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Not sure I am in the right place to ask this, but here goes ..... 

 

My son has just vavcated a property being managed through a local estate agency.  He is currently in the process of accessing his deposit to be returned.  It is held in a system whereby they give him a code and then it is released back.

 

When the inspection to the property was done they issued a list of 'defects' they wished us to put right.  We have fully cleaned the house as requested.  We have re-painted as requested.

 

They then advised there were 2 stains to the bedroom carpet that had to be cleaned.  Also the living room carpet has to be cleaned.  All marks on walls had to be removed or repainted. We fully painted the house (bar the back bedroom which was used for storage only).  Two stains on the bedroom carpet cleaned.  Front room carpet cleaned. This was done last weekend and handed the keys back.  Inspection was due to be Tuesday, then moved to Wednesday.

 

Now they are saying that what we have done isnt to the expected standard.  They are now saying they are going to get quotes for decorators to come in and new carpets in the living room.  All this to be taken from the deposit.  As I am guarantor on the property, I have advised them I dont have an open cheque book for this.  It is currently in the Landlords hands.

 

They advise the landlord has given us ample time to rectify the situation.  We have only had the keys for 4 days out of the last fortnight.

 

Would anyone be able to advise where I go from here?  My son doesnt want me to do anything that will impede his deposit being returned.  But as I see it, there wont be any deposit left!

 

Thanks in advance guys.

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Sounds typical, they always try this!

 

Personally I would start by sending an SAR request under GDPR rules that requests the managing  Estate Agent to disclose everything relating to your son, emails phone calls, everything.  This is to enable you to find out what's really going on with them.

 

Dollars to dime they won't have a clue how to comply, the words GDPR strike fear into the hearts of everyone.  It's a great lever to find out if they are lying to you, probably under threat of you reporting to the ICO they will back down.

 

Or if they do comply you can pull them to pieces, there is always something they didn't do properly or comply with.

 

Source * I did exactly the same thing and they backed down.

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Presumably you have before and after photos of the rooms carpets etc, always useful when a managing Agent tries this type of stunt, if it went as far as court you have evidence, and also  there is such a thing however vague as "fair wear and tear" are they going to say the carpet stain cannot be cleaned and want a new carpet. Anything to swallow up the deposit


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This business of cleaning carpets back to zero and repainting the property back to zero is really a load of nonsense.

As posted above, there is the whole principle of "fair wear and tear" and although it's rather vague, it certainly means that no landlord can expect to regain his/her property in the condition it was when they first let it out. You don't say how long your son is at the property for. If your son has had the property for only a couple of weeks then you would expect it to be pretty well in the same condition as it was when he took it. On the other hand if he has been in there for a year or even more, then it may well be that the walls need cleaning and it may well be that the carpets need cleaning that in normal circumstances that would be the job of the landlord.

What is it say in the tenancy agreement? If there is something in there about returning the property into the state it was before your son began the tenancy – then maybe that's what needs to be done. However, if it simply refers to wear and tear and frankly you are being taken to the cleaners - and you're the one who's paying for the trip


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It depends on how the deposit is protected.  Lettings agents will always say they'll take xyz from the deposit, but as bank fodder says, it is complete nonsense.  The deposit is your money, and they can only make a request for money to be deducted.  The whole thing is a sham because you could still deny their request, refuse adjudication, and they would have to take you to court to get the remaining money they say is owed.  Equally, you could deny adjudication and take them to court to get the money returned.  There's nothing to say you absolutely have to go through an adjudicator, and the deposit scheme will hold any money not agreed upon until they ultimately receive a court order.

 

I don't see much point in SAR'ing a lettings agent because they won't know how to apply the law and there is zero chance of anything you can use against them being returned to you.  That's the problem, none of them know the law and aren't trained properly.

 

Personally I would wait to see how much they want to deduct.  Assuming the deposit is protected, your son should get an option to agree or refuse, and if it was anything like mine you can submit a counter offer.  I hope your son took plenty of photos as that is an absolute necessity with these people.  The options then would be to put forward a case to the adjudicator based on what bank fodder says about fair wear and tear.  I don't think they can claim for brand new carpets or complete re-decoration because in terms of the carpet, anyone would have expected it to show fair wear and tear anyway after a period of time and you wouldn't reasonably expect an ordinary person to buy a new carpet because of a couple of stains.

 

In terms of re-decoration - Again, re-decoration may have been required anyway after a period of time - When was the place last decorated before you moved in for example?  And again, a couple of blemishes wouldn't normally prod an ordinary human into completing a full re-decoration.  Also, they asked you to re-decorate - They shouldn't have done that because they would not have been in a position to gauge the quality of work prior to commencement, and as above, a couple of blemishes wouldn't require full re-decoration.  This request may have invalidated your sons tenancy agreement too as a lot of them include clauses about decorating the property and how it is forbidden.

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Thanks for all your points above. Given me a little bit of an insight into what I am up against. My son moved into the property in August 2016 so it’s been nearly 3 years. Passed several inspections with minor ‘issues’ that have been put right and re-inspected fine. 

I just feel the labour for a room to be decorated is going to be £20+ per hour and a new carpet will swallow the £500 deposit.

are we legally entitled to obtain our own quotes as she is seemingly reluctant to allow us the keys back. 

Have requested a photo of said stain in living room as it was wet when I left the property. 

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Not sure how you would get your own quotes now, that's a problem.  Anyone quoting would need to see the property.

 

I would just wait to see what they want to deduct because until they give you a figure it's all speculation.  When I moved out of a property I had a nightmare and my agents wanted to charge us £250 before we moved out, for fumigation and cleaning.  They made it seem as though we would lose all our deposit as well when we moved out, but in reality they only ended up taking £156.

 

One you have a figure for their deductions you can challenge it based on the above reasoning about fair wear and tear.

 

If you go on the DPS website there's a brilliant guide for tenants where it puts you in the role of an adjudicator where you have to make decisions on various scenarios; this gives you a far better idea of what is and isn't a fair deduction, and also gives you a bit of ammo to use in arguing your case.  I would imagine most tenants pay up because an agent will say anything you can imagine to manipulate money from you; just ignore anything they say and go with the facts.

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This just got a whole lot confusing

 

email on the 18th said

All issues are easily resolved yet it just seems there are quite a few. Please see the below. I will highlight the below items which I feel you are responsible. Further to speaking with your landlord he is happy to cover the other issues not reported as a goodwill gesture and he is happy for us to give you the opportunity to be given the keys to the property and allow you until Tuesday 23rd April to rectify the issues highlighted and return the keys, failing this the contractor will be asked to quote on rectifying these issues and they will look to recover costs from the deposit

 

Clean

Porch – this would benefit from a repaint.

Living room – Carpet heavily marked / stained.

Paper is coming away from behind the radiator in the living room.

Kitchen – Re hang the door under sink as loose.  

Kitchen drawer – does not close properly.

Kitchen wall – Near radiator damp.

Door to living room does not close due to screws that have come away from the top of the door. Not reported.

Bedroom 1 – Slight white paint marks on walls from the ceiling / marked walls.

Bathroom – Shower works fine, no issues seen yet needs a light clean.

 Bedroom 2 – Door handle – missing.  Light switch cover to dial is missing. Large stain to the bedroom carpet.

Garden – cleaner than previous visits yet cigarette butts strewn all over the garden / bins full.  

Handrail – requires repaint from general wear and tear.

All stained carpets must be cleaned.

Tenant to repaint stained walls in white to ensure walls are back to standard

 

now they are saying

Property clean £150
Treat damp in porch and paint white £30
Replace living room carpet £200
Splice and replace wall paper behind the living room radiator £40
Repair kitchen drawer and cupboard door £20
Damp treat patch in kitchen and paint wall£40
Repair rail to kitchen/living room door £20
Cover paint marks around the ceiling in bedroom 1 magnolia £40
Replace missing door handle £35
Carpet clean bedroom 2 £40
Fix loose hand rail/ bannister at the top of the stairs £15


This totals £630 and swallows up the £500 deposit and more

 

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Shame pictures weren't taken BEFORE handing the keys in.  Some of that can be put down to fair wear and tear, all depends on the Tenancy Conditions.  Looks like they will invoice for the shortfall.


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They can't charge you to remedy damp, and they can't charge you for repair of those items.  I would argue they can't charge to replace an entire carpet.

 

Do some research and take it to the adjudicator as I believe they're more than likely entitled to less than half that.  Their "goodwill gesture" is complete BS to manipulate you in to handing money over to them.

 

If they want more than the deposit allows, they will have to seek a court order as well, which they won't do for this because the list of reparations are so open to interpretation.

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Jase is correct regarding damp in porch,  and kitchen wall it's structural and landlords responsibility.  They are being sly here as they will come back with the offer of the whole lot coming to the deposit, and will write off the extra.  The adjudicator seems a good plan, as if they wanted to force the extra over and above they would need to go through the Small claims court, that would be risky for them in the circumstances.


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I did take some pictures but the carpet was wet when i left so it doesnt look true.  It looks dark as it was wet.  I couldnt wet it too much as I didnt want to get a bill for shrinking it. 

I have requested a copy of the tennacy conditions but trying to locate his original copy incase it has been altered to suit their claim.

Dont treust them one inch.  The carpets were never mentuoned on any inspection.  When they gave their notice to quit, my sons girlfirend was told to make sure all lightbulbs were fully working as they can charge up to £35 to replace.  That was the main thing she needed to do.  As long as all the lightbulbs were working she could get her deposit back.  But nothing in Writing.  Only verbal.

 

They have just sent an offer of taking £200 and refunding the rest.  Just spoken to the previous tennant and he thinks the stain was there when he left, but he cant be sure.  I think £200 for replacing the carpet is a bit much as it must be at least 4 years old.  Would we be within our rights to offer £100?

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If they're negotiating with you they know they're not owed anything.  Also, £35 to replace light bulbs - That's another lettings agent nonsense as there's no way they can justify that and reasonably or legally claim for it..

 

I would personally take my chances with the adjudicator because as above, replacing a complete carpet is nonsense.  It's up to you whether you negotiate with them.  Doesn't harm anything if you just want it over with... they can only say no, and if £100 is a figure you're happy parting with then that would be a great outcome.

 

It's impossible to know exactly what will happen with these scenarios, but what they're claiming for isn't reasonable.

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Still think £100 is too much, looks like they realise they have been sussed so are trying to get something, anything, Jase's point about the adjudicator has merit, but it's your call.


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They are now saying if we dont accept the offer they have put on the table it can take six months to get sorted.  Is this another lie?

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I can't remember the exact timeframe but I'm sure they have 10 days to put in a deduction request, you can then agree/disagree and propose a different figure.  If neither party can come to an agreement you then both have to agree to adjudication to resolve the figure being challenged.  The other part of the deposit gets returned to you.

 

I think there's a resolution within 28 days from the adjudicator.  But you are entitled to reject adjudication and take them to court.

 

I wouldn't say it takes 6 months to be resolved; it depends if it goes to court.  I'm pretty sure the adjudication process is much shorter than that.  You have to remember that these agents rely on people paying up and not challenging them, so they have very little knowledge.

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Hi

They are using the tactic of since you the guarantor contacted them let play the fear of a big bill for
supposed damages. (your son should really be dealing with this as they were the Tenant but I can understand why you have intervened as guarantor)

 

You need to put them to strict proof of these supposed damages.

 

1. Exactly what evidence have they provided of these damages? (photographic etc.) not just a letter with costings

 

2. Have they provided copies of quotes from contractors for rectification of said damage? or is this there
own.

3. Do you have a copy of the Tenancy Agreement & the Guarantor paperwork you signed? (if not SAR to them requesting it and a copy of the Tenancy Deposit Prescribed Terms)
(if you do have a copy of the tenancy agreement what does it say about fair wear and tear if anything)


Just my opinion but the impression I get is they are trying to get you to pay for these supposed damages without going via the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

 

If you and you son have not already done so I would recommend that you immediately contact the Tenancy Deposit Scheme that the Deposit was placed in and inform them that you are in dispute with the Landlord/Estate Agent.

 

Also was your son give a copy of the prescribed terms of that Tenancy Deposit Scheme that the Deposit is protected in as required?


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after 3 years you expect a bit of wear and tear and it will be the LL responsibility to repaint after that time. This is an attempt at what is called "betterment" and I would challenge them to see you/your son in court over this as you will win hands down. chances are the lettings agency havent even mentioned any of thsi to the LL so a letter to them saying see you in court will certainly get them asking about what is going on.

had similar trouble whn my daughter left a house with an overfilled bin and left soem leaning materials and new blinds. The LA tried to claim money fro removing them ( they dindt actually chuck away a new blind and replace it with the broken one) so I asked to see the cleaning co's waste transfer licence and a proper VAT invoice for the job.

All of a sudden they decided that as a "gesture of goodwill" they would waive the charges

 

You need to call their bluff and let LL know that they will be paying for any legal action that may result from their agents dodgy claims

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