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Landlord taking deposit dispute to County Court


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Hello,

 

Having moved out of a rented property, which I inhabited for 3 years 6 months, the deposit for which is £450, the letting agency acting on behalf of the landlord has wished to charge an estimated £1600 for replacement of four carpets, repainting of walls, a "deep clean", other assorted cleaning costs, and replacement of doors to 2 units. They look to be claiming full amounts for each of the replacement items with no allowance for depreciation after a 3 year 6 month tenancy.

 

The letting agency has thus far only provided rough estimates of the work needed, no receipts, however did try to claim my deposit via the DPS, to which I disagreed and asked for it to enter adjudication. The landlord in turn refused adjudication and is now wishing to proceed to County Court.

 

While there are strengths to the landlords argument and they do have what could be seen as compelling photographic evidence, they do not have a fully completed inventory or schedule of condition, just one which was never seen or signed by me. (A potentially irrelevant side note being, they had a cowboy employee who did not complete the paperwork properly at the time and who I believe was sacked for indiscrepencies in his paperwork/money going missing from rent, mine included.) They did complete a check out, although I was not there and do not have my own photographs.

 

It is my belief, that the landlord will attempt to claim I was the first tenant in a new build property and thus a signed schedule of condition is unneeded, however from letters we received to the property, the electoral role and the aforementioned cowboy employee, my belief is this could be inaccurate - although I'm not sure how much it matters.

 

I'm not afraid of county court action, the time it would take, nor the costs (I suspect that even if worst came to worst, any eventual cost would at the least not exceed the amounts the landlord is currently claiming) but wondered if those who know more, have opinion on the strength and weaknesses of my position?

Edited by MagnumBI
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Have you spoken to Shelter, they have a department that deals with this type of situation.

 

Other caggers who might be able to help will probably look in after their day jobs have ended :)

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Thanks citizenB. I will look into Shelter.

 

Something I feel I should add, is that examining the *unsigned* Schedule Of Condition/Inventory at move-in, two of the carpets which they are claiming for the replacement of (lounge and bedroom 1) are present but their condition has been left blank and the hallway carpet is not there at all. Only bedroom 2 has been listed with its condition at move in (marked good). There are several other items including walls I suspect they will claim for the repainting of and other minor items either missing or with no condition marked.

 

I dont want to get cocky (I'd probably even accept paying them an amount near the deposit amount), but this thing is not worth the paper its printed on, is it?

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That is for Judge/Adj to decide. LL will have to show deductions are reasonable and damage beyond reasonable wear & tear.

T sig not required so long as person taking the inventory has signed and dated it and LL can show copy was sent to T

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Thanks for your feedback. I'm don't believe the landlord will be able to prove the inventory was even sent to me, but regardless, I'll be writing back to my landlord today.

 

The crux of the matter is that my landlord seems to be of the opinion that because they have photos of the damaged carpet and white walls that need repainting, I (in their words) have no chance at court and that they'll win full cost of replacement carpets, repainting etc. They also seem to think that threat of big bad scary "court fees" will stop me disputing this.

 

Again, their evidence is probabaly good, it was a white carpet that we walked on for 3 and a half years and it is in a poor state. I accept I'll end up paying something but they're being so unreasonable in their costing that for now, I'm writing back to them with my concerns about their inventory, that they havent applied betterment and for an exact breakdown of their supposed costs.

 

I'll try and keep this thread updated as I know how irritating it is for people in a similair spot to find this in the future, only for the thread to run dry!

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White carpet appears a poor choice for a rental property! and after 3 and half years would need replacing anyway.

The LL must make due allowance for wear and tear, and not just the replacement cost.

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Hello All.

 

Today I've received a County Court Claim Form lodged by the Letting Agency for the amount £1122.60 plus £70 Court Fees.

 

My options are to within 14 days (or 28 if I wish to delay) either admit the full amount, admit part of the amount or admit nothing. Unfortunately, I am none the wiser as to what exactly makes up the £1122.60, so although I think itd be reasonable to admit part of the amount, I have nothing to really base that on.

 

If I were to write to the letting agency, are they under any obligation to provide me a full breakdown to assist my reponse? Further to that, are they under any obligation to provide me receipts at this point? Or is my best option to admit nothing and let it come out in court?

 

Thanks Richard.

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yes, they must give you details of how this figure was arrived at, so you or even a judge can assess if it is fair and you can then challenge the itemised costs.

They do not necessarily have to provide invoices or estimates, but that would help.

In your defence you can use that if they don't give you a breakdown of what it is for how can you defend or accept it.

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Without an accurate particulars of claim how can you agree to even part costs. Your defence should state that there is no information to respond to but the claim is denied in its entirety as the supposed damge alleged by the landlord/agent is fair wear and tear.

All of the expense the LL is going to is deductible from income so wouldnt reflect his true costs so you can also say theat the claim is further denied as "betterment"

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Yes, if you want copies of documents that are mentioned in the claim form, then you would use CPR 31.14. The link below will take you to a draft so that you can see how you need to word your request.

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?159445-Getting-Them-To-Reveal-Their-Vitals.-Using-CPR-31.14-to-Your-Advantage

 

It is in the first post of the thread linked above.

 

If there is something you want to know and it has not been mentioned in the claim form, then you will use CPR part 18. I have posted a draft below. You would need to ask for information in the form of a question - depending on their response, then you could then ask for sight of a document. If it is just information then their responses should be adequate.

 

Please note that the questions that are in the draft would not be suitable for your circumstances, so don't copy those :) If you let us know what you want then we can probably help you ask the questions.

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]45222[/ATTACH]

Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

Uploading documents to CAG ** Instructions **

 

Looking for a draft letter? Use the CAG Library

Dealing with Customer Service Departments? - read the CAG Guide first

 

1: Making a PPI claim ? - Q & A's and spreadsheets for single premium policy - HERE

2: Take back control of your finances - Debt Diaries

3: Feel Bullied by Creditors or Debt Collectors? Read Here

4: Staying Calm About Debt  Read Here

5: Forum rules - These have been updated - Please Read

 

 

BCOBS

 

2: Does your Bank play fair - You can force your Bank to play Fair with you

3: Banking Conduct of Business Regulations - The Hidden Rules

4: BCOBS and Unfair Treatment - Common Examples of Banks Behaving Badly

5: Fair Treatment for Credit Card Holders and Borrowers - COBS

 

Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

 

PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR THREAD THEN I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER ADVICE THERE:D

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Thank you for that. At the moment all I wish to know is exactly how the total amount has been arrived at and what it includes so that I can properly scrutinize it.

 

In previous correspondence, I'd been able to get copies of the incompleted Inventory and my tenancy agreement, so as far as I can think, thats all I'll need for now. I will use the CPR 31.14, that's very helpful.

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Hello,

 

Having moved out of a rented property, which I inhabited for 3 years 6 months, the deposit for which is £450, the letting agency acting on behalf of the landlord has wished to charge an estimated £1600 for replacement of four carpets, repainting of walls, a "deep clean", other assorted cleaning costs, and replacement of doors to 2 units. They look to be claiming full amounts for each of the replacement items with no allowance for depreciation after a 3 year 6 month tenancy.

 

The letting agency has thus far only provided rough estimates of the work needed, no receipts, however did try to claim my deposit via the DPS, to which I disagreed and asked for it to enter adjudication. The landlord in turn refused adjudication and is now wishing to proceed to County Court.

 

While there are strengths to the landlords argument and they do have what could be seen as compelling photographic evidence, they do not have a fully completed inventory or schedule of condition, just one which was never seen or signed by me. (A potentially irrelevant side note being, they had a cowboy employee who did not complete the paperwork properly at the time and who I believe was sacked for indiscrepencies in his paperwork/money going missing from rent, mine included.) They did complete a check out, although I was not there and do not have my own photographs.

 

It is my belief, that the landlord will attempt to claim I was the first tenant in a new build property and thus a signed schedule of condition is unneeded, however from letters we received to the property, the electoral role and the aforementioned cowboy employee, my belief is this could be inaccurate - although I'm not sure how much it matters.

 

I'm not afraid of county court action, the time it would take, nor the costs (I suspect that even if worst came to worst, any eventual cost would at the least not exceed the amounts the landlord is currently claiming) but wondered if those who know more, have opinion on the strength and weaknesses of my position?

 

Thanks citizenB. I will look into Shelter.

 

Something I feel I should add, is that examining the *unsigned* Schedule Of Condition/Inventory at move-in, two of the carpets which they are claiming for the replacement of (lounge and bedroom 1) are present but their condition has been left blank and the hallway carpet is not there at all. Only bedroom 2 has been listed with its condition at move in (marked good). There are several other items including walls I suspect they will claim for the repainting of and other minor items either missing or with no condition marked.

 

I dont want to get cocky (I'd probably even accept paying them an amount near the deposit amount), but this thing is not worth the paper its printed on, is it?

 

Thanks for your feedback. I'm don't believe the landlord will be able to prove the inventory was even sent to me, but regardless, I'll be writing back to my landlord today.

 

The crux of the matter is that my landlord seems to be of the opinion that because they have photos of the damaged carpet and white walls that need repainting, I (in their words) have no chance at court and that they'll win full cost of replacement carpets, repainting etc. They also seem to think that threat of big bad scary "court fees" will stop me disputing this.

 

Again, their evidence is probabaly good, it was a white carpet that we walked on for 3 and a half years and it is in a poor state. I accept I'll end up paying something but they're being so unreasonable in their costing that for now, I'm writing back to them with my concerns about their inventory, that they havent applied betterment and for an exact breakdown of their supposed costs.

 

I'll try and keep this thread updated as I know how irritating it is for people in a similair spot to find this in the future, only for the thread to run dry!

 

Hello All.

 

Today I've received a County Court Claim Form lodged by the Letting Agency for the amount £1122.60 plus £70 Court Fees.

 

My options are to within 14 days (or 28 if I wish to delay) either admit the full amount, admit part of the amount or admit nothing. Unfortunately, I am none the wiser as to what exactly makes up the £1122.60, so although I think itd be reasonable to admit part of the amount, I have nothing to really base that on.

 

If I were to write to the letting agency, are they under any obligation to provide me a full breakdown to assist my reponse? Further to that, are they under any obligation to provide me receipts at this point? Or is my best option to admit nothing and let it come out in court?

 

Thanks Richard.

 

Thank you for that. At the moment all I wish to know is exactly how the total amount has been arrived at and what it includes so that I can properly scrutinize it.

 

In previous correspondence, I'd been able to get copies of the incompleted Inventory and my tenancy agreement, so as far as I can think, thats all I'll need for now. I will use the CPR 31.14, that's very helpful.

 

Never understand why people have to use 2 different forums on same topic

 

 

For Reference http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4707395

Edited by 45002

Please use the quote system, So everyone will know what your referring too, thank you ...

 

 

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As I stated at the other place, as responses had been slow here until yesterday (but very helpful, thank you) I sought advice elsewhere too.

 

Sorry if any offence has been caused.

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As I stated at the other place, as responses had been slow here until yesterday (but very helpful, thank you) I sought advice elsewhere too.

 

Sorry if any offence has been caused.

 

From what you posted anyway,LL will Win and your end up with a large legal Bill to pay !

 

IMO...

Edited by 45002

Please use the quote system, So everyone will know what your referring too, thank you ...

 

 

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From what you posted anyway,LL will Win and your end up with a large legal Bill to pay !

Don't understand how you can draw either of these conclusions?

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To keep this thread updated:

 

I received a response to my part 18 request today. The £1122.60 is made up as follows.

 

ITEM 1: 3 x Carpet Cleaning @ £30 per carpet totaling £90. They have apparently agreed after cleaning these carpets (which I admit, I did not do), they did not need replacing. Possibly the most reasonable I've seen this agency be, I'm quite surprised.

 

ITEM 2: 1 x Carpet to Lounge Replaced £357.60

 

ITEM 3: Repaint of whole apartment £375.00

 

ITEM 4: Supply and fit new freezer compartment door £90

 

ITEM 5: Repair damaged kitchen unit door £60

 

ITEM 6: Deep clean to whole property £150

 

Each item above is marked as invoice available.

 

So it appears the bulk of the costs are for the replacement of the lounge carpet, repainting and the "deep clean".

 

The freezer compartment door is for one of those mini freezers inside the refrigerator. I know of 3 other tenants who had theirs replaced while I was there. We had requested this in person near the start of our tenancy when it became loose, however as we had our own fridge/freezer, we didn't use it and didn't chase it up - my negligence.

 

The damaged kitchen unit door is a door that had entirely come off its hinge below the sink. Again, call it negligence on my part but as it was fine when it was closed and barely used, we never reported this or ever got this fixed.

 

Of the items above

 

ITEM 2: The lounge carpet (the one replaced) is present in the (unsigned) inventory but with its condition left blank.

 

ITEM 3: Of the walls in the property, all have their condition noted except for the kitchen, which is left blank.

 

Of ITEMS 4 and 5 the freezer and "kitchen units" are included broadly, with their condition marked "good."

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Initial comments;

item 1; seems reasonable.

2; cost of replacement should reflect wear and LL should only get the original cost less say 50% on a like for like basis; cant replace with a better/more expensive quality carpet, unless at his expense.

so if £357 is a similar carpet, he can only expect to 40 -50% of that. with 3.5 yrs use. ( 5-6 years usually life of carpet ).

3; Repaint apartment, again should take account of wear and tear; should allow for repaint every 5-6 years anyway, so cost should be 40 -50% of that claimed.

4; If freezer compartment door faulty and you did not break it, why should you pay for that.

5;Again if faulty, and you did break or misuse, why should pay for it, there is also any element of wear and tear here if used continuously things get worn.

6; If you did clean it, then appears ok, however did you take photos of how you left it.

 

There appears room some negotiation on the above points.

Definitely use the wear and tear point as they must take that into account.

Also IMHO the LL should allow for a complete redec after a long let and have that built in to his costs, especially for a newish property.

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