to get any of the deposit back and that they may even try and get more off us!! i cant believe them. damages they want to charge us foe include getting a new oven, cleaning all the windows and damage to a bathroom tile which was caused by their decorator when he was repainting the bathroom!! how much of this can they get away wit???

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None of it, but going to see them face-to-face instead of writing is not helping matters.

 

You need to start writing letters as previously advised and getting things in writing, do not deal with them face to face.

 

The deposit BY LAW should have been registered with a Tenancy Dispute Service (check directgov link previously posted to be sure it applies, i.e. England and Wales and annual rent over a certain amount).

 

Did you receive confirmation within the 14 days following paying your deposit?

 

If yes, ask if they have passed your deposit to the Alternative Dispute Service for holding until the dispute is resolved as they are REQUIRED TO DO.

 

Plus tell them (don't ask) that disputes must be resolved by the Alternative Dispute Service, NOT THEM and that you will not engage in any dialogue with them on the matter, you will deal with the ADR service as should be done.

 

If they did not send confirmation within 14 days following paying your deposit write in your letter that they have broken the law and if they do not refund your deposit in full within 7 days you will apply to the courts and advise them they will be instructd by the courts to pay 3 x the deposit.

 

Keep it short, sweet and to the letter of the law. Do not engage in discussions regarding dispute with them, no matter what they write back.

 

Do not engage them face-to-face or by telephone, get everything in writing. You need correspondence in writing to support your case.

 

Most importantly you must follow through. If they have not protected your deposit they will be made to pay 3 x the deposit, simple as.

 

Have you read the directgov link? It explains everything there.

 

Suggest writing something along the lines of below:

The premises were left clean and in good repair when the tenancy ended, you are therefore required to return my deposit of £xxx.

 

As the deposit was paid after 6th April 2007, the landlord or letting agent is legally required to ensure the deposit is protected by a deposit protection scheme.

 

You the agent or the landlord were also legally required to supply me, within 14 days of receiving the deposit, confirmation that the deposit was protected and further additional details including contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme, landlord or agent contact details, how to apply for release of the deposit, information explaining purpose of the deposit and what to do if there is a dispute.

The law also requires that at the end of the tenancy the deposit should be returned within 10 days. If there is a dispute the deposit must be handed over to the scheme for safekeeping until the dispute is resolved by the scheme, please confirm that you have done this.

I would like to advise you that if you have failed to protect the deposit then the courts can order you to pay 3 x the deposit.

Please reply within 7 days of the date of this letter with the following:

-Confirmation that my deposit is held with a deposit protection scheme

-Confirmation of the type of scheme, scheme administrator and procedure for dispute resolution

-Confirmation that you have passed my deposit to the scheme for safekeeping until the dispute is resolved.

Failure to provide this information or a response that there has been a failure to comply will result in application to the courts for an order to pay 3 x the deposit on the basis of the failure to comply with the requirements of the tenancy deposit scheme.

I look forward to your prompt response.

 

Send it Special Delivery and do not engage in discussion regarding the issues they are disputing, this is for the ADR service, NOT them. Do not be tempted to respond to or justify any of the damages they claim you are responsible for. This is for the ADR to resolve.

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Thanks a lot. I'm not sure where to start with this, they have said they are sending the full list of damages and deductions on Friday (reviece on Monday) so maybe I should wait to see what they finally decided before writing them the letter??

 

Also, I'm looking over the original contract and theres little mention of any or which "deposit scheme" its protected under, only mentions Housing Act 2004 and names the Letting Agent themselves as the Deposit holders? It also says any disputes should be forwarded to mydeposits.co.uk and they'll mediate?

 

I'm also pretty sure that they did mention the protection of the deposit when we first signed the contract but they were also meant to send confirmation of this protection within 14 days, right? Not just the information that was on the contract, i.e deposit holders name/contact details.

 

Relly appreciate your help guys so far btw! It's been great advice.

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You can check if its actually registered with Mydeposits on their website.

My deposits is an insurance backed sheme with the lanlord/agent actually still holding ( ie getting interest or using the money for something else ).

If a dispute is registered and I would do this straight away with MD, the landlord/agent has to give the money within 10 days to MD. and they hold it from then on until the despute is resolved, the scheme then guarantees that you will get any monies due even if the LL/agent do not hand over the money. You also can take the LL/agent to court for the return of the monies if they dont accept TDS resolution process. It is all in your favour.

Check with MD first, lodge dispute then write a letter.

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Ok so I'm still waiting for the deposit protection certificate to be sent to me as it wan't sent to us originally. Should I write to the LA requensting some info about the deposit as we are now over one calendar month after our move and still no news. Or should I wait to get the dpc so I can ofiicially claim a dispute?:confused:

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No, you shouldn't wait. If you haven't got your certificate now its already far too late. You've been given advice several timers now and you keep ignoring it. All you're doing is demonstrating to the landlord that you don't know what you're doing and that it will be very easy for them to keep your deposit. You need to start making things a little more awkward for them.

 

Send the letter below by special delivery

 

Kanine99's Address 1

Kanine99's Address 2

Kanine99's Address 3

Kanine99's Address 4

 

 

 

Date

 

 

Landlord's name

 

Landlord's Address 1

Landlord's Address 2

Landlord's Address 3

Landlord's Address 4

 

 

Letter Before Action

 

Dear Sir

 

On 29th July 2009 I moved out of the property at . Despite repeated request via , you have still not returned my deposit. If you do not send me the deposit in full within 7 days of this letter I will instigate legal proceedings without further notice.

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

 

 

Kanine99

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You don't mention whether a proper checkin inventory, which you agreed and signed, was done when you took on the tenancy. If not, they will be unable to deduct anything from the deposit since they will not be able to prove that the condition of the property at the end of the tenancy was any different from the condition of the property at the beginning of the tenancy.

 

Follow the instructions you have been given by other posters here. Don't wait for any rubbish list but get on and show this LL and LA that you mean business and will not be bullied.


Kentish Lass

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

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Thanks again, and it's not that I'm not ignoring the advice, I tried to see if I could file a dispute and was told I needed this Deposit Protection Certificate to do it? I just thought, if I'm going to possibly file a dispute I wanted to make sure to have it before sending the letter and making it all official.

 

Oh anyway, hows this for the letter, I'll send a.s.a.p:

 

 

 

Letter Before Action

Dear Sir

 

On 29th June 2009, I, Mr. Kanine99, along with Mr. 01 and Mr.02, moved out of the property at XXX in good, clean condition as inspected by an agent from L.A. It is now over one calendar month since the move and despite repeated requests via L.A., you have still not returned our deposit of £XXX. If you do not send the deposit in full within 7 days of this letter I will instigate legal proceedings without further notice.

 

The law also requires that at the end of the tenancy the deposit should be returned within 10 days. If there is a dispute the deposit must be handed over to the Alternative Dispute Service for safekeeping until the dispute is resolved by the scheme, not you, please confirm that you have done this.

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

 

Kanine99

 

:???:

 

And they did do an inventory at the start of the tenancy but it was all marked as "good condition" so I hardly think we left ANYTHING that was in anything less than good. Would it be worth saying that anything stated as "good" is.. well just that, "good", not "excellent" or "brand new" condition? So how can they say we left it in such a terrible state... oh and on the way out they didn't bring an inventory to do the check so we let them use our original moving-on one, which they took away with them!

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I'm not sure what you mean by you let them use your original one. Is there a checking out inventory but it's a copy of the checking in inventory? Or did the agent take your copy of the checking in inventory away when they checked the property at the end of the tenancy? Was/were the inventory/ies signed by anyone and if so who?

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Ok so now that be letter has been sent, what are the actual possible outcomes/reactions? I mean, if they get back to me with full deposit thats a result bt for example...

 

1) If they refuse to return the deposit in full bt deductions are fair?

 

2) If they reply with unreasonible amount of deposit and i want to dispute?

 

3) If they reply and say they are fightin and want to take further, i.e court?

 

4) Dont reply at all/ within 7 days given?

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It depends. Is there a checking out inventory and if there is did you sign it?

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Basically, we gave the agent who checked the property on the way out the copy of the check-IN inventory we had in our file. During the check-in check, we looked over the basic condition of the place which was all stated as "good" and so we signed it.

 

Now, on the way out, they came to inspect without an inventory so we said we still has our original check-in inventory so let him use that to look over the condition of the place, which he said was also all good except the oven which needed a proper clean quoted as £60, which we agreed to pay.

 

So they took our original check-in inventory which also had our signatures as we signed it on the way in, but we never signed anything on the way out. If they try to use that original inventory as proof of signing out, it'll be false as the third tenant was actually already vacated 2 weeks beforehand and was not present at the check out day, so his signature on the inventory shows it was the check-in one and no check-out inventory was given or signed.

 

Makes sense????

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Ok so still nothin since postin letter last week askin for full deposit back within 7 days. Should i file the legal forms as its nt goin anywhere...?

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Got a letter from them today regarding how much they are deducting for damages.

 

The original deposit was £1300.00, and they are deducting £1311.00, so they are now demanding we pay them the "outstanding balance".

 

The list of damages include cleaning the oven £75.00 (originally quoted as £60), a damage to the downstairs toilet (which was actually caused by their workman when repainting the toilet) and damp in the downstairs cloakroom which amounted to about £650?

 

Basically they saying we owe them the monies.

 

I'm obviously going to dispute this as its ridiculous. Do I need to reply to them with a letter or do I just fill in a form for processing?

 

Thanks again guys!

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So have you actually confirmed with the TDS that your deposit is protected?

On mydeposits' website, it was registered as protected, yes. Do I need to let a ceartain body know, now that we officially have a dispute with the deductions? And is there any thing else I should do before pursuing this in court??

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My deposits is an insurance backed scheme, so you lodge a dispute with them and the LL should now handover the disputed amount to them until resolved. You should now lodge a dispute with them and copy all correspondance to the dispute resolution team. if LL does not handover amount or does not abide by resolution the scheme will pay you out either from the amount handed over or from the insurance scheme then they will persue LL for monies. so you should get your money. You also have the option to go to court; but they will take a dim view if you have not let the deposit scheme try to resolve it first. thats why it was set up!

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I tried to lodge a dispute with them before but they were askin for the deposit protection certificate number to do it? which we never recieved so i wrote to them requestin a copy... (see previous post)

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Any more help pls?

 

I cant seem to be able to lodge my dispute on mydeposit witout the dpc number but we never recieved one. I wrote to mydeposit requestin a copy of it but theyve yet to send anythin to us,.. is this the only way i can dispute and if so, shouldnt i have recieved a copy of the dpc??

 

One other thing. One of the so-called damages caused was due to their bath/shower not been properly sealed where a glass sqiveling guard meets the bath rim, so everytime the shower was used, it leaked under the bath and down to the ground floor room. How can we be blamed for somethin that we obviously have no control over such as water leakin through the shower? Theyve since had the guard perminantly sealed to the bath now so it cant be moved.

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Simple now, just write a letter before action to LL/Agent sating if you dont get deposit back within 7 days you will take them to court, copy to MD.

Start proceedings now get forms etc.

Have you disputed claims in writng to LL.

Must do everything by email or post.

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