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Advice/help needed to battle against greedy landlord for full £2000 deposit claim


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Hi everyone,

Having moved out of my current flat end of July, we are in dispute with our landlord regarding the deposit claim. Here I summarized all relevant information. I would appreciate your advice/help/suggestion from your experience/knowledge etc.

We got on well with our landlord in 3.5 years but the last check-out proved that to be wrong – he claimed the problem in kitchen/bathroom/floor, in total cost of refurbishing/replacing cost more than £4000. Clearly he wanted to rip me off, or recover certain amount of money for his redecoration.

More irritatingly, he threatened me to accept £1000 within the two days after we moved out, or he has the rights to claim the full £2000. (I offered him £400, being the damage of bedroom wall – a 10cm hole; flooring and bath room work if necessary). When we moved out, we spent £150 end of tenancy professional cleaning to return the flat. When we moved in, there was no professional cleaning done. Neither move-in/out day has the inventory lists or photos were taken.

We disputed the amount to be undertaken by ADR process. He proposed full £2000 that is been rejected by me as I don’t want to risk entire deposit. Then I proposed £800 to be returned and £1200 to go through ADR that is also rejected by him.

Possible solution: thinking of going to the Small Claim Court unless someone has better ideas?

Summary Info

Tenancy period: 3.5 years (Feb/07 – Jul/10)

Location: 2 bed/2 bath flat @ SE London

Rent: £1200 per month (haven’t increased for 3.5 years)

Deposit in total: £2000

Deposit put into DPS: November 2007

Landlord bought the flat in 2000 and lived there till when we moved in

Main issue: Kitchen

Overall there was no complaint until 1st June 2010 when the landlord wrote an email regarding the untidiness of the kitchen (grease of the cupboard/hob/extractor). We admit that’s because we were away for 3 weeks in May 2010 for wedding/honeymoon and hence no time to deep clean the flat. End of tenancy did do a good job and get back to the best possible conditions – no grease but he still claims the white cupboard has turned into yellow colour.

Problems of the flat

The flat has its age (15 years) and has various issues (not associated with kitchen/floor/bath though). Two major hot water tank breakdown caused not only leakage to the floor below but also no hot water for shower for more than two weeks in June 2010 and July 2009. Kitchen lights/washing machine and one bath were also fixed over last 3.5years.

Suspicious Points/Conversation

In late 2007 the landlord discussed his idea of refurbishing the kitchen and changes it to open plan (rather than current dead circle room). But this was postponed without any reason. On the check-out day, he also outlined this plan again in future. He also mentioned my rent has not increased for 3.5 years and £1000 deduction seems reasonable.

Threatening/irritating conversation from the landlord

‘……I will keep my offer of £1000 open to the end of today. However, should you decide that this is not acceptable, I will pursue your deposit for the full £2000 which is quite within my right. The costs associated with the flooring, kitchen, and bathroom will easily surpass this figure…….’

‘……Quotation for kitchen and shower cubicle tiling alone (not including flooring, repair of wall in your room, loss of keys etc) is coming in at £1400 + £400. This is for the cheapest possible job using basic shower tiles and kitchen materials! I am now estimating total remedial costs to be:

£1400 Kitchen

£400 shower area

£700 flooring

£100 replacement keys

£200 fixing of bedroom wall area

‘……I really think I am being more than generous by not insisting on the full £2000 and I believe I am being extremely forgiving of the four years of neglect on your part for these issues……’

‘……forgot to also mention in my email below that there will be a cost associated with the removal and disposal of the wooden desk, chair, drawers etc that you decided to leave behind at the flat for me to deal with. At the time of this email, the cost of removal and disposal of these items will be somewhere between £50 and £100 depending on how much time it will take for two people to do this……’

My battling emails/solutions

1. We maintain reasonable care (as contractually obligated to) throughout the tenancy. If the conditions are not tolerable why would you extend my lease again and again for 3.5years

2. The flat itself has ageing issues

3. We employed professional cleaning company to do end of tenancy clean

4. Landlord’s costs analysis is ungrounded

5. Landlord’s tune is threatening towards tenants

6. Easiest way to resolve the issue is to put the property in market and see any prospective tenants willing to take the conditions we moved out

Thanks for reading all of them (if you are still awakeJ) and I appreciate your thoughts/ideas/suggestions.

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