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12breadrolls

Help appreciated re deposit being withheld

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Hello

 

I moved out from my rented property 2 weeks ago today. The estate agent came around on the day of the move and said that all was in order and that I will get my deposit back. However, the landlord then came to do an inspection as he was over on a visit from Dubai (where he lives and works at the moment) and has said that he will not authorise release of my deposit due to things he thinks should be rectified ie small marks on walls/carpets ie wear and tear.

 

When I moved in, there were LOADS of marks on the walls and carpets and I documented the major ones in the inventory. Also on the day I moved in, I had to move OUT lots of rubbish/rotten food left behind by the owners (landlord and his family) before I could move in. The estate agent who came on the day of my moving in acknowledged that the place was disgustingly dirty and she had even had to hoover mountains of rabbit hair out of the rooms before she could even show the property to prospective tenants.

 

The estate agents told me that the LL was contesting my deposit and was told to leave it 2 weeks to find out what his issues were and how much he wanted. I've done that and the LL still hasn't said to the estate agent what he wants from my deposit. The estate agent has asked me to leave it another 5 days and then say that my whole deposit is in dispute (it's held by the TDS). However, how long do I have to keep leaving it? I have never had any problems getting my deposit back from rented property and the house was far cleaner when I left than when I moved in. The estate agent thinks the LL is going for betterment, which I know is illegal. Also, the property has now been taken over by a family of 6 (4 kids) so there will already no doubt be extra marks on the carpets and walls since I moved out.

 

What can I do to get my money back? £725 of mine is being held and i want it back. The LL is in Dubai and not responding to emails from the estate agent asking how much he is wanting out of my deposit. I really need the money and the whole issue is getting to me now.

 

Sorry for the long post and I'd really appreciate any advice you can offer.

 

Karen

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You don't mention proper checkin inventory signed by you? nor does the agent's cursory inspection amount to a check out.

 

Contact TDS and ask them what is going on - they are very helpful. Do not wait around.

 

Tell the agent that you will resist ALL attempts to retain ANY of the deposit and if necessary will take it to court/arbitration. Judges/arbitrators really don't like landlords who act in this way.


Kentish Lass

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

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I was given an inventory when I moved in, which I amended with the major marks and carpet damage, signed and handed back to the estate agent within a couple of days of me moving in. Does this constitute a proper check-in inventory?

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hello, sorry to bump this but i really would appreciate advice on what i do next. The landlord hasn't contacted the estate agent to say exactly how much money he wants to fix the problems he has dreamt up - does he have a certain amount of days to respond? Can I write a letter to the agent citing 'legally, he must respond within x days or I get all my deposit back'??

 

Thanks

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Did you contact TDS? What did they say?

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No, i realised that my deposit is with the DPS, not the TDS. I looked on the DPS website and it says that me and the landlord have to fill in a joint form stating the dispute and then they will go from there with the ADS service (I think that's what it's called, its their adjudication service). However, if the landlord isn't responding about the amount he wants to dispute, I don't see him filling in the required forms for the adjudication..

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Ok so it's DPS then - call them!! You won't be the first and there'll be a "process". Let us know what they say.

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My guess is that the agent protected this deposit and not the LL.

 

You can go into the DPS site and instigate the return of your deposit yourself.

 

There is something called the single claim route, which I use if tenants do a bunk without informing us.

I've never known this to be used by a tenant but I'm sure it could be in this case.

 

Firstly find out who deposited your bond, agent or LL.

Call the DPS or go online and instigate a repayment.

Check out the single claim route with the DPS and see if it can be used the other way around, i.e. by the tenant.

 

Be interesting to see what they say.

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Update and further info needed please. I went on the DPS website to request return of my deposit. As the agent protected the deposit, they denied return (via DPS) of said deposit. LL has now said he wants to withold £380 of my deposit for things that the agent classes as 'wear and tear' and they have admitted this to me (unfortunately not in writing). The LL also wants to claim for a new lawn mower, even though this is not on the inventory - is this allowed? I mowed the lawn the day I moved out and it worked then. However, I'm tempted to say I never used their lawnmower but that my dad came and mowed the lawn just so they can't lay the blame on me because I definitely didn't break it!

 

The LL is also claiming for a gardener to come in and put the garden back as was. As was is overgrown! The house was up for rent for months before I moved in so it had long grass and loads of junk in the garden - the estate agent has photographs she took when I moved in to prove this. So..can the LL claim for gardening to be done? And can I legally request all photographs that the agent took for my own use?

 

The agent said that they would try to mediate initially but then it would go to the DPSs arbitration service if we could not reach an amicable agreement. Am I better off going direct to the free arbitration service provided by DPS?

 

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Hi 12,

Gosh you are in a pickle aren't you.

 

I can't make out whether you've instigated the return of your deposit or not so could you please clarify this.

You say the agent deposited it?? Regardless of who deposited it you should have had written confirmation of this within 14 days of you giving it to them so go to the agent and tell them that you didn't receive this and of course unless ALL your deposit is refunded directly you will take action against them / LL to reclaim 3x the dposit for not correctly instructing you as to it's whereabouts.

 

I don't understand this statement below!! Could you explain it please.

 

"As the agent protected the deposit, they denied return (via DPS) of said deposit"

With regard to the Lawnmower, I wouldn't even enter into this, it wasn't on the inventory to start so regardless of it's condition now there's no proof that there was one left there when you moved in so how can they request a new one?

 

I'm unaware of your agents practice but when we take photographs of properties for check in then the tenant gets a copy of them also on a disc. If the agent has them then request they email them to you. Why shouldn't they? If they refuse just say "ok no worries, I will give all your information to the arbitration service and they can request these from you directly"

If/When you put your case together for arbitration you can put in there that the agent has got photos but has refused to pass them onto you to support your case.

 

And finally, if the answer to the above ? is yes, you HAVE instigated the return of your bond already with the DPS then you have no need to deal with the agents any further and their offer of mediation is a useless one as the process has already started.

If however you HAVEN'T started this then forget the agent and just do it! You're just wasting time batting this back and forth, let the ADR sort it out. Chances are you will win this anyway because remember that it's down to the Landlrod to prove that you have not looked after a property or indeed left it in an undesirable condition, how is this possible if they haven't got a good enough inventory or photos that back up this argument?

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thanks for responding, Just4Let. When I say that the agent protected my deposit, I mean that when I paid my deposit they lodged it with the DPS and sent me all the relevant info so they have operated all above board so far. I'm still waiting for the letter from them (the agent) with the exact details of what the landlord wants to withhold the money for as they have only told me verbally so far. I hope to get the letter today and once I have it, I'll start the dispute via DPS and avoid the agents offer of a mediation service because it's pointless really isn't it? Even if they SAY they think the landlord is a nutter and I've been a perfect tenant, it's the LL paying their wages at the end of the day....:mad:

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This could drag on if you wait for the Letter from the Landlord.

I'd instigate the FULL return of the deposit straight away.

Yup, don't bother with mediation, it won't amount to much.

 

Landlords pay for their service (it's not wages, apologies bug bear of mine)

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I've instigated the full return, the DPS sent me an email saying it has been declined. I then got another email saying that the LL wants to withhold £380 and do I accept or decline this. Of course I've declined. So now I've mailed the DPS, asked for a copy of their JDR form (both me and the LL have to fill this form in pre using their ADR service) so I can start the process.

 

Apols for the wages comment - it's just what the agent keeps telling me...'we work for him, he pays our wages etc etc'. I know you're not all the same, thank goodness

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Hi, this is probably a long shot but it's sounding really similar to my case - what's the initials of your landlord, and where was your house??

Thanks!

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Hi Lia - I doubt it's the same LL - his initials are JK and the property is in W Yorks. It was his own house before he went to work in Dubai which is why is he thinks I'm going to completely redecorate it for him with my deposit. He will have a shock after his new tenants move out - they are a couple with 4 kids!

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Oh, not the same. Worth a shot though, need all the evidence against my w*nker landlord I can get!

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Keep up the hard work 12 - I've just won against my LL via the DPS ADR process and although it was hard work and took nearly 4 months until I got a full refund of the deposit back it was worth the victory!!

 

If you need any more advice - let me know & I'll try help you.

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