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Hi

 

Hoping i can get some advice on this as its quite distressing for my wife. Apologies in advance for the length but it might help to give the full picture.

 

We rented an unfurnished property in Jan 2011, paying £1200pcm and £1200 security. The property was owned by an elderly couple (70s), and managed by a local agent. The couple assured us they weren't going to sell for at least 3 years. We signed up and had paid 6 mths rent in advance every 6 mths. We never received an Inventory on check-in. However one was presented to us after 1 year inspection, i didn't sign it as it wasn't something i'd seen before. The inventory has no notice of outside spaces condition.

 

From the off, the property was on the market for sale. The owners were very awkward about numerous things, for example they didn't change addresses and so i had to sort mail and leave theirs in the porch for weekly collection. This was an opportunity for them to snoop, in the end i had to get blinds for the front lounge and porch.

 

We were served section 21 notice on the third 6mth AST, but were told that we could revert to a month-to-month after it expired if they had not got a buyer in place as they needed the income. We accepted that in good faith, paid again, and then were told no it will be enforced. All of this is verbal via the agent. In addition, the owners wanted to provide a gardener for the external spaces, i guess they wanted it to be mint for the viewings. We agreed and i have texts to prove ccommunication about gardener access.

 

The owners claim they have the house on a bridging loan to pay for their new house (i know, crazy). They claim unless they can sell by end of 2012 they may be repossessed. On top of that i accidentally opened a mail to them (window envelope, not clear who it was for) - they have a company with 50k+ debt being wound up.

 

Our troubles really started when we we left. I was concerned about getting the deposit back as they acted very weird, were not proper landlords, had massive debt issues, and had acted unreasonably about a number of issues (haranguing my wife on the doorstep because a sales viewing had to be rearranged when we didn't get the message - long weekend break. One of numerous things). So i arranged for a week overlap - starting a new tenancy on the 20th Aug, ending old one on the 25th Aug when i handed over keys. This was to give a week for us to thoroughly clean the house, including hiring a chemical carpet cleaner so the carpets were beyond any reproach. The house was in better condition than received.

 

On the Saturday 25th Aug when i handed in keys, i had arranged to meet the agent and go through the property and agree the condition as i had real concerns the owners would make a grab for my deposit. The agent couldn't make it but i dropped of keys to their office and had a signed letter acknowledging handing over the keys. I rearranged for Tues to meet the agents and go through the property, agree the condition, and take photos. This took place but the owners turned up midway through and were so belligerent about perceived problems (such as smudges on windows or dust behind a unit), the agent suggested i leave and discuss with me later.

 

I did so, and wrote an email to the agent (one of several which went unanswered but were acknowledged by phone). I asked for the opportunity to come back and take photographs of condition before any works were carried out, of any disputed issues, so i had evidence. As the house was unoccupied and on the market for sale, i asked for the opportunity to examine any quotes and if something was reasonable, to seek alternative quotes, as there was no urgency.

 

To cut a long story short - the owners haven't even submitted a claim for the security deposit yet as they are chasing down invoices. But they have done a lot of work including £600 odd for gardening (actually re landscaping by appearances), total claim of just under £1000. Really folks this house was left in great condition and verbally the agent agreed it was all fair wear and tear if anything. Yet now they are going to support the owners claim, i think because they want the sales instruction.

 

Its now 25th Sept and a claim has not even been put in yet. Its with the DPS, and i guess after a month or so it will be referred to their arbitration scheme.

 

I have no proof of the condition of the house as i left it as thats what the agent visit was for. I paid for a big overlap of tenancies so my wife and i could make the house immaculate, yet there is now no proof of this. I think the owners are compromised in any case due to their debts, but is this relevent. Add to the fact they are claiming for things (like the garden) which they verbally agreed to take on themselves, but are now saying they didn't. there's nothing in writing and although i have texts it doesn't explicitly say there was an agreement about the garden. On top of that i never signed the inventory, and the inventory never noted condition of the garden prior to moving in. Basically - i think they are making me pay for stuff they perceive will help the house sell - i am expected to pay so they can have the house in showhome condition.

 

Where do i stand here? Is there anything that stands out?

 

In any case, its already caused hassle as we had to borrow for our next deposit, and we probably won't see this old deposit returned for several months yet (if at all), so we had to cancel Christmas holiday plans due to the uncertainty.

 

Anyway sorry for the boring story, hope someone can help.

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Hi

  • I never received anything from the agent regarding the deposit protection, so thought the agent held it during the tenancy.
  • After the tenancy, I asked for a copy of the certificate and deposit number when i moved out, they had nothing on file, but gave me the DPS tel number.
  • When i rang them the DPS emailed me the account number and my code, it was registered correctly at the signup of the tenancy.
  • I don't know why the agent / DPS never sent me anything about the deposit.
  • The agent told me that i should wait for the DPS to get back to me as the deposit was going to be in dispute and would automatically go to an arbitration service.
  • A few days ago, i read the DPS website and realised i should request the deposit back, so i did that online.
  • The DPS have confirmed on the phone that they have received no communication as yet from the agent about the owner claiming against my deposit.

Hope this helps.

Regards

A

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Yes it does..

Now that you have requested the deposit back, you have to wait... Can't remember how long now...

If the LL does not respond then you make a single claim...... If the LL does not respond within a certain time frame you then get the deposit back.

 

Nothing goes into automatic arbitration until both parties agree to that.

 

Be careful phoning DPS they are a premium rate number...

I am not a solicitor :!::!:

 

Most of my knowledge came from this site :-D:-D

 

If I have been helpful in any way at all .............. Please click my star..... :-(:-(

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Comprehensive OP but would benefit from bullet point timeline. eg

 

Date 1st AST commenced, duration od fixed term, frequency rent payable/paid

 

Ditto for 2nd & 3rd ASTs signed

 

Date s21 served

 

Date Gardener started

 

Date Ts vacated, & whether NTQ served/expired

 

Lack of Ts signature on Inventory is not required. If there is a dispute, adj will compare start & finish inspection.

What did ASTs say about resp for garden maint?

If s21 was served before the new 3rd AST was agreed, it is prob invalid. Def if Ts not provided with 'reqd info' on deposit by 5 May.

 

Due to changes in LL&T Law introduced by the Localism Act 5 Apr 2012, we need to know the exact dates requested above to offer good advice.

Also T should put deposit 'in dispute' asap and make sure DPS has his current contact details, otherwise LL could use the single claim process.

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Can't believe i just wrote this for 30 mins and it expired and i lost it - ah well start again. Lesson learned.

 

1st AST - 25th Jan 2012

2nd AST - 25th June 2012

 

3rd AST - top of page in print was 'This agreement is made on the 31st day of January 2012'. However in section1.6 Term: 'The term shall be from and including the 26/01/2012 to and including 25/07/2012'. The Section 21 was handed to me on the day of signing (31st), but i S21 notice was signed on the 25/01/2012, for vacation on or before 25/07/2012. There are no other dates on the S21.

 

We were granted an extra month at the property (paid in advance) from 25th July to 25th August, as we couldn't secure a another tenancy, twice securing it until landlords had second thoughts about us having a dog. Eventually we moved out on the 20th Aug, giving us 5 days to clean, handing over keys on 25th Aug.

 

The garden. The gardener came on a dozen occasions from Feb to around June 2012. The AST explicitly says its my responsibility to maintain the gardens in a neat and tidy state etc. I regret not getting anything in writing from the agent but it was my understanding that the owners wanted to sort external spaces as they wanted it shown in its best light for selling purposes, so they were prepared to pay for a gardener. I take this as them cancelling my obligations under the AST. This was passed over to me verbally from the agent. They've acknowledged this verbally in recent months but i cannot get them to put anything in an email confirming it. In any case the garden was fine, they have now basically turned it into a show-garden at my expense.

 

Thanks for replies so far.

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